The Volkswagen Arteon debuted at the Chicago Auto Show on Thursday and the all-new 2019 sports sedan lives up to its name as the German brand’s artfully crafted design halo.
Replacing the stylish-but-misbegotten CC sedan that limped to just 1,355 sales last year after peak sales of nearly 30,000 units in 2011, the Arteon hopes to improve on the CC’s record with more of everything: more-dramatic styling, more legroom, more-nimble handling.
The Arteon has a hatchback trunk that has become all the rage in upscale sedans from the Audi A7 to the Kia Stinger and Buick Regal Sportback.
Like the Stinger, VW hopes Arteon will be a mainstream, upscale alternative to pricier premium models from Acura and Audi. VW CEO of North America Hinrich Woebcken calls it a “brand shaper.”
From its wide grille and LED headlights to its clamshell hood and long wheelbase, the athletic Arteon brings visual drama to a conservatively styled lineup of Jetta and Passat sedans.
The Arteon is based on VW’s versatile, front-wheel drive MQB platform and will offer all-wheel drive in upper trims. Likely starting at a mid-$30,000 price point, the Arteon will come with standard leather; a 268-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo-4; eight-speed transmission; and smartphone app connectivity.
Upper trims will offer goodies like a panoramic sunroof, digital cockpit and massaging driver’s seat.
For all its exterior beauty and backseat comfort, the Arteon has received mixed reviews in Europe.
“If it’s as good as the German-market model when it arrives stateside next summer, the Volkswagen Arteon will hold a lot of appeal for style-conscious buyers on a budget,” writes Autoweek.
“Before you sign on the dotted line you’ve got to think: ‘No, I don’t want a Mercedes CLS or a BMW 4-series or an Audi A5 Sportback. I want that sort of thing but with a VW badge at the front and a boot the size of the Blue John Cavern at the back,’ ” wrote The Grand Tour’s Jeremy Clarkson in London’s Sunday Times.
The 2019 Arteon will be available in SE, SEL and SEL Premium trim levels and is due to arrive on dealer lots in the third quarter of 2018.
Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at email@example.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne. Catch “Car Radio with Henry Payne” from noon-1 p.m. Saturdays on 910 AM Superstation.