VW Arteon four-door coupe debuts bold new style

Volkswagen promised a luxury grand-tourer with enough gravitas to give luxe sibling Audi palpitations, and the VW Arteon is it. Revealed today at the Geneva Auto Show 2017, the Arteon slots into VW's range above the Passat sedan. There, it promises "four-door coupe" Gran Turismo style as well as a host of new technology.

From the outside, the most notable aspect is the Arteon's nose. That debuts a new design language for Volkswagen, with a hood that overflows the front fenders and meets a broad, vehicle-wide grille. Into that, the standard-fit LED headlamps and daytime running lights (DRLs) integrate with the chrome-plated crossbars.

Giving a sedan the silhouette of a coupe is still popular in the car world, and so from a distance you could mistake the Arteon for a stretched two-door. Based on the Sport Coupe Concept GTE from Geneva two years ago, the production version sticks fairly closely to that design prototype. That means a high shoulder-line and shallow glass above it, along with bulging wheelarches.

The regular car will be imposing enough, but VW will also offer two trims – Elegance and R-Line – which tweak things inside and out. As standard, the Arteon will have LED lights front and rear, aluminum-alloy wheels, and chrome side-strips. The Elegance will add chrome door mirror caps, dynamic rear LED indicators, special 18-inch wheels, and a second chrome trim strip on the lower sides.

Opt for the R-Line instead, and you'll get a high-gloss black finish to the C-signature in the front air intakes, different 18-inch wheels, and special R-Line bumpers. The chrome lower-trim line is carried over from the Elegance, but the R-Line also throws in chrome-plated tailpipe tips.

Inside, there's space for five, with the 111.9-inch wheelbase – compared to 191.4-inches for the Arteon's total length – adding up to decent cabin space. The driver can opt for Volkswagen's Digital Cockpit, as well as a head-up display, and a 9.2-inch touchscreen Discover Pro infotainment system with gesture control. The standard car gets keyless start, a more mundane infotainment system with eight speakers, air conditioning, a leather multifunction steering wheel – with paddle-shifters on Arteon with the DSG automatic – and six-way power adjustable front seats.

The Arteon Elegance throws in aluminum-look pedal covers, Alcantara and leather seats with heating in the front, and contrast stitching. In the Arteon R-Line, meanwhile, you get special R-Line seats in Alcantara and leather with front heating, aluminum-look pedals, a special R-Line steering wheel, and R-Line logos on the stainless steel door kick plates. Whichever trim, trunk space is 19.9 cubic feet with the rear seats in place, or 55 cubic feet with them down.

Volkswagen's newest Adaptive Cruise Control is available, which can now check speed limits and other route information on the Arteon's navigation system and adjust speed automatically. A new dynamic cornering lighting system looks to the road ahead, spotting upcoming corners via the GPS and twisting the headlamps to illuminate it before the driver has turned the steering wheel. Finally, there's a new version of Emergency Assist which, if the driver is incapacitated, can now slow the car while steering it into the nearside lane for safety.

In Europe, VW will offer the Arteon with a choice of six engines, all with four-cylinders. Three are gas, ranging from a 1.5-liter TSI Evo with 148 HP and either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG, through a 2.0-liter TSI with either 188 HP or 276 HP and a 7-speed DSG. The most powerful gas engine also gets 4Motion all-wheel drive.

The remaining engines are diesels, all 2.0-liter TDI tuned for 148 HP, 188 HP, and 236 HP, and offered with either 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG. The two more powerful versions can be had with 4Motion AWD too. Given VW's rocky reputation around diesel in the US currently, it seems unlikely that those engines will be offered should the Arteon make it to American shores.

Whether that's happening or not hasn't been confirmed yet, indeed. Volkswagen says the Arteon will go into production in Europe later this year, and hit dealerships in Germany come mid-June. Pricing is yet to be confirmed.