NEW VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON

Upmarket four-door fastback caps VW passenger car range. Big dimensions mean plenty of comfort and practicality.

Design: Dramatic shape with bold details lacks the simplicity of VW’s best designs. Note huge clamshell bonnet, sculpted Coke bottle flanks, sweeping roofline, and four frameless doors. Broad light designs emphasise width, and LED headlights are integrated into grille.

Driver’s Seat: R-design spec means broad Nappa leather chair with memory functions and ‘ergoComfort’ massaging. Sporting leather steering wheel is great to hold and puts adaptive driving modes at your fingertips. Instruments in 12.3in Active Info Display are almost entirely digital and customisation is simple, including for sat-nav. Sweeping outward visibility is a boon.

Interface: Arteon represents start of new design era for VW and swish, glass-faced interface reflects that. The 9.2in Discover Navigation Pro is the latest generation device with glass screen and no physical controls. Some are gesture sensitive for predictive responses.

Start-up: No trembling diesels for our market, just the willing 2.0-litre turbo-petrol. It bursts into life on a starter button prod, just as it does in other VW applications. DSG transmission lever has typically light shift action and easy engagement.

Cruise: Smooth uptake, good noise suppression and vehicle weight well disguised. Supple ride eludes test car with its upsized (but striking) 20-inch wheels with 245/35 tyres.

Overtake: Sport mode adds instant urgency and makes it easy to exploit engine’s torque punch. 350Nm is delivered in a window from just 1700rpm for swift, drama-free passing.

Unleash: R-Line’s Dynamic Chassis Control drops ride height by 20mm and steering rack is super quick at 2.1 turns lock to lock. Dynamic edge springs from clutch-based 4MOTION all-wheel drive, XDS electronic differential lock and the 7-speed DSG’s rapid changes. Composed, controlled and wieldy for its size, but not hugely involving when driven quickly.

Configure: Test car was cloaked in Turmeric Yellow metallic and wore 20-inch Rosario Dark Graphite wheels with 245/40s for an extra $2000. Panoramic roof or seriously uprated sound system are $3000 apiece.

Buy one: Impressive blend of performance and technology in a practical package draped in design flair.

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VOLKSWAGEN ARTEON TSI

ENGINE 1984cc 4-cyl turbo

POWER 206kW (277bhp)

TORQUE 350Nm from 1700rpm

TRANSMISSION 7-spd DSG auto

DRIVETRAIN four-wheel drive

WEIGHT 1716kg

LENGTH 4.86m

WHEELS 19-inch alloy

TYRES 245/40 (f) 245/40 (r)

0-100km/h 5.6 secs

FUEL CLAIM 7.3L/100km

PRICE from $74,990

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