2021 Volkswagen Arteon – Sharper design, improved interior and new Tech. Just released in 2019, Volkswagen has already updated the flagship Arteon sedan for 2021. Much remains the same, including the sole engine choice of a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four peaking at 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, as well as the eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to either the front or all four wheels. But VW did streamline the trims to SE, SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line, redesigned the exterior and interior, and added driver-assist systems.
To start, VW put in three fat horizontal lines running across the lower front grille as opposed to four narrower lines. And on the R-Line models, an illuminated line made from LEDs runs across the middle of the grille, bifurcating the upper grille, headlights and hood. Additionally, SE models get two air intakes on either side down low. R-Line models, on the other hand, have one large air intake in the center of a C-shaped section. The rear of the car remains quite similar, save for a tweaked VW badge and Arteon lettering. And R-Line models have quad exhaust tips.
Inside, Volkswagen redesigned the dashboard and center console, changing materials, air vents and general appearance. To start, a new leatherette wraps around the seats and other surfaces. Aluminum panels are part of the picture, as well. The Arteon also has ambient lighting with 30 colors to choose from, and both button number and operation were reworked on the steering wheel using capacitive controls for what Volkswagen thinks is a more up-level environment than before.
The instrument cluster is a 10.25-inch screen called Volkswagen Digital Cockpit. And that works in concert with an 8-inch infotainment screen utilizing the MIB3 infotainment system. The Arteon also has optional wireless smartphone charging, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. And in a Keep Up with the Joneses play, you can get the Arteon with a 12-speaker, 700-watt sound system.
Finally, Volkswagen offers Travel Assist, its suite of advanced safety systems that includes a forward facing camera to read road signs called, intuitively enough, Dynamic Road Sign Display. That’s in addition to adaptive cruise control, which operates at up to 130 mph, and stop-and-go traffic, lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking and blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alert.
European-bound Arteons will also see a plug-in hybrid and wagon version coming, but the U.S. gets just the one gasoline engine, no hybrid system, and in sedan form. Yes, it’s all the SUV’s fault. For what it’s worth, VW is building a shooting brake version, and it looks like this:
Expect to see 2021 Volkswagen Arteons in dealers by November with a starting price of around $39,000. We say around because Volkswagen is not ready to release those figures, but told us that it will cost at least 10% less than an Audi A5, which currently starts at $43,895. We imagine it will drive much the same as the current model; as for the experience inside, we’ll have to drive one to find out.
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