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2018's first new car in Singapore is...

The maker says its new flagship, the Arteon, is as much a work of art as a car.

BT_20180105_VW5_3249395.jpg
Despite the sporty styling, the Arteon is practical. It has a digital cockpit with a Head-Up Display system, and its infotainment system has a 9.2-inch screen.

BT_20180105_VW5_3249395.jpg
Despite the sporty styling, the Arteon is practical. It has a digital cockpit with a Head-Up Display system, and its infotainment system has a 9.2-inch screen.

BT_20180105_VW5_3249395.jpg
Despite the sporty styling, the Arteon is practical. It has a digital cockpit with a Head-Up Display system, and its infotainment system has a 9.2-inch screen.

Singapore

BARELY a week into 2018, the first new car of the year has been launched. Volkswagen unveiled the Arteon on Wednesday night at a preview for the press and early-bird buyers, and began selling it officially to the public yesterday.

At its launch, Volkswagen Group Singapore managing director Ricky Tay described the Arteon as a car "for people who appreciate both great style and great value for money".

The four-door fastback costs S$221,900 including Certificate of Entitlement in 2.0 R-Line trim. Its 280 horsepower engine drives all four wheels through a seven-speed transmission, and propels the Arteon to 100km/h in a speedy 5.6 seconds.

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The Arteon has a digital cockpit with a Head-Up Display system, and its infotainment system has a 9.2-inch screen. The latter can be controlled by hand gestures, and is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

A lower-priced Elegance model with 190 horsepower, front wheel-drive and fewer features will go on sale before the middle of the year.

The Arteon's name is a none-too-subtle allusion to art, as a way for Volkswagen to call attention to the design. Slim headlamps blend seamlessly into the front grille (the widest on any VW model), and the bonnet is a clamshell design, like the sort on many sports cars.

Despite the sporty styling, the Arteon is practical. Its wheelbase is 5cm longer than that of a VW Passat, which creates plenty of rear legroom, while the boot offers 563 litres of space in a segment where less than 500 litres is the norm.

Mr Tay told The Business Times that as Volkswagen's flagship, the Arteon isn't expected to be a high-volume model. Its purpose is to give VW drivers a chance to upgrade from the brand's other cars without moving to another marque. "There is a segment of customers that are aiming for this kind of car," he said.

More than 10 people booked the Arteon at a closed-door event last month without test drives, so for some buyers, the car was stylish enough to sell on the strength of its looks alone.

Not unlike a work of art.

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