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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.
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.