The Volkswagen Phaeton was the answer to a question nobody asked.
It quietly debuted as the flagship VW sedan but came with the price of a well-equipped 7 Series. The Phaeton died an uneventful death after it became obvious that executive-level buyers prefer executive-level brands.
Very few people wanted to spend upward of $80,000 and stare at a Volkswagen logo.
Has Volkswagen learned from the error of its ways? Maybe.
The German automaker has unveiled another premium car, this one with a not-quite-as-unpronounceable name and, we hope, a much lower price.
The Volkswagen Arteon will sit atop VW’s product line.
In its press release, VW says,
Start with the name – a portmanteau of “art” and “eon,” the suffix that now signifies all high-end luxury models within the Volkswagen brand worldwide. The Arteon’s integrated grille, LED headlamps and daytime running lights with chrome trim that connects all three elements presents the new “face” of the Volkswagen brand.
Compared to the outgoing CC, the Arteon is longer and wider, while its fastback profile allows for a true hatchback trunk. It’s also space efficient, with up to 55 cubic feet of cargo space when the rear seats are folded down. LED taillights and 20-inch wheels combined with a shoulder line that runs the length of the body build the Arteon’s sporty nature.
In short, VW believes the Arteon will be everything premium buyers want, except it again forgot that premium buyers sent a very clear message that they don’t want a premium-priced Volkswagen. More on that in a moment.
Volkswagen hasn’t confirmed which engines will be available in U.S.-bound Arteons, but American-spec cars may get VW’s 276-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder as an option and a 188-hp TSI 2.0-liter four as the entry-level engine. European markets will get a choice of six engines and a 6- or 7-speed automatic transmission. Be assured those of us on this side of the Atlantic won’t have such varied choices in motors.
Whether or not the Arteon succeeds is almost entirely dependent on its price. If it comes in anywhere near the price of the Phaeton, don’t get too attached. If it’s comparable with the CC, the Arteon might stick around for a while. VW’s only comment so far on price is, “While the Arteon offers a premium appearance, it will not carry a huge price tag.”
That could be enough to get folks back into the driver’s seat of a premium Volkswagen.
How much would be too much for the new Volkswagen Arteon?