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Volkswagen Arteon engines, driving and performance

How does the Volkswagen Arteon drive?

While the Arteon may have shrugged off the dowdy look of the mechanically similar Volkswagen Passat, the two cars drive much like one another. As such, the Arteon feels like a premium car, from the smooth-shifting dual-clutch automatic gearbox that's standard on nearly all models, to the well-weighted steering that gives confidence in bends but won't give you a workout when you're parallel parking. 

Like most Volkswagens, you can head down a twisty country road at the speed limit with plenty of reassurance that it'll grip and go exactly where you want it to. Most models are front-wheel drive, so you don't get the same satisfying push out of corners that you feel in the altogether sportier BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, which also edges the Arteon for general involvement.

Is the Volkswagen Arteon comfortable?

The Volkswagen Arteon is very comfortable, especially if you avoid an R-Line model with its big wheels which can occasionally thud over potholes. Pick an Elegance model if you want the best-riding Arteon, because it's the only model that comes as standard with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC). This lets you adjust the ride comfort between firm and soft, and in its soft setting you can waft along in impressive comfort. 

Whichever version you pick, all will reward you with a quiet and refined cabin at motorway speeds, making the Arteon an excellent choice for slipping effortlessly across the continent to your holiday destination… or down the rainy bypass to work.

What’s the best Volkswagen Arteon engine to get?

The Arteon's at its best when fitted with one of its 2.0-litre engine choices. You can pick between a diesel with 150hp or 200hp, both of which will easily return 55mpg, or a 2.0-litre petrol with 190hp which feels smoother and quieter than the diesel, albeit with the penalty of averaging about 43mpg in the real world. 

There's also a 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid which combines a petrol engine and electric motor to produce 218hp. It can drive about 30 miles on electric power, at the expense of the boot-floor storage space.

Older Arteon models were also available with a 1.5-litre petrol engine with 150hp and a manual gearbox. It's more than powerful enough to get the Arteon up to speed, but a manual gearbox in a cruisey car like the Arteon feels a bit like putting pineapple on a hamster – just wrong.

Finally, there's the Arteon R which takes the 320hp engine out of a Golf R – as well as its four-wheel-drive system – and gives it to you in a reasonably heavy hatchback or shooting brake for a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds and official fuel economy of just 32mpg.

It's worth noting that the 200hp diesel is available with Volkswagen's 4Motion four-wheel-drive system, making it a good choice as a tow car. It can pull 2.2 tonnes on a braked trailer, which is 200kg more than the front-wheel-drive diesel options. Towing weights for the petrols top out at 1,800kg, with the exception of the Arteon R which can pull 2,200kg while drinking fuel like a Boeing 747 towing the Taj Mahal.

Volkswagen Arteon performance

Most of the Arteon's engines give plenty of performance for the road without being tear-your-face-off fast. The fastest-accelerating Arteon is the R model, with a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds, but it never feels quite as potent as the numbers suggest, perhaps blunted by the car's weight.

Second fastest is the four-wheel-drive version of the 200hp diesel Arteon, which manages the dash in just 7.5 seconds.

Next up is the plug-in hybrid model with a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds, followed by the 190hp 2.0-litre petrol and 200hp diesel which both take 7.9 seconds.

The 1.5-litre petrol with 150hp and a manual gearbox will get from rest to 62mph in 9 seconds dead, which is a bit faster than the 9.3 seconds the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel takes.

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