The arrival of Volkswagen’s new Arteon provides another attractive choice for those drivers who want to combine some luxury and sporty motoring with practical family transport.
It takes the position of being the flagship of the Volkswagen range, with a new style that’s more impressive than the Passat CC of the past.
Volkswagen claims that the Arteon combines the spaciousness of a saloon with the driving dynamics and design of a sports car and some of that I have to agree with.
I’ve had the Arteon on the road in recent weeks and followed that drive with a run in Audi’s new A5 Sportback.
Both cars have similar target markets, and that encouraged me to compare these impressive cars in terms of driving style, space and the value on offer.
The Arteon is instantly recognisable as a large car. The overall length is longer than the Audi A5 and there is significantly a feeling of spaciousness.
The rear seat passengers get a great deal in the Arteon, with the type of legroom that is characteristic of the big Skoda Superb. The fact that the Arteon is overall a marginally longer car has allowed Volkswagen to deliver more rear legroom.
The boot space is also impressive and both cars offer electric boot opening, which is a noticeable help for a boot that stretches as long as they both do. The Arteon wins out on boot space coming in at 563 litres compared with 480 litres for the A5.
The rear end styling of the Arteon is clearly new and distinctive, while that of the Audi A5 shows the signs of an upgrade, that’s still a classic. They are both very attractive cars from either end; front or back.
Both the Audi A5 Sportback and the Volkswagen Arteon that I drove were powered by similar Volkswagen Group 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engines. They both deliver 150bhp, while the Arteon comes with marginally more engine torque.
Maybe that’s needed as the Arteon is a heavier car. Audi has shaved 85kg from the weight of the A5 compared with the model of the past, while the Arteon is more of a heavyweight.
With similar engines you can expect some performance differences between both cars, but they are very marginal.
The lighter Audi A5 is marginally faster and more economical, but I doubt that you’ll notice these differences in real driving conditions.
What’s interesting is that Volkswagen fits a 60% larger capacity fuel tank as standard, meaning that you can get significant range from Arteon if you are a long distance driver.
My test drive indicated a range of over 1,100km on a full tank and the extra range makes for more pleasant longer journeys. The smaller fuel tank of the Audi may be marginally more economical, but require more frequent fuel stops.
Both cars come packed with the latest safety and driver technology features.
On the Volkswagen side, all Arteon models come with 18” alloy wheels, ErgoComfort seats, 8” ‘Discover Media’ Sat Nav system, predictive cruise control, park distance control, app connect, rain sensing wipers, security and service subscription and 3-zone Climatronic A/C with controls in the rear.
From the Audi side, the A5 has Audi’s latest infotainment features. These include the Audi MMI navigation system with 7-inch colour display, Bluetooth and USB charging functionality, a dedicated smartphone interface for iOS and Android devices.
The A5 comes with some new driver assistance systems, like Audi pre-sense city, and front and rear parking sensors.
The test car was the Audi A5 Sportback S-Line version and had some additional premium features, such as LED headlights, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, leather-upholstered seats, 18-inch alloys running on Pirelli Centurauto P7 245/40 R18 tyres and the sports suspension.
These impressive sport coupe cars come with the latest safety features, similar engines and performance data, and with only marginal differences in prices.
Adding any additional features might complicate a comparison, but the truth is that both cars have a lot to offer.
Making the choice between them will hardly be about performance or style, because in my view they both stand out in these features.
Your choice will be about the best deal on offer, so negotiate hard, with either the Audi A5 or the Volkswagen Arteon; you’ll be getting a stylish car that combines economy with a wow factor.