In car design circles, the word “fastback” means a car with a roof line that glides to its tail with one smooth, seamless curve. The Beetle may be the most famous example of such a car, while Volkswagen’s popular Type 3 Fastback sedan of the 1960s and 1970s also demonstrated the stylistic and aerodynamic benefits of the look.
Volkswagen revealed a 21st-centry take on the fastback with an all-new model. Meet the Arteon, a visually unique four-door flagship that shows the direction Volkswagen styling will take in the future. Based closely on the GTE Coupe Concept from 2015, the Arteon combines the space of a luxury car with the benefits of a hatchback and several new technologies.
“The car looks simply great — it both arouses emotions and creates desirability,” says Dr. Elmar-Marius Licharz, head of the mid- and full-size vehicle lines for Volkswagen. “Many of the details of the show car have made it into real production.”
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. On the European version, LED taillights and 20-inch wheels combined with a shoulder line that runs the length of the body build the Arteon’s sporty nature.
Under its skin, the European model Arteon will feature several advanced technologies. The available 12.1-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit display works with an available active heads-up display for maximum usefulness. The new available Discover Pro entertainment system combines a 9.2-inch touchscreen in the dashboard with gesture controls. And a new available Emergency Assist system can engage automatically in cases where a driver appears incapacitated — it can move the car to an available emergency lane, put on its hazard lights, and help slow down the vehicle.
In Europe, the Arteon is slate to offer a choice from six potential engines and either six- or seven-speed automatic transmissions. The Arteon will go on sale in Europe later this year and will eventually debut in the United States. (Features and specifications for the U.S. Arteon will be released at a later date.)
“It’s the perfect car for people who appreciate great style and great value for the money,” says Licharz. “That is how we are challenging premium car makers without becoming one ourselves.”