Volkswagen Arteon R-Line review

The R-Line trim level adds sporty looks to VW’s flagship saloon but doesn’t change the relaxed driving experience

If you’re in the market for a stylish saloon with eye-catching looks and a tech-filled interior, the Volkswagen Arteon is worth considering. R-Line trim features additional exterior jewellery for a sportier appearance, but you won’t be giving up the refined and comfortable nature that makes the Arteon such a good motorway cruiser.

The Arteon is a similar car to the Volkswagen Passat saloon but is dressed up in a stylish coupe body style. Its styling is notably different from VW’s usual conservative fare in an attempt to steal buyers away from the desirable badges of the BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe and the Audi A5 Sportback.

VW Arteon R-Line rear view

The R-Line trim is available with all the engines VW offers for the Arteon, so you can choose from two petrol engines - a 148bhp 1.5-litre and a 2.0-litre with either 187bhp or 268bhp - and a 2.0-litre diesel engine with outputs of between 148bhp and 237bhp. All bar the cheapest diesel model feature a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, while four-wheel-drive is fitted on the most powerful petrol and the two most expensive diesels.

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Our test car was the 148bhp diesel with the automatic gearbox, which manages up to 50.4mpg on the stringent new WLTP test regime. We regularly got very close to this figure throughout our time with the Arteon, and it’s a rather impressive figure for a car of this size. The CO2 emissions of 118g/km are equally respectable, and the engine is certainly punchy enough to propel the Arteon along nicely. One slight drawback is that the steering feels slightly remote, meaning it’s not that fun to drive, but the Arteon is designed to cover long distances without breaking a sweat.

Considered as a cruiser, the Arteon is an excellent choice. The interior and build quality are top-notch, the driving position is very comfortable and the rear seat space is generous - even with the sloping roof. VW has fitted the Arteon with a sophisticated infotainment system that is intuitive to use and features an excellent sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

VW Arteon R-Line interior

There are two trim levels to choose, and the R-Line is the sportier of the pair. Choose it and VW will add redesigned bumpers, 19-inch black alloy wheels and chrome detailing. Inside, it features R-Line branding on the seats (offering extra support through faster corners) and the door sills, plus there’s a black headliner, privacy glass and silver accents.

That’s in addition to the handsomely equipped Exclusive trim level, which includes a raft of kit such as three-zone air conditioning, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, heated leather seats and LED headlights as standard. Safety-wise, the Arteon delivers too, with lane-keeping assistance, traffic jam and intelligent speed assistance, pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control.

The R-Line model also keeps the Arteon’s enormous boot. There’s 563 litres with the rear seats up, or 1,557 litres with those seats folded, although four-wheel-drive models offer a slightly smaller capacity.

Verdict - 4/5

The Arteon R-Line may not result in a sportier drive, but that’s a well-judged decision as the the car excels as a relaxing long-distance mile-muncher. Its core strengths are its comfortable cabin, excellent infotainment system and its impressive fuel economy. The R-Line changes simply add extra presence to the already stylish design, which’ll help it compete with Audi’s S-Line and BMW’s M-Sport trim levels.

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