Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has just launched the highly-anticipated, all-new Arteon R-Line, and the one question that is lingering in the minds of many petrolheads out there is, "does it drive as well as it looks?"
Even though we are yet to get our hands on the newly launched Malaysian spec Arteon R-Line, we actually got the opportunity to spend some time with a Singapore-spec unit recently, just to get an idea of how the car feels to drive.
Assembled locally at the Volkswagen plant in Pekan, Pahang, the Malaysian spec Arteon R-Line is priced at RM221,065 on the road without insurance, which is much lower than what would've been the case (about RM300,000) if we were to get the same specifications as our neighbours down south.
The difference is due to the fact that the Singapore-spec Arteon R-Line actually comes with a slightly different powertrain package than ours.
In Malaysia, the Arteon R-Line is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre TSI engine that is paired to a 7-speed DSG gearbox, producing 190 PS and 320 Nm of torque.
However, the version in Singapore comes with a different version of the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine pushing 280 PS and 350 Nm of torque.
While the engine is paired to the same 7-speed wet-clutch DSG dual-clutch gearbox as our market, there is the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system which is not offered in Malaysia.
Simply put, the Singaporean Arteon R-Line is like a Golf R, while what we get is akin to the Golf GTI, which also explains why the car is asking for much lesser than expected earlier. But engine aside, the Malaysian spec doesn't really miss out much in terms of features.
Built on Volkswagen’s MQB platform, the Arteon is essentially a fastback version of the current Passat, which measures 4,862 mm long, 1,871 mm wide, and 1,427 mm in height, with a wheelbase length of 2,841 mm.
On the exterior, key features include a very wide and bold looking chrome front grille, full LED headlights with DRLs, 19-inch wheels, dual exhausts, as well as frameless windows. This list is the same for both the Singapore version we're looking at here and also the Malaysian spec model.
Inside, the list of equipment is almost identical for Malaysia and Singapore, comprising the new Active Info Display and the new Discover Pro infotainment with a 9.2-inch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Mirror Link, a 360-degree area view camera, Ambient Lighting, wireless charging, as well as a generous dose of leather upholstery among others.
As far as safety is concerned, the car here comes with 6 airbags (Malaysia gets 7), electronic stability control, traction control, hill start assist, ABS with EBD and brake assist as well as ISOFIX mounts for child seats in the rear passenger compartment. There is no Autonomous Emergency Braking in both markets though.
That being said, this is what we feel about the Volkswagen Arteon:
- Design: 4/5 (The best looking Volkswagen in the portfolio)
- Driving Dynamics: 4/5 (It is basically a more practical version of the Golf R)
- Comfort: 3.5/5 (Seats could use a bit more support)
- Space: 4/5 (There is ample space for occupants, as well as luggage)
Ups & Downs
- Plus: Excellent design, driving dynamics, boot space
- Minus: The suspension was a bit too firm for our liking
From what we have experienced so far, the Arteon is essentially a fastback version of the Passat which behaves like a Golf for the family.
While Volkswagen’s proven MQB platform and the powertrain package offers a very exhilarating driving experience, it also makes an ideal family car, thanks to the generous amount of space offered for both occupants and luggage.
Further complementing all of the above is the futuristic and sporty design, and the generous list of features which makes it a pretty wholesome package.
Going against the likes of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Audi S5 Sportback, the Arteon may not be as good as its competitors in the driving department, but it definitely scores big in terms of practicality and equipment offered which makes it a car that is worth considering if you’re looking for a car in the RM200,000 to RM250,000 range.
So, watch this space and stay tuned for a more detailed review of the Malaysian version of the Arteon R-Line.