A surprise price revision has just hit the locally assembled Volkswagen Arteon, taking the svelte D-segment five-door coupe (the boot is hinged at the roof) in facelift 2.0TSI 4Motion R-Line guise to RM258,019.
If you’re counting, that’s an overnight hike of RM9,000 that has not been accompanied by an official announcement by Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia nor an obvious upgrade to its equipment or feature set.
First launched in mid-2021 with an on-the-road price of RM248,693, this newest Arteon was headlined by a more powerful 280PS/350Nm version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged EA888 four-cylinder petrol engine alongside the inclusion of 4Motion all-wheel drive to help get all that extra grunt down to the road, enabling it to rival hot hatchbacks with its 5.6 second 0-100km/h sprint time.
As before, standard kit includes 19-inch Montevideo alloy wheels wearing 245-section Pirelli P Zero tyres, Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) adaptive dampers, full LED headlights and tail lights, 30-colour ambient interior lighting, Nappa leather upholstery, a 9.2-inch Discover Pro touchscreen infotainment unit, and a 12-speaker 700W Harman/Kardon audio system.
Disappointingly, also unchanged is its suite of active safety and driver aid features, or lack of a complete suite. Despite the dearer price tag, the absence of the tentpole Autonomous Emergency Braking and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control continues to be glaring at this price point.
Still, it does have Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Blind Spot Monitoring as well as a 360-degree camera system that does work pretty well. Together with this there is the usual assortment of (7) airbags, anti-lock brakes, and Electronic Stability Control.
Of course, there will be customers unfazed by RM9k price jump, rationalising that it remains pretty great value in terms of style, quality, performance, and equipment levels to something like a BMW 3 Series which, at this price window, offers the entry-level 320i.
And next to the Audi A5 Sportback, it's a landslide victory on value.
That said, also bear in mind that though this latest price increase is unwelcome, it will inevitably see at least another hike once the current SST exemption/discount period ends. At the time of writing, that’s scheduled to take place June 30th, 2022.
Assuming there are circumstancial factors at play here (such as the global semiconductor shortage), will we be seeing more shock price changes between now and then, even from other brands?