LOOK around a Volkswagen showroom and you are sure to find something that meets conservative tastes. Even the celebrated Golf in its more extreme forms is hardly trying to poke you in the eye.

But VW will occasionally produce a car that is leftfield of the pack, such as the Sirocco hatchback with its low-slung sleek appeal.

There’s now another newcomer grabbing attention, what the brand calls an avant-garde turismo with fastback styling.

So whereas your choice in this sector might have been limited to the discreet charm of the Passat, your eye might now been drawn to the muscular and elegant Arteon. It’s something of an eye-catcher.

A five-door, five-seater, it sits above the Passat in the VW hierarchy and reeks of sportiness and luxury.

With a starting price of £33,505, it does not come cheap, but it offers more space, what VW calls “premium functionality” and greater levels of autonomy than ever before. 

With a length of 4,862 mm, width of 1,871 mm and a height of 1,450 mm the Arteon will carry five people in comfort, best-in-class legroom and luggage space of 563 litres with the rear seats in place and a whopping 1,557 litres of carrying capacity when the rear seats are folded.

The Arteon range features three turbo-charged direct injection engines: a 280 PS 2.0 TSI (petrol); and two 2.0 TDI (diesel) engines with outputs of 240 PS and 150 PS. In addition you can opt fording Volkswagen’s 150 PS 1.5 TSI (petrol) Evo unit, featuring economy-boosting cylinder deactivation technology, a 190 PS 2.0 TSI (petrol) and a 190 PS 2.0 TDI (diesel). 

All the transversely mounted four cylinder engines can be combined with an automated DSG dual clutch seven-speed gearbox while the most potent units – the 280 PS 2.0 TSI and 240 PS 2.0 TDI – also boast Volkswagen 4Motion all-wheel drive as standard. The 190 PS 2.0 TDI is also available with optional 4Motion. All other models have front-wheel drive. Additionally, 150 PS petrol and the 150 PS and 190 PS diesel-engine Arteons offer the option of a six-speed manual gearbox.

The new Arteon is based on Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix (MQB). All of the brand’s MQB models are characterised by their distinctly dynamic proportions and generous interior space which results from the axles being ‘pushed’ towards the front and rear of the vehicle. This, too, is a feature of the new Arteon. construction.

Further supporting its safety credentials, and contributing to its Euro NCAP five-star safety rating, the Arteon’s active bonnet technology protects not only passengers but pedestrians too. In the event of a collision, the bonnet is raised via its hinges using pyrotechnic technology to reduce the severity of pedestrian injuries.

The grille stretches the full width of the front of the Arteon, and the LED headlights blend into the chrome-plated grille crossbars.

Available in sporty R-Line or luxurious Elegance trim, you will not feel short-changed in whichever style you choose.

The most potent Arteon, powered by the 280 PS 2.0 TSI (petrol) unit will sprint from 0-62 mph in 5.6 seconds and offer a 155 mph top speed. The most frugal 2.0 TDI 150 PS-equipped Arteon offers an average 62.8mpg.

Given that the Arteon is likely to be bought for longer journeys, you might find that the 150PS unit offers the best balance between economy and performance.

Standard equipment highlights include the latest Discover Navigation infotainment system with eight-inch colour touchscreen, eight-speaker sound system, Bluetooth audio and telephone connectivity, and Volkswagen Media Control which allows remote control of the infotainment system via compatible smartphone or tablet device.

Other standard-fit highlights in the Arteon include digital instruments via the 12.3-inch information display, minimum 18-inch alloy wheels, LED self-levelling headlights and LED tinted rear light clusters with dynamic indicators, plush Nappa leather upholstery; full connectivity and three-zone air conditioning with automatic air recirculation.

Numerous advanced systems made their debut in the Arteon, including a new generation of adaptive cruise control that uses GPS-based road data to ‘see’ speed limits, and will adjust the car’s speed as appropriate.

A predictive cruise control feature uses road recognition route data from the navigation system to recognise its position and, within system limits, adjust the car’s speed on approaching bends, roundabouts and junctions
With dynamic light assist, GPS technology enables the Arteon’s LED headlights to turn into a bend
before the driver has steered into the approaching corner.

Emergency assist has evolved, too. Now including emergency lane change assist it means that if the driver becomes incapacitated for health reasons, the system slows the car down and brings it to a halt. 

Technological advances aside, the Arteon is a beautifully designed car with a selection of superb engines to match. It needs to be to tempt customers from the likes of the Audi A5.

As a flagship for the Volkswagen stable, it provides a wonderfully relaxing drive.

Volkswagen Arteon Elegance DSG
Price: £32,745
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder TSI turbocharged petrol, producing 150PS
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic DSG driving front wheels
Performance: 0 to 62mph in 8.9 seconds; top speed 137mph
Economy: 48.7mpg combined
CO2 emissions: 131g/km

Performance: ****
Economy: ****
Ride/Handling: ****
Space/Practicality: *****
Equipment: *****
Security/Safety: *****
Value For Money: ***