Volkswagen has dipped its toe into the waters with big, luxurious cars before, but the genre hasn't been kind to the biggest car manufacturer in the world. The Phaeton has faded into oblivion and the Passat CC is a great car that no-one bought, but that hasn't deterred VW from giving it one more shot with the Arteon. With show-car looks and a tech-heavy cabin, the Passat connection is well and truly gone.
Built on the ubiquitous MQB platform, the Arteon is unquestionably a Volkswagen, but it's also a much prettier car than the more practical Passat it's related to. With a 2,842-mm (111.9-in) wheelbase and low, wide stance, it looks much more aggressive than the rest of the VW range, with a totally unique nose and grille treatment that could have been stolen directly from the C Coupe GTE.
Although it's very pretty, the Arteon wouldn't be a proper grand tourer without a big boot and lots of room in the back seats. There's 19.9 cu.ft (564 liters) of boot space with the rear seats upright, but that can be expanded to 55 cu.ft (1,557 liters) with the seats folded flat, making this slinky four-door coupe more spacious than the regular sedan. The boot is a hatchback, too, making it easier to load odd-shaped items.
Moving to the front seats reveals the same high-tech cabin concepts that debuted in the Mk 7.5 Golf late last year. The clever Active Info Display replaces the traditional instrument binnacle, and the all-touch 9.2-inch Discover Pro infotainment system also makes an appearance. As is becoming the norm on new Volkswagens, a full suite of active safety tech will be on offer in the Arteon, from adaptive cruise control to an Emergency Assist system, which pulls the car to the hard shoulder if the driver falls asleep or can't drive because of illness.
Depending on where you are in the world, the car will be powered by a range of six different engines. The range of petrol engines will kick off with the a new 1.5-liter turbo making 110 kW (148 hp), before jumping to a 2.0-liter turbo in 140 kW (188 hp) and, in the range topping all-wheel drive model, 206 kW (276 hp). All three diesel models will come with the same base 2.0-liter engine, with outputs ranging from 110 kW (148 hp) to 176 kW (236 hp).
Range-topping models will be offered with 4MOTION all-wheel drive, and the whole range can be paired with the excellent seven-speed DSG that features in countless other VW products. If we were high-ups at Audi, we'd be worried about the Arteon eating into A7 sales given the similarities between the two.
Volkswagen hasn't revealed pricing details for the Arteon, but the car will be on show at the Geneva Motor Show. New Atlas will be on the ground covering all the action, so stay tuned for the latest.