Volkswagen’s flagship car has gotten a refresh, and it’s more than just your typical facelift. The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon has gotten a fresh body design, redesigned interior, and new high-tech comfort systems. There’s also a second body style, but the U.S. isn’t getting it.
For 2021, the U.S. market Volkswagen Arteon features a simplified trim lineup—SE, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line. The Arteon Shooting Brake, a wagon (or estate, depending on where you’re reading this right now), is designated for sale outside of North America. So too is the new plug-in hybrid powertrain version of the model.
The car’s side profile features a character linen that wraps from front to rear.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
At the front, there are sharpened design elements. A long, wide hood stretches bringing the eye up and then out toward the wheel arches. The grille sees the front end encroaching further into its territory, which emphasizes the model’s wideness. Mid-grade models come with LED daytime running lights that connect across the grille.
Lower, the front apron has been modified to feature three chrome bars instead of four. The outer and bottom of the apron now match the vehicle’s body color (except the lateral air intake grilles).
Some features vary by trim level. The Arteon SE gets two additional air intakes in the front and a chrome bar integrated above the front spoiler. The Arteon R-Linen features one larger, continuous, bottom air intake above the front spoiler that is surrounded by a C-shaped section on the outside in front of the front wheels, which has been painted in the main vehicle color.
A character line runs around the entire car, visually connecting front to rear. VW badging throughout the model features the company’s new design, the Arteon lettering has been redesigned, and the “R” badge is in the new design.
new VW badging is apparent throughout the car.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen is adding three new paint jobs to the mix for 2021: Oryx White, Kings Red Metallic, and Lapiz Blue.
For the U.S. market, the Arteon continues to be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available on select models.
The Arteon cabin’s cockpit has been completely redesigned, as has the entire dashboard. There are fresh surfaces, air vents, and finishers. The center console, infotainment area, climate controls, and top sections of the door interiors also have been given a thorough once-over. Fabrics and materials inside the model have been upgraded.
Volkswagen has upgraded the interior, previously a low point for the car.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
Gone are the hard plastics and rubberized materials that made up the previous edition’s dashboard. New leatherette surfaces with decorative seams match the design of the ones in the Volkswagen Touareg, which is no longer sold in the U.S. Midrange and up models get translucent aluminum décor with 30-color ambient lighting.
The fresh Volkswagen multifunction steering wheels features digital touch surfaces. In combination with the Travel Assist system, the steering wheel rim additionally features touch-sensitive surfaces which, once Travel Assist has been activated, detect whether the driver has at least one hand on the steering wheel for safety reasons.
Tri-zone automatic climate control is now available and controlled via a touchslider. Seat heating, windscreen and window defrosting functions, as well as other air conditioner regulations are also controlled using new touch-sensitive surfaces in the center console.
VW has put its next-gen steering wheel in the model.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
The Arteon is equipped with the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, which allows the driver to configure the 10,25-inch instrument display. Three visual layouts are available for the driver to choose from. The system uses its parent company’s MIB3 infotainment system. An 8.0-inch touch screen is standard. Wireless charging is available.
New interior finishes allow for unique style lines.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
Buyers can opt for a premium Harman Kardon sound system that uses a 700-watt, 16-channel Ethernet amplifier to power a total of twelve high-performance loudspeakers. One loudspeaker acts as the center speaker in the newly designed dash panel while another operates as a subwoofer in the trunk. The remaining treble, mid-range, and bass loudspeakers have been arranged in the doors. A variety of sound system settings such as Pure, Chill out, Live, and Energy, are available to be chosen.
The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon goes on sale later this year.