Here's why the VW Arteon is better than a Mercedes C-Class
The Passat CC was once a go-to car for many medium level executives, no longer were they driving a Golf hatch - their car allowance meant they could step into something bigger.. fancier.. with more leather and gadgets. Sadly with ever changing times, the 2.0 diesel suddenly wasn't as desirable (ahem) and the Passat CC was at the end of a life-cycle.
Instead of adapting the Passat CC to take a few different engine variants, VW decided to entirely change the model - rename it, reshape it and reprice it. Now you had a big range to choose from, little petrol engines - mid sized diesels - even a fast AWD petrol one. All with a striking and new - yet familiar look.
From most angles the Arteon looks great, however for me it looks best while parked among foliage in autumn..
Prices start at around £32k on the road, for that price you'll get a little 1.5 petrol in an 'Elegance' spec which as standard comes with bundles of technology. Head to Mercedes and for £2,000 more than that price you'll be getting a very basic C200 petrol with absolutely no extras and a bland (in comparison) interior (to me).
At the top end of the Arteon scale, you've got the 280PS 4MOTION R-Line version which costs £40,000 and comes with more tech than you'll ever need. Move to Mercedes, grab a C43 and you'll be paying over £48,000. Now just on cost alone you can see why I think the Arteon is superior to the C-Class.. but let's continue.
I need to clarify that I do like the C-Class, I think they're lovely driving cars which have comfy interiors and command strong residual prices while offering decent PCP deals to the market.
When you compare the exterior of the Arteon to a C-Class, it's not until you're up to a C43 or C63 that the styling is comparable. The C-Class 'Sport' and 'AMG Line' models do look good - but compared to an Arteon? They look out-dated and boring / pale.. the 43 and 63 variant get closer.. but then you're spending mega money. For considerably less, you can have a great looking car which just doesn't have a Mercedes badge.. but a Volkswagen one.
The vehicle I had on test cost £41,905 OTR, including the R-Line model variant it also had a tonne of extras (on top of the standard tech) including surround view monitor, heads up display, keyless entry (and wiggle your foot at the boot to open it) and start, dynamic chassis control, park assist, acoustic pack, panoramic sunroof.. and the turmeric yellow metallic colour which was a £595 option. At Mercedes you'd get a C300 with a couple of options for the price.
The only issue I had was when I got inside, Volkswagen make a lot of models and carry lots of components / materials over between them.. so very often you'll find the same plastics from another model. However, the plastics were soft touch and won't scratch easily.. so it's not a big issue.
The digital dash display is clear and useful, the infotainment is easy to navigate and comes with a superb standard audio system. Seating is comfortable front and back, the drivers seat is extremely holding through even fast corners and for your passengers there's ample legroom and headroom all-round. Move to the rear and it gets even more impressive, the boot is absolutely gigantic while not taking away from your passenger space or meaning that VW had to turn it into an estate / wagon.
In general the interior is lovely, it's considerably nicer than a Passat with artistically sweeping lines. It feel premium, it looks premium.. because it is premium.
Performance wise I was absolutely stunned, how was something so business-like so sporty?? The dynamic chassis control meant you could have a soft ride on the motorway retuning good MPG figures but the second you're off, you could have a engaging and thrilling backroad thrash. The drive was precise and the steering feel was connected, the brakes had great punch and it pulled effortlessly through the gears.
The 2.0 TSI I had produced 190PS and put the power through a silky smooth 7-speed DSG box. While the fuel economy claims were high, as per usual it didn't reach them.. but it wasn't too far off. At best on the motorway 49mpg (claimed 57mpg) and around town usually 31mpg (claimed 36mpg). If you want a really 'fast' Arteon, you can go for the 280PS 4MOTION variant.. with a remap you're beyond Golf R figures.. tasty!
To summarise, the Arteon is a luxurious car which looks fantastic on the outside but also has a luxurious quality inside too. It has decent MPG figures while returning a great drive and is extremely versatile and capable. The sad thing is that VW don't sell too many and the ones you find second hand have depreciated considerably - I guess that's the risk with a new model.
For the second hand buyer it means you can get into a year old low millage example for about 35-40% less than the original list price. For new buyers this means the dealers will work with you, throwing in extra spec and service plans to make up for the loss at the end of the lease / when you sell.
The C-Class is a great car, however I think the Arteon is better. Everyone has a specific design language they like but I think the Arteon does it best.