Driving Experience - A cruise missile
To quote an F30 BMW 3 Series owner in the family who experienced the Arteon facelift, “Wow, this car feels solid man, very premium.” That about sums it up, really. It’s composed, confident, and hushed at all times.
In terms of outright performance figures, Volkswagen claims a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 5.6 seconds. We achieved 5.8 seconds in our test. At this price point, nothing else is quicker.
Even with its output figures, traction was never an issue thanks to the 4Motion all-wheel drive system. Pin the throttle down and it’ll take off in any situation without protest.
Well, taking off may be a little too dramatic because it’s not the punch-to-the-gut type of acceleration. If you drive it in a normal, sedate fashion, there’s absolutely no indication that it has 280 PS. But once you give it the beans, the surge of acceleration is just relentless.
That's the biggest difference compared to the pre-facelift model, as it runs out of puff above certain rpm. Not in this though, not the facelifted Arteon with 280 PS. The thick wave of torque can be felt pretty much to the redline.
It was already an excellent long-distance companion to begin with and the added power just makes it a world-class cruiser.
If I were to nitpick, the throttle response can be dull depending on driving mode selected. An overtaking manoeuvre was made in comfort mode and it required more throttle depression than anticipated.
This wasn’t the case in the pre-facelift Arteon, which gave a greater sense of immediacy and felt more light-footed. A simple solution would be to stick to normal or sport mode.
The real downside would be the lack of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB). Though I think some credit should be given for the Side Assist and Lane Assist systems, which were absent in the pre-facelift.
Speaking of the Lane Assist, I wish it would remember the last setting instead of having it enabled by default every time the car restarts.
Let's talk a little bit about how it handles. The Arteon is as capable as ever when you show it some corners, even more so now with all-wheel drive. It tracks accurately to where you're pointing it towards with plenty of traction in its reserves.
Steering is sharp and direct given the progressive steering fitted (it takes just two turns from lock-to-lock), while body movements are well controlled depending on damper settings. It gives drivers the confidence to push on due to its surefootedness.
Compared to the G20 BMW 320i, the Arteon still falls short in terms of driving involvement. The BMW 320i is just on another level when it comes to driving dynamics, with rear-wheel drive and a wonderfully balanced chassis.
But here’s the thing, how much of that driving prowess actually matters? In daily driving situations, the Arteon is more adept to the mundane stuff of isolating the occupants. And let’s face it, the main reason you’d pick the 3 Series over this is down to the badge, not its dynamic capabilities.