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Afterthoughts: Answering the Unknowns In the Volkswagen Diesel Scandal


William Maley

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The past week has been miserable at Volkswagen as allegations arose from the EPA that a number of models equipped with the 2.0L TDI four-cylinder were found to emit more emissions than were legally allowed in the U.S. thanks to software. Since the announcement came out last Friday, there has been a fair amount of news.

  • Volkswagen admitted that 11 million diesel vehicles sold around the world had the software
  • The company has set aside $7.3 billion for possible penalties and fixes
  • EPA is looking into the 3.0L TDI V6 used in a number of Audi vehicles, Porsche Cayenne, and Volkswagen Touraeg
  • A number of European countries, along with South Korea announce their own investigations into Volkswagen TDIs to see if they violate emission standards
  • U.S. Department of Justice begins an investigation into Volkswagen over the emission violations
  • Dealers will be getting some financial assistance
  • Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigns
  • The German Transport Minister announces 1.6L and 2.0 TDI Engines in Volkswagen vehicles have the illegal software


There are still a number of questions up in the air as to what will happen to Volkswagen, the vehicles in questions, and other items. That's where I come in as I'll be looking into the crystal ball and try to figure out what happens next.

 


What will Volkswagen do with the TDI vehicles in question?

 

Most likely Volkswagen will implement a software update that will allow the TDI vehicles to meet the strict EPA emissions. This might also cause the TDI vehicles to lose some power.

 

What is unlikely is Volkswagen retrofitting the affected TDI vehicles with to clean up the emissions. The Truth About Cars has an excellent article talking about the possible parts and price tag if Volkswagen decides to go this route.

 

There could also be a buyback program if the EPA and/or Volkswagen deems it necessary.

 

Will the EPA fine Volkswagen the $18 Billion that has been reported?

 

No.

 

The reasons for this are two-fold. Consider the previous penalties the EPA has levied against automakers:

 

1995: General Motors was fined $11.5 Million for installing illegal devices in 470,000 Cadillacs
1998: Honda was fined $12.8 Million for not reporting to EPA they had disabled part of the onboard diagnostic computer that detected engine misfires.
1998: Ford was fined $7.8 Million for installing a defeat device in 60,000 Econoline vans

 

These amounts are somewhat a drop in the bucket for automakers.

 

Also, take into consideration that Volkswagen has put aside $7.3 Billion for penalties and fixes. The automaker believes they'll get a hefty fine, but nowhere near the $18 billion.

 

A possible guess as to how much Volkswagen will be fined? Somewhere under the $500 Million mark.

 

Will there be a mass exodus of owners from their Volkswagen diesels?

 

Not likely. A small number people will likely sell or trade in their Volkswagen diesel models, only to suffer a loss in resale value. Many will likely keep their vehicles.

 

What will do to Volkswagen's U.S. Sales?

 

Sales will drop even further, which isn't good news for the German brand as sales have been on a downward trend again. August sales in 2015 were down 8.1 percent when compared to same time last year. Sales for the year are down 2.1 percent. This compounds a problem that has been part of Volkswagen for the past few years for not quite understanding the U.S. market and its odd quirks.

 

One model that could take a big hit is the Golf. The model has been one the bright spots for Volkswagen as it has posted a 151 percent in year to date sales in August.

 

What about Volkswagen's reputation?

 

It will likely take a dive. But if the past scandals with other automakers such as GM, Ford, etc are indication, Volkswagen will be back to good down the line.

 

Are any other auto companies taking part in something similar?

 

Signs seem to point to yes. Earlier this week, Automotive News reported that a European environmental group that suggests a number of other manufacturers are using software or some sort of technology to skirt emission laws.


Transport & Environment says ICCT tests show clear discrepancies between laboratory emissions and real-world performance for several automakers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and General Motors’ Opel unit. It argued that these manufacturers might also employ similar kinds of software in Europe that VW has allegedly admitted to using in the U.S.

 

Emissions-reducing technologies “are optimized for the tested conditions and there is substantial anecdotal evidence that the cars detect when they are tested and deploy ‘cycle-beating’ techniques to reduce emissions,” Transport & Environment said in its report.

 


You can check the group's report here.

 

Meanwhile, German publication Auto Bild alleges a number of vehicles violate the Euro 6 emission standards. One vehicle singled out in their piece was the BMW X3 xDrive 20d that was eleven times greater than the standard. Now BMW has denied they do any manipulation on emission tests.

 

“We observe the legal requirements in each country and adhere to all local testing requirements. When it comes to our vehicles, there is no difference in the treatment of exhaust emissions whether they are on rollers or on the road," BMW said in a statement to USA Today.

 

Don't be surprised if more automakers are found to be manipulating or finding a loophole to pass these tests.

 

What about reputation of diesel?

 

This is possibly the biggest unknown at this time for the U.S. For a time, diesel was seemingly making a comeback with a number of automakers announcing diesel options for their passenger vehicles. Now with Volkswagen taking a bit of heat on their diesels, this could cause a number of automakers to reconsider the idea of offering a diesel.

 

There is also the question if the EPA could make further restrictions or changes to the requirements for the diesel models. If so, this could mean diesels are only for luxury models or just become non-existent.


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VW's biggest problem is their marketing and distribution, after this debacle.

 

Every VW dealer I've been to has had high pressure sales staff, terrible inventory. Their marketing of their core vehicles is non-existent; and it's because the VW Group does not want VW to poach Audi sales. 

 

And, they are incompetent when it comes to growing through their existing base. VW thinks people give a damn about German engineering. Except the customer demographic that buys Camries, Cruzes; Equinoxs, Edges, the staple products of all the mass-market brands; NONE of the buyers want German engineering. None. They want : reliability, quality, safety and value. All of those being weighted equally high, and 'value' includes F/E and upfront costs. 

 

And I don't think VW hits any of those marks really that well. 

 

Besides, their terrible infotainment systems; and decontenting of models has left them is a space where they can attract no one expect the most die-hard of fans.

 

Don't get me wrong, the Golf and Touareg are the best vehicles they make; but they are not vehicles that can sell well. A Golf does everything an A3 does really well. So really, they split sales of the SAME pie.

 

VW has to bring their product prices into the realm of buyers that could make their sales go up. Now if those same consumers think VW already skimps on reliability; then where else could they think VW may have cut corners to build a product at a price, not to a standard. Their Jetta is a turd. Their Passat, while nice; it just makes you salivate when you see the overseas version. Sure, when they lauched the 2012 model, sales spiked. But now there's no steam left. The product was just left to sit, the updates no the least being meaningful; and their cost reduction efforts still could not afford parity in standard features relative to other makes.

 

For example: In the midsize space Ford and Mazda, did quite the opposite to what VW did, respective to the 2012 Passat and 2013 Fusion, and 2014 6. Both the Fusion and 6 answer the question of 'premium styled conventional mass-market sedan' better than VW. How could they have let that happen? The last Passat was a premium product for the time. They didn't have to lose the style.  

 

VW needs to show some humility, and do what Hyundai had to do to gain traction. Namely, that's price reductions and adding back content to the vehicles. They won't succeed without a market penetration strategy, where they have to operate either cost-recovery or even in the red; (they're probably already in the red) and give people more for less to build their rep. 

 

Now these recent events have forced their hand; but this is a strategy they should have employed long ago.

 

I predict VW sales will tank in the U.S. And if they ever recover; they'll only be in the same failing predicament they were in before this crisis. 

Edited by Suaviloquent
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VW has always had wild sales swings on this side of the pond. When the Gas Crisis hit in the 70s it was the Golf that saved them. In the late 90s/early 2000s it was killer styling and (ironically, in hindsight) the first TDIs that did it for them.

This time, it'll need to be a combination of styling and reliability IMO. And time. Lots and lots of time.

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    • By William Maley
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      “The ID.4 was engineered, loaded and priced to win the hearts of SUV owners who are simply ready to go electric—and fall in love with Volkswagen again,” said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “It drives like a GTI, it has the packaging of a Tiguan and the purpose of the Beetle. All the best things about VW in one package.”
      Powertrain & Charging
      The ID.4 electric compact SUV is based on the modular electric drive architecture (MEB). While it is the brand’s newest platform, it also represents a return to Volkswagen’s roots, with the electric motor located at the rear, just like the original Beetle.
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      The ID.4 also comes with three years of fast charging with Electrify America at no additional cost, helping to reduce range anxiety. The ID.4 can be charged with both alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) fast-charging capability. The 11 kW onboard charger allows the ID.4 to charge the battery 33 miles in about one hour, and charges to full in around seven and a half hours at a home or public Level 2 charger. At a DC fast-charging station, with 125 kW charging, the ID.4 can go from five to 80 percent charged in about 38 minutes.
      Chassis
      The ID.4 is designed to be strong, yet agile. The chassis and body are made from steel. The front suspension is a strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar. In the rear, the ID.4 uses a multi-link rear axle with coil springs, telescopic dampers and an anti-roll bar. With 3.5 turns lock-to-lock and a stellar curb-to-curb turning radius of 33.5 feet, the ID.4 feels nimble, especially among other compact SUVs.
      A combination of brake types is used on ID.4. It features disc brakes on the front wheels and drum brakes on the rear—the difference being specific to electric vehicle needs. As EVs rely on regenerative braking, disc brakes on the rear can be less effective than drums after long periods of not being put to heavy use.
      Exterior
      Like the platform, the design of ID.4 represents a move towards the future with a nod to the past. At the front, the Volkswagen logo is able to be positioned centrally because there is no radiator grille, as it was on the Beetle. Large LED headlights flow backwards, hinting at the aerodynamic nature of the car, while a sculpted front bumper with large intake-like scoops and honeycomb accents give the car a powerful presence. Models fitted with the Statement package add an illuminated Volkswagen logo and an illuminated light line that stretches outward from it, creating a striking light signature.
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      The ID.4 sits squarely in the middle of the compact SUV segment, size-wise. It is 4.6 inches shorter than the Volkswagen Tiguan, at 180.5 inches, with a 0.9 inch shorter wheelbase at 108.9 inches. It is 1.9 inches lower than Tiguan at 64.4 inches high for the rear-wheel drive model, and 0.5 inches wider, at 72.9 inches.
      The ID.4 will available in six exterior colors—Glacier White Metallic, Mythos Black Metallic, Moonstone Grey, Scale Silver Metallic, Blue Dusk Metallic and King’s Red Metallic. All models come with a body color roof, black roof rails, and 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels. The Statement package adds a panoramic fixed-glass roof, premium LED projector headlights with Volkswagen’s Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) and power-folding side mirrors with puddle lamp signature, while the Gradient package (sold on top of the Statement package) upgrades to 20-inch wheels, black roof, and silver roof rails and accents.
      Interior
      Volkswagen’s first fully-electric SUV features ample space and a modern design. Passenger volume is similar to the Tiguan despite the overall smaller footprint, with 99.9 cubic feet total. Legroom is a comfortable 41.1 inches for front passengers and 37.6 inches in the rear seat. Cargo volume is 30.3 cubic feet behind the second row, and 64.2 cubic feet with the seats folded.
      The interior of the ID.4 mirrors the futuristic look of the exterior, with functionality almost completely controlled by touch or voice control. The 5.3-inch ID.Cockpit (digital driver display) replaces the traditional instrument cluster and is operated with touch-sensitive controls on the leather-wrapped multifunction heated steering wheel. Three tiles show the most important information, with the display for battery status and range underneath. The traditional gearshift is replaced by a large rocker switch on the right of the ID.Cockpit, and a control panel to the left of the steering wheel integrates the lighting functions, including automatic headlights.
      A 10-inch Discover Pro touch infotainment display is located in the middle of the dash panel, angled slightly towards the driver. This screen can be configured to driver preference, and manages the standard navigation system, all telematics, entertainment, driver-assistance systems and vehicle settings; it is upgraded to a 12-inch Discover Pro Max infotainment display with the Statement package. Menus can be moved using gesture control, simply swiping one’s hand in front of the screen. Sliders for volume and temperature adjustment are located on the inclined surface below the display.
      “Hello ID.” natural voice control is standard in the ID.4. The car follows the instructions spoken by the driver and passengers and is capable of understanding many commands from everyday language, such as “Hello ID., I’m cold” to turn up the heat.
      The ID.4 will feature ID. Light—a light strip below the windshield to support drivers in a host of situations with intuitive lighting effects in different colors and sound prompts. For example, ID. Light signals to the driver that the vehicle’s drive system is active and that the car has been unlocked or locked. It accentuates information issued by some of the driver-assistance and navigation systems and signals, both visually and acoustically, details like charge status indicator, braking prompts and incoming phone calls.
      The steering wheel, steering column, and the housings for the display and control panels in the doors are finished in Piano Black. Seats in the ID.4 are finished in black cloth on entry models and Lunar Gray or Galaxy Black leatherette on models with the Statement package. Entry ID.4 models feature six-way adjustable seats with power recline, while the Statement package adds 12-way power seats, with massage lumbar and memory, as well as 30-color ambient lighting.
      ID.4 offers a range of comfort and convenience features found throughout the rest of the brand’s lineup. Standard features include rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone Climatronic® climate control, and KESSY® keyless access. To manage cold temperatures, the ID.4 features a standard heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors and washer nozzles, and, on all-wheel-drive models, a heated windshield. The Statement package adds SiriusXM® satellite radio with a three-month trial, an adjustable trunk floor, and a power tailgate with Easy Open & Close.
      To complete the high-tech package, ID.4 offers standard wireless mobile charging, wireless App-Connect, and Volkswagen Car-Net® with in-car WiFi capability when you subscribe to a data plan. Car-Net Hotspot allows passengers to access the internet with up to four connected devices simultaneously, including tablets, smartphones, laptops, gaming devices, and more—all at 4G LTE-enabled speed.
      Safety & Driver Assistance Technology
      To help protect occupants, the ID.4 provides a combination of both passive and active safety systems. It features six airbags as standard—front and side airbags for front passengers, and side curtain airbags for outboard seating positions. Additionally there are a number of electronic safety systems, such as an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
      With regards to the battery, an extruded aluminum frame protects the battery system against damage in the event of a crash, and a replaceable aluminum underbody panel protects the battery against the road. Additionally, the battery is also disabled if the vehicle is involved in a serious accident.
      With the standard IQ.DRIVE® advanced driver assistance technology, all ID.4 models include Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist); Blind Spot Monitor (Side Assist); Rear Traffic Alert; Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist); Travel Assist; and Emergency Assist. In addition to IQ.DRIVE features, the ID.4 includes Dynamic Road Sign Display; Park Distance Control; and High Beam Control (Light Assist).
      Pricing & Sales
      Pricing for the ID.4 starts at $39,995, for the rear-wheel-drive ID.4 Pro (available in the first quarter of 2021), before a potential Federal tax credit of up to $7,500 is applied. With those credits, the entry price of ID.4 is on par with the 2021 Tiguan SEL.  For highly qualified customers through Volkswagen Credit, the monthly lease payment for a 36-month lease with 10,000 miles a year, is $379 per month with $3,579 due at signing, excluding tax, title, license, options and dealer fees.
      Starting later in 2021, the ID.4 AWD Pro ($43,695) will be available. Both Pro models carry largely the same equipment, with AWD models putting out 302 hp, and adding a heated windshield and tow hitch. These models can be additionally outfitted with two packages—Statement ($4,500), and Gradient ($1,500), which is only offered with Statement.
      The ID.4 launches with a limited-run ID.4 1st Edition (MSRP $43,995). The 1st Edition models feature the same content as the Pro model, and Statement package (minus illuminated VW logo) and Gradient package come standard. These models also include unique features including accelerator and brake pedals with “play” and “pause” logos, the steering wheel and column, radio bezel and door island finished in Electric White, 1st Edition badging, black mirror caps, and a tow hitch.
      Volkswagen plans to offer the ID.4 electric vehicle across all 50 states, and throughout its network of more than 600 dealers. A reservation platform debuts today on VW.com, allowing customers to reserve an ID.4 before it hits dealer showrooms, with a fully refundable $100 reservation fee. As vehicle production starts, reservation holders will be invited to confirm their order with an additional fully refundable $400 vehicle deposit. From placing a reservation, to production and through delivery, the customer can see where they stand and when they can expect their ID. 4 to arrive at their preferred local VW dealer in a simple, transparent process. At that time, the customer can transact with their dealer and complete their purchase.
    • By William Maley
      The news came during dinner last Monday. My mother asked if I would be able to take any time off of work, and I said that I might be able to if the circumstances were considered important. She revealed that my grandfather, her dad passed away that afternoon. It wasn’t from COVID-19, but other complications that had put in him the hospital since early June. After dinner, I needed some time and space to begin processing the news. So I grabbed the keys to my car and went for a drive.
      The past few months have been difficult for all of us in varying degrees with COVID-19. Many places going on lockdown have caused massive disruptions to how we work, travel, and interact with the world. I have been hunkered down at home since mid-March when my employer announced our office would be closed for the time being, and we would be working from home. During the first month or so, I had put a moratorium on driving except for essential places such as the grocery store or pharmacy. Isolating to prevent catching and/or spreading the virus took priority over going for a drive. But after a month of just being in a house with family and doing the same things over and over, I was going stir crazy. 
      I realized that I needed some space to not only prevent myself from losing it, but to give me some room to think about everything floating in my mind. Going for daily walks either by myself or with the dog helped a bit. But I still felt like I needed some more space, more time to myself.
      Back in 2015, I wrote an Afterthoughts column titled The Escape Machine. I talked about how the car for some of us was a way to escape the world for a time. You could go anywhere depending on how much fuel was in the tank and give the space needed to clear or process whatever was on the mind. I ended the piece with these two lines,
      That decision for me came in late April/early May. I would go for long drives, provided that I would wear a mask if I got out to go for a walk. Going for the first drive in over a month was a bit of revelation. Turing the steering wheel, pressing down on the accelerator and brake; and watching the world go past in blur made me realize how much I missed this. This seems like a trope, but you have a newfound appreciation for something you haven’t done in some time. This also gave me the space to begin piecing together various thoughts such as how do I keep myself from falling into the endless pit of despair, what can I do to keep myself from feeling bored, and do I dive back into automotive writing.
      I didn’t know how important this would become in the coming weeks as COVID-19 cases increased, the economy would come to a screeching halt; and the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing fallout. Whenever my mind would become overwhelmed or I just get too frustrated, I would hop into my vehicle and go somewhere. It didn’t matter where or how long, just as long as I had some space to think or to calm down, it would be enough.
      Back to last Monday night. As I drove, there was a lot I needed to process in terms of grief and wondering what would happen next: Would there be a funeral, what precautions should I take, will it be a long ceremony, and so on. I didn’t come up with any clear answers to these questions, but having that time to start putting things into perspective helped. 
      It was on the way back that another thought popped into my head. At the moment, we’re all trying to find some sense of normal in a world that isn’t. For auto enthusiasts, that is to drive as it gives some sort of control. It may be a small thing, but they provide some much-needed comfort.
      Like many of us, I don’t what the rest of year holds if it continues to be a landfill fire or somehow begins to contain itself. But I do know that I’ll likely be taking more drives, whether that be my car or one that I’m reviewing. Having something that provides a sense of normal is welcomed.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The news came during dinner last Monday. My mother asked if I would be able to take any time off of work, and I said that I might be able to if the circumstances were considered important. She revealed that my grandfather, her dad passed away that afternoon. It wasn’t from COVID-19, but other complications that had put in him the hospital since early June. After dinner, I needed some time and space to begin processing the news. So I grabbed the keys to my car and went for a drive.
      The past few months have been difficult for all of us in varying degrees with COVID-19. Many places going on lockdown have caused massive disruptions to how we work, travel, and interact with the world. I have been hunkered down at home since mid-March when my employer announced our office would be closed for the time being, and we would be working from home. During the first month or so, I had put a moratorium on driving except for essential places such as the grocery store or pharmacy. Isolating to prevent catching and/or spreading the virus took priority over going for a drive. But after a month of just being in a house with family and doing the same things over and over, I was going stir crazy. 
      I realized that I needed some space to not only prevent myself from losing it, but to give me some room to think about everything floating in my mind. Going for daily walks either by myself or with the dog helped a bit. But I still felt like I needed some more space, more time to myself.
      Back in 2015, I wrote an Afterthoughts column titled The Escape Machine. I talked about how the car for some of us was a way to escape the world for a time. You could go anywhere depending on how much fuel was in the tank and give the space needed to clear or process whatever was on the mind. I ended the piece with these two lines,
      That decision for me came in late April/early May. I would go for long drives, provided that I would wear a mask if I got out to go for a walk. Going for the first drive in over a month was a bit of revelation. Turing the steering wheel, pressing down on the accelerator and brake; and watching the world go past in blur made me realize how much I missed this. This seems like a trope, but you have a newfound appreciation for something you haven’t done in some time. This also gave me the space to begin piecing together various thoughts such as how do I keep myself from falling into the endless pit of despair, what can I do to keep myself from feeling bored, and do I dive back into automotive writing.
      I didn’t know how important this would become in the coming weeks as COVID-19 cases increased, the economy would come to a screeching halt; and the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing fallout. Whenever my mind would become overwhelmed or I just get too frustrated, I would hop into my vehicle and go somewhere. It didn’t matter where or how long, just as long as I had some space to think or to calm down, it would be enough.
      Back to last Monday night. As I drove, there was a lot I needed to process in terms of grief and wondering what would happen next: Would there be a funeral, what precautions should I take, will it be a long ceremony, and so on. I didn’t come up with any clear answers to these questions, but having that time to start putting things into perspective helped. 
      It was on the way back that another thought popped into my head. At the moment, we’re all trying to find some sense of normal in a world that isn’t. For auto enthusiasts, that is to drive as it gives some sort of control. It may be a small thing, but they provide some much-needed comfort.
      Like many of us, I don’t what the rest of year holds if it continues to be a landfill fire or somehow begins to contain itself. But I do know that I’ll likely be taking more drives, whether that be my car or one that I’m reviewing. Having something that provides a sense of normal is welcomed.
    • By William Maley
      Volkswagen unveiled an updated 2021 Arteon tonight. Now you might be thinking this is a quick turn around as the Arteon has been on sale in the U.S. for only a year. But you need to keep in mind that Volkswagen has been selling the Arteon in Europe since 2018, so a refresh was in the cards.
      Changes for the exterior are subtile with a more prominent grille, new lighting, updated Volkswagen badging, and new choices for paint and wheels. The interior is a bit more dramatic with updated dash featuring revised air vents and climate control system with touch controls. A new steering wheel with touch controls, improved materials, and the 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit becoming standard on all Arteons finishes off the changes.
      Power for the U.S. will remain the turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic that routes power to either the front or Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel drive system.
      There are some versions we'll be missing out on such as a new Shooting Brake (aka wagon), a 315 horsepower R model, and a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
      No word on pricing, but you'll be able to pick up a 2021 Arteon at your Volkswagen dealer sometime in November.
      Source: Volkswagen
      Press Release is on Page 2


      2021 Volkswagen Arteon world premiere

      Jun 23, 2020
      Brand halo is updated inside and out—a new front end impresses with sharpened design elements and available illuminated grille, while inside, a new cockpit offers greater levels of refinement Digital Cockpit standard across lineup European offering includes new Arteon Shooting Brake, as well as plug-in hybrid (160 kW / 218 PS) and Volkswagen R-developed performance (235 kW / 320 PS) powertrains Herndon, VA — The Arteon is Volkswagen’s Gran Turismo—marrying the sleek design of a premium coupe to the space of a midsize sedan. For 2021, Volkswagen is introducing an extensive product line update to the brand halo, including sharpened design elements, interior refinements, and intelligent comfort systems. In Europe, Volkswagen is enhancing the product line with a second version—the new Arteon Shooting Brake—alongside new powertrain options including a plug-in hybrid drivetrain generating 160 kW (218 PS) and Arteon R versions with 235 kW (320 PS).
      For 2021, the U.S. market Volkswagen Arteon features a simplified trim lineup—SE, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line.
      Exterior
      The refreshed Arteon features a refined front end with sharpened design elements. The long, wide hood stretches across the entire front profile to the wheelarches to form the shoulder section. At the front it reaches far down into the grille, emphasizing the ample width of the Arteon with its crossbars. It’s not just avant-garde, it’s also aerodynamic—with a drag coefficient of a mere 0.265.
      For the first time, the Arteon can also be configured with an illuminated grille. On midrange models, new LED daytime running lights (DRLs) connect to form a central light bar in the grille, surrounding the new Volkswagen logo and using light as the new chrome. Consequently, the Arteon has been given a new and unmistakable daytime and night-time lighting signature.
      The lower section of the front profile, the front apron, has also been modified. Up to now, this area featured four chrome bars. These have now been transformed into three significantly more striking chrome bars. The outer and bottom segments of the front apron are always the same color as the vehicle’s paintwork (except the lateral air intake grilles). How the equipment scopes differ: the SE trim now has two additional, separate air intake openings in front of the front wheels, as well as a chrome bar that has been integrated above the front spoiler. In contrast, the R-Line 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.
      As drawn, the character line runs around the entire car. It visually presses the body’s volume downward to the ground, giving it a dynamic appearance. The character line starts in the radiator grille at the front and runs smoothly across the silhouette up to the tail light clusters. At the rear it transforms into a sharp undercut that visually reduces the Arteon’s height and carries the strong shoulder section towards the rear. At the rear, the VW badge and Arteon lettering have been redesigned.
      Three new colors are added for model year 2021—Oryx White, Kings Red Metallic, and Lapiz Blue.
      Interior
      On the inside, Arteon has been equipped with a redesigned cockpit that has been refined to match the model’s exclusive nature. Volkswagen’s interior designers have redesigned the entire dash panel—consisting of surfaces, air outlets, and trims—the center console, including infotainment section and air-conditioning control, and the top sections of the door trims. The fabrics and leather in the vehicle interior have also been upgraded.
      At the dash panel’s top-most level, new leatherette surfaces stand out by having been refined are more pronounced with decorative seams to visually build a bridge to Volkswagen’s luxury-class SUV, the Touareg. On the second level, new aluminum décor graces base models, while midrange models offer translucent aluminum décor with 30-color ambient lighting The air outlets, stretching up to the third dash panel level, have been redesigned and also fully integrated here.
      A new generation of multifunction steering wheels featuring digital touch surfaces are used in the Arteon. In combination with the Travel Assist system (see below), 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.
      The temperature can now be set intuitively via a touchslider for the optional three-zone Climatronic® automatic climate control. The same applies to the blower function in the manual mode. 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.
      The Arteon is equipped with the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, which allows the driver to configure the instrument display. The graphics of the 10.25-inch display are clear and of a high quality. The driver can quickly and easily switch between three basic layouts using a View button on the multifunction steering wheel.
      Arteon adopts the all-new MIB3 infotainment system, integrated in a clearly visible and easy-to-reach position above the new air-conditioning controls. All models come standard with the 8.0-inch Discover Media system with navigation. MIB3 offers natural voice control, multi-phone pairing that can easily switch between devices, and wireless App-Connect. Wireless charging is also new for 2021.
      Volkswagen is also offering a newly developed, high-end sound system made by audio specialists harman/kardon for the very first time. It has been specifically geared towards the Arteon product line. The system 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. The infotainment system coordinates the individual sound control of the harman/kardon sound system which also provides pre-configured settings, such as Pure, Chill out, Live and Energy.
      Powertrain
      The Arteon is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine, making 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The power is taken to the front wheels via a standard eight-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic® shifting; 4Motion all-wheel drive is available on SEL R-Line models and standard on SEL Premium R-Line models.

      View full article
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