The 2019 Arteon is a bold departure from Volkswagen’s staid design norm

Bucking its reputation for conservative styling, Volkswagen dressed a Passat sedan in sleeker bodywork to create the CC. Now that car is about to be replaced with something even more ambitious.

The 2019 Volkswagen Arteon made its U.S. debut at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show almost a year after its European launch at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, but it was worth the wait. The Arteon features even more expressive styling than the CC, but ditches the outgoing car’s four-door configuration for a more practical five-door “fastback” shape. It’s the perfect car for people who think a Passat is boring, but can’t afford an Audi A7.

The Arteon borrows much of its design from the VW Sport Coupe Concept GTE that debuted at the Geneva show in 2015. A low roofline, bulging fenders, and steeply raked rear glass give it a more exciting look than cars with this many doors generally have. Thanks to a longer wheelbase and shorter front and rear overhangs, the Arteon boasts more interior space than the CC, without sacrificing style. It’s not perfect, though: the massive grille and side air intakes give the front end a bulky, heavy look that doesn’t jibe with the rest of the car.

Under the skin, the Arteon is based on the same MQB platform that underpins everything from the recently-redesigned Volkswagen Jetta compact to the Atlas seven-seat SUV. In Europe, the Arteon is offered with no fewer than six engine options, but U.S. buyers only get one: A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder unit that makes 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with standard front-wheel drive or optional 4motion all-wheel drive.

The U.S.-spec Arteon will be offered in three trim levels: SE, SEL, and SEL Premium. Available features include an infotainment system with 9.2-inch touchscreen, gesture control, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, plus the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit digital instrument cluster, and Nappa leather seats. Available driver-assist features include: Adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, park assist, and an around-view camera system.

The 2019 Volkswagen Arteon goes on sale in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2018. Pricing will be announced closer to the launch date.

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