Volkswagen Arteon Continues Slow Track to U.S.; EPA Numbers Released

Revealed what seems like ages ago, Volkswagen’s upcoming flagship car will arrive in the U.S. as a 2019 model — halfway through 2019. Bearing the inelegant name Arteon, the new range-topper had its boat trip delayed by a new European test cycle that impacted the certification and release of numerous German vehicles.

It could be argued that in the 13 months since the Arteon’s big reveal, consumer interest in midsize sedans — even ones with liftbacks — has eroded even further. No matter. VW’s going to give its CC replacement a shot. A sign of the Arteon’s impending arrival comes from just-released EPA fuel economy figures that won’t blow anyone’s minds.

Borrowing the MQB platform used by its Atlas and Compass stablemates, the Arteon dons a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic. Drive wheels are either the front set or all four.

According to EPA figures spotted by the eagle-eyed Bozi Tatarevic, a front-drive Arteon returns 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined. Add all-wheel drive, and those figures fall to 20 mpg city, 27 highway, and 23 combined.

In AWD guise, the Arteon matches the city economy of the hulking (and rare) FWD Atlas and beats its highway and combined mileage by just 1 mpg.

While the Arteon’s persona isn’t well fleshed out — is it a sports sedan? Luxury sedan? Value premium midsizer? All of the above? — the lack of an available engine upgrade or hybrid variant doesn’t exactly make the model a “big tent” for buyers. Then again, the same can be said of other range-topping models.

In terms of fuel economy, the Arteon’s solidly lackluster figures (which might matter not a whit to buyers), pales in comparison to other German sedans. Take the BMW 530i, for example. That four-cylinder, rear-drive sedan beats the front-drive Arteon by 2 mpg in combined driving and 3 mpg on the highway. In 540i xDrive guise, the midsize,  six-cylinder Bimmer (320 hp, 330 lb-ft) tops the AWD VW by 1 mpg combined and 2 mpg highway.

The same can be said of the Mercedes-Benz E300 4Matic, a four-cylinder midsize sedan with a nine-speed automatic. Compared to the AWD Arteon, a 3.0-liter Audi A6 Quattro delivers an extra 2 miles of combined and highway driving for each gallon it consumes.

Suffice it to say the Arteon’s no gas sipper. And, if that mattered to American consumers, GM’s Lordstown plant would be a beehive of activity today. The Arteon will have to impress in other areas — refinement, value, style — in order to capture the U.S. consumer.

Expect to see pricing closer to the model’s summertime release.

a version of this article first appeared on TTAC