One of the ways the Arteon will justify that price, where the old CC certainly didn’t, is the old-fashioned way: with size. This is a relatively long and wide car; it looks big enough to be approaching £40,000-worth, to put it simply.
On the inside, it offers a very roomy and accessible boot and more than enough leg room for a couple of larger adults to sit in the back quite comfortably, albeit, predictably, with not as much head room as a more conventional saloon might.
Up front, the seats of our Elegance-spec test car were snug and adjustable, and the seating position lower and more enveloping than in a Passat. The Arteon’s doors rise much higher at your shoulder than its sister car’s, its roofline stays lower and its is glasshouse slimmer, leaving quite a large B-pillar to peer around when you’re overtaking and pulling out of oblique junctions.
Onboard technology is one of the key prongs of the Arteon's appeal, with Volkswagen's thinking being that younger buyers probably care more about sophisticated safety and infotainment technology than perfect 50:50 weight distribution or some modern pastiche of century-old European luxury.
That certainly seems a sensible philosophy, but it’s debatable if it’s a real selling point for this car. The Arteon gets the same optional glass-fronted 9.2in-screened Discover Pro infotainment system as has just been installed in the smaller Golf. And, just as in that car, it seems powerful and feature-rich but much-the-worse on usability for the loss of Volkswagen's old volume and map zoom knobs and shortcut buttons.
The Arteon also has the same Active Info Display digital instrument display as the Golf. We like it, but ultimately not quite as much as one or two other digital instrumentation set-ups that this kind of cash can buy.
There can be few complaints or reservations about the slickness of the Arteon’s driving experience. With its mechanical refinement and the consistent obliging lightness of its controls, the car feels every inch the modern Volkswagen. The 2.0-litre diesel engine remains remote and quiet even at moderately high revs, but its considerable torque and responsiveness and the intelligent shift behaviour of the gearbox all mean you very seldom need to venture much beyond 3500rpm.
The car’s ride is laudably quiet on a level surface, too, even on the optional 20in wheels and low-profile tyres. Rather than simply retune the same suspension hardware you’ll find on the Passat, Volkswagen has gone shopping for new adaptive dampers and bushings for this car in the knowledge that those 20in rims would be tricky to integrate without accepting a harsher edge to the ride than it might like.
The upshot is that the Arteon offers greater dynamic configurability than any other Volkswagen, it’s damping being tunable on a sliding scale from a more compliant setting to a more resolute one when you choose Individual mode on the modal controller, instead of being restricted to discrete Comfort, Normal and Sport presets.
But, while the greater control over the car’s ride is welcome, what it amounts to is debatable. Like most of its stablemates, the Arteon is at its most effective when cocooning you from the world outside with its generally supple ride and isolated steering.
Damper upgrade or not, there’s an unmistakable thump to the car’s ride when those 20in rims hit sharper lumps and bumps, but it's tolerable. However, move towards a firmer suspension set-up in search of the driver engagement the car’s positioning promises, and you’ll likely be left disappointed. The Arteon's standard 'progressive' variable-rate power steering picks up marginally more weight but still feels starved of feel, while the car's ride becomes more choppy and little more intimately or meaningfully connected to the surface of the road.