Largely on a par with the entry-level diesel Arteon, which is similarly turbocharged and produces the same amount of power from its 2.0 TDI engine. That power is delivered much more smoothly here, though, and with less noise than the diesel.
Things aren’t whisper quiet, with some slight chatter at idle and a small but noticeable drone once you reach cruising speed on a motorway. Even so, it’s definitely more refined than the oil-burning alternative. Wind and road noise haven’t ever been major concerns for the Arteon, so you can comfortably eat up long distances without needing earplugs.
It might not better the diesel for fuel economy, but we achieved a respectable 51mpg during long-distance touring — close to VW's official figure of 54.3mpg.
The engine is tasked with propelling the Arteon’s not insignificant mass, however. When it comes to overtaking, you’ve got to really work the engine before it truly builds speed, and it has far less pull in the low and mid-range than the diesel.
At least the manual transmission is smooth and light, with a reasonably precise action when shifting through the gears. But, at any speed, there’s no escaping the fact that the Arteon is a sizeable car.
The light steering rack may help with inner-city manoeuvres, but at speed it translates into slightly vague handling. It’s especially noticeable when trying to power out of bends, with none of the accuracy or feedback found in more dynamic saloons.
On 18in wheels and with the stock suspension, the Arteon delivers a smooth ride that copes well with bumps and undulations, without translating vibrations into the cabin to a noticeable degree.
There’s more room inside the cabin here than the Passat it replaces, and more space for luggage than many rivals, too. Interior quality is high and Elegance trim doesn’t leave you wanting for much, with an 8.0in touchscreen and VW’s 12.3in Active Info Display digital instrument cluster.
The gesture-sensing menus are all too easy to trigger accidentally when shifting gears, while the screens aren’t as detailed or comprehensive as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, but they do give the car a premium feel.
As ever, though, it’s the looks that will divide opinion. A wide grille that’s quickly filtering across to the rest of VW’s line-up, a plunging roofline and frameless doors give the Arteon modern yet restrained looks that simply don’t command the same attention on the road that some rival executive saloons do.