Proof that beauty and brains can coexist within a single package.
Audi has finally decided to offer a Sportback version of the A5, but that hasn’t stopped Volkswagen from offering the CC, essentially its lower trim take on the four-door coupe segment that’s supposed to rival the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. Its replacement, the Arteon that we saw at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, is a car that VW has heaped praise onto and for good reason. In the auto industry, sex sells, and the Arteon is the very definition of sexy.
However, it’s the technology packed underneath that Volkswagen is most excited about. While the entry-level turbocharged 1.5-liter engine will be impressive on its own merit, it’s the turbocharged 2.0-liter pushing 276 horsepower to all four wheels that we’re most excited about. Keeping drivers in cocooned in relative comfort when not enjoying turbo-enabled torque across the entire rev range will be an “autonomous driving” function that will take over if it senses an incapacitated driver. This turns the Arteon into a report card of sorts, giving us a glimpse onto how the automaker is getting along with its push for self-driving vehicles.
Dubbed Emergency Assist 2.0, the system merges four separate driver aids, Adaptive Cruise Control, Side Assist, Lane Keep Assist, and Park assist, into one, allowing the four-door coupe to safely bring itself to a halt without incident. Let’s take a trip into the worst case scenario, one which involves a driver blacking out at the wheel. With no brake, throttle, or steering input, the system tries to see if the driver can be shaken out of what it assumes is a temporary slumber by setting off visual and acoustic warning signals and tapping the brakes to provide a physical jolt. If the driver doesn’t react, the system engages the emergency stop procedure, which begins by turning on the hazard lights.
Then, using Park Assist’s access to the electric steering system in conjunction with camera-based Lane Keep Assist keeping the Arteon in its lane, the system makes subtle steering maneuvers to alert adjacent drivers to the situation. Then, using the a forward-facing radar sensor and ultrasonic sensors embedded in the sides to see, the system keeps the gorgeous front end and sides from running into anything, allowing the Arteon to make its way into the innermost lane where it eventually comes to a complete stop. While the press release makes no mention, we assume this is the point that the car calls emergency responders and unlocks the doors to allow trained humans to assess the condition of the driver.
So far as our eyes (and now, our logic) can tell, the Arteon will be the least expensive and most enticing way to get behind the wheel of Volkswagen’s MBQ platform when it makes landfall in the US as a 2018 model.