WITHOUT too much of a fanfare Volkswagen has introduced a new flagship - the Arteon - which in effect is a four-door saloon-cum-coupe and to most will be regarded as a posh version of the successful Passat saloon.
Aimed principally at the luxury end of the fleet/company car sector with direct rivals like the BMW 4 Grand Coupe, Jaguar's XE and Audi's A5 Sportback it nudges VW another notch up market.
With an initial choice of either 2.0-litre turbo diesel or petrol engines and prices starting at Â£33,505 for the 2.0 TSI petrol Elegance this five-seater fastback-designed car will not be sold in vast numbers. It's more of a flagship model to show VW can compete in the upper end of the medium sized car market.
There's a choice of just two trim levels - Elegance where the emphasis is on luxury and top spec R-Line with models more in tune with drivers looking for a sportier car.
Just 95mm longer and 39mm wider than the current Passat, the Arteon is certainly stylish to look at and whilst the engines are not new - although well proven across the current VW range - they are well suited to the shape and mechanical make-up of the car.
Inside, the cabin it oozes quality from top to bottom with exceptionally comfortable seats and all models have VW's Active 12.3-inch Info display, leather trim, climate control, LED self-levelling lights, cruise control and the like.
Apart from plenty of handy gismos there is also an eight-inch touch screen and plenty of instruments and controls for the driver to play with plus all models have front and rear parking sensors.
Depending on the model there's a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG automatic with the latter expected to be the most popular along with the R-Line 2.0-litre TDI 148bhp driven here.
There's a choice of driving modes too - Eco, Normal, Comfort and Sport - and a long list of options to choose from.
One piece of advice would be to choose the panoramic roof at £935 which makes all the difference inside as the cabin can be rather dark with its sloping roof.
As for gearbox choice it has to be the DSG automatic which has such an excellent up and down gearshift it makes driving effortless and with the 148bhp diesel engine under the bonnet is ideally suited offering really good and quick mid range acceleration.
The ride overall is well cushioned and when driving over some of our many bumpy and uneven road surfaces the car in comfort mode will easily soak them all up.
Opting for the R-Line versions and for about another £800 the driver gains 19-inch wheels, a few extra styling touches, self adjusting steering and suspension settings.
As with any VW car today it's packed well with both a good level of equipment and safety features - the Arteon has gained the full Euro NCAP five star rating.
The real pleasure of driving the Arteon is out on the open road on long, cruising journeys where it comes into its own and simply eats up the miles effortlessly.