Grand tourer from VW

Volkswagen Arteon, front action
Volkswagen Arteon, front static
Volkswagen Arteon, front action 2
Volkswagen Arteon, side action
Volkswagen Arteon, rear action
Volkswagen Arteon, rear static
Volkswagen Arteon, dashboard

DO you drive or ride a bike listening to music on headphones? Did you know it was illegal? And stupid.

If you've got your earphones on, you can't hear what's going on around you and could easily cause an accident.

I have seen drivers wearing phones so often recently, I think it's becoming endemic.

So I've started reporting people as often as I can, complete with time, place and registration numbers - just as I do when people use mobiles behind the wheel.

If enough of us do this, we can help the police stamp out the mindless stupidity of both.

During a short drive in the latest VW Arteon recently, I saw two drivers with headphones in and one using a mobile, in the space of just 15 minutes. There's just too much of both.

The Arteon is a worthy range topper from the VW stable, with all the bells and whistles as standard - at least in the R-Line I've just driven.

Most you'll see out on the road are company cars powered by 150 and 190bhp versions of the company's ubiquitous 2.0-litre diesel.

But I drove a 272bhp version of the 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrol - almost the most powerful unit available and quick enough to give hot hatches a hard time.

All Arteons have the most comprehensive range of safety kit as standard, with more available from the extras list, making them among the safest cars you can drive.

More of that later but first, this TSI is a complete joy to drive, with an engine that's silky smooth and the excellent VW DSG twin clutch automatic gearbox to help make the most of the power.

The combination can be a storming sportscar shamer, or a sumptuous, effortlessly comfortable grand tourer. It all depends how heavy your right foot is.

There is huge low speed torque available from just above tickover, so acceleration from any speed to any other is seamless and swift.

There is virtually no engine noise unless you push the revs up the range. Then there is a subdued hum that's just enough to interest the more enthusiastic driver.

At normal motorway cruise, it's immensely hushed and refined, with very little wind or road noise.

The ride is perfect, taking poor surfaces as if they're not there apart from a little bump/thump from the tyres.

It comes with VW's Dynamic Chassis Control system, which allows the driver to adjust suspension and steering settings, but suffice it to say, I had it in the Normal or comfort setting most of the time, and found this the best setup for me.

There is a sport setting, but I found this spoiled the ride and soon switched it back again.

In normal mode, the road holding and handling were still absolutely stunning, giving flat and very safe cornering, with huge levels of grip no doubt helped by the all wheel drive.

The gearbox has its own manual and sport settings but at this level, I think the manual is virtually superfluous since few owners will ever use it.

Sport however, when you're pressing on, is marvellous, ramping up the response from the engine and the gearbox to the point where it's almost instantaneous.

The safety equipment and technology is excellent, with loads of airbags, electronic stability control,and autonomous emergency btaing, plus an adaptive cruise system that monitors speed limits and matches them.

It also has second-generation Emergency Assist, which, should the driver become incapacitated, can now not only bring the car to a stop, but also steer it to the side of the road.

And there's a Pre-Crash system that prepares the car in an unavoidable impact. But now it reacts not only to danger in front and from handling difficulties but also to danger from the rear.

More usual equipment includes an auto-on and off electric parking brake, large touch screen for sat nav and media, a fabulous sound system completely digital binnacle, keyless entry and starting, multi-function steering wheel, voice activation that works really well and electric seats.

FAST FACTS

Price:£40,820

Mechanical:272bhp, 1,984cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:155mph

0-62mph:5.7 seconds

Combined MPG:38

Insurance Group: 32

C02 emissions: 161g/km

Bik rating: 36%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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