Luxury understated

Think a BMW or an Audi are too ostentatious? Then try Volkswagen’s top-of-the-range Arteon sedan. It gets you lots of looks, but people still let you in. 

The only problem with buying an expensive car is that not everyone appreciates it. Some people see it as a class statement and call you names under their breath or, more importantly, don’t let you in or give way to you in traffic.

A known expensive brand like a BMW, Mercedes or Audi can also attract unwanted attention when you don’t want to be noticed hanging out in the wrong neighbourhood.

If you don’t want any of the above, then the Volkswagen Arteon is for you. It’s like an Audi A5 without the brand baggage: a stunning luxury fastback without the annoying social recognition.

The Arteon is a gem for several reasons. Its handling and driving dynamics are second to none. It’s a big, long car at 4.86m, although when you take it for a drive, it feels a lot smaller.

On country roads it’s an absolute delight, with the long legs and power of a Grand Tourer in addition to the handling of a shorter-wheelbase car. And when it comes to safety, it advanced driver assistance systems are state of the art.

The Arteon’s long, purposeful slant and the strong creases on the bonnet give it gravitas on the road. It looks premium and people wonder what it is. We definitely got more looks driving it around Sydney than several more expensive cars we’ve tested this year. It’s generally not a look of recognition, but an appreciative stare followed by a puzzled look for a recognisable logo, followed by the surprise that it’s a VW.

But as with everything good, there is a price. Yes, the Arteon has a Volkswagen logo on the front, but it lists for $65K before onroad costs. You still have to pay for classy understatement.