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Refreshed 2021 Volkswagen Arteon gets sleeker body lines, redesigned cockpit

Volkswagen has given the Arteon a signficant refresh for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen's flagship car has gotten a refresh, and it's more than just your typical facelift. The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon has gotten a fresh body design, redesigned interior, and new high-tech comfort systems. There's also a second body style, but the U.S. isn't getting it.

For 2021, the U.S. market Volkswagen Arteon features a simplified trim lineup—SE, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line. The Arteon Shooting Brake, a wagon (or estate, depending on where you're reading this right now), is designated for sale outside of North America. So too is the new plug-in hybrid powertrain version of the model.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon The car's side profile features a character linen that wraps from front to rear.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

At the front, there are sharpened design elements. A long, wide hood stretches bringing the eye up and then out toward the wheel arches. The grille sees the front end encroaching further into its territory, which emphasizes the model's wideness. Mid-grade models come with LED daytime running lights that connect across the grille.

Lower, the front apron has been modified to feature three chrome bars instead of four. The outer and bottom of the apron now match the vehicle's body color (except the lateral air intake grilles).

Some features vary by trim level. The Arteon SE gets two additional air intakes in the front and a chrome bar integrated above the front spoiler. The Arteon R-Linen features one larger, continuous, bottom air intake above the front spoiler that is surrounded by a C-shaped section on the outside in front of the front wheels, which has been painted in the main vehicle color.

A character line runs around the entire car, visually connecting front to rear. VW badging throughout the model features the company's new design, the Arteon lettering has been redesigned, and the "R" badge is in the new design.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon new VW badging is apparent throughout the car.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen is adding three new paint jobs to the mix for 2021: Oryx White, Kings Red Metallic, and Lapiz Blue.

For the U.S. market, the Arteon continues to be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available on select models.

The Arteon cabin's cockpit has been completely redesigned, as has the entire dashboard. There are fresh surfaces, air vents, and finishers. The center console, infotainment area, climate controls, and top sections of the door interiors also have been given a thorough once-over. Fabrics and materials inside the model have been upgraded.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon Volkswagen has upgraded the interior, previously a low point for the car.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Gone are the hard plastics and rubberized materials that made up the previous edition's dashboard. New leatherette surfaces with decorative seams match the design of the ones in the Volkswagen Touareg, which is no longer sold in the U.S. Midrange and up models get translucent aluminum décor with 30-color ambient lighting.

The fresh Volkswagen multifunction steering wheels features digital touch surfaces. In combination with the Travel Assist system, the steering wheel rim additionally features touch-sensitive surfaces which, once Travel Assist has been activated, detect whether the driver has at least one hand on the steering wheel for safety reasons.

Tri-zone automatic climate control is now available and controlled via a touchslider. Seat heating, windscreen and window defrosting functions, as well as other air conditioner regulations are also controlled using new touch-sensitive surfaces in the center console.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon VW has put its next-gen steering wheel in the model.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Arteon is equipped with the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, which allows the driver to configure the 10,25-inch instrument display. Three visual layouts are available for the driver to choose from. The system uses its parent company's MIB3 infotainment system. An 8.0-inch touch screen is standard. Wireless charging is available.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon New interior finishes allow for unique style lines.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Buyers can opt for a premium Harman Kardon sound system that uses a 700-watt, 16-channel Ethernet amplifier to power a total of twelve high-performance loudspeakers. One loudspeaker acts as the center speaker in the newly designed dash panel while another operates as a subwoofer in the trunk. The remaining treble, mid-range, and bass loudspeakers have been arranged in the doors. A variety of sound system settings such as Pure, Chill out, Live, and Energy, are available to be chosen.

The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon goes on sale later this year.

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The AWD ID.4 model is on its way.

Volkswagen

There was a lot of buzz when VW introduced its 2021 ID.4 all-electric crossover with rear-wheel drive earlier this year, but there's plenty more now that the Wolfsburg automaker has added an all-wheel-drive version. The 2021 VW ID.4 AWD gets another motor onboard this compact SUV that brings all-wheel-drive traction. The SUV appeals to buyers in the snow belt states but will also tickle the fancy of performance enthusiasts. Now with motors on both the front and rear axle, there is nearly fifty percent more power, with impressive gains to horsepower and torque as well as the added battery-electric boost to that scoots the 5-seater from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds (the RWD model took 7.5 seconds to achieve the same).

2021 VW ID.4 AWD An extra motor brings AWD to the ID.4.Volkswagen

On sale now, the 2021 VW ID.4 AWD Pro starts at $44,870, before federal or other incentives; this is a $3,680 premium over the rear-drive model. The AWD Pro S starts at $49,370; both models are eligible for $7,500 income-tax credits. It's worth noting that current delivery estimates for the AWD Pro are running into 2022. The AWD Pro trim has been rated by the EPA at 249 miles (only 11 miles less than the Pro RWD) while the AWD Pro S has been validated at 240 miles (as compared to 250 miles). The AWD Pro has been rated at 102 MPGe for city driving/90 highway/97 combined; the Pro S gets 93/98/88. Both are rated at 2,700 towing. Competitors include the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y.

While the AWD and RWD look the same outside, one exterior badge designates the newest variant with an "AWD" badge, plus it gets 0.6 inches of added ground clearance, slightly bigger brakes and sway bars. From the front, the electric SUV has smoothed jelly-bean styling that is highlighted by standard LED headlights and standard black roof rails that sit atop the body-colored roof. From the rear, it wears hatchback-like looks.

2021 VW ID.4 AWD The ID.4's cabin is tidy and upscale, no matter the model.Volkswagen

We drove both the Pro and Pro S versions, with different premium interior trims and found the Gradient Package ($1500) visually upscale and appealing. It brings a black roof with silver rails, along with 20-inch wheels and the availability of King's Red Metallic paint, as a $395 option. The Pro is well-equipped with attractive trim elements and an impressive collection of communication and infotainment technologies. Pro S comes with a glass roof with an electrically-retractable shade and front seats with leatherette upholstery and 12-way power adjustments (including four-way lumbar support and a massage system).

We drove the new ID.4 AWD over a course of 160 miles along a variety of roads to sample its handling and ergonomics. The interior has a clean and open feel with good visibility. Controls and gauges are well-placed and the seatbelts are height-adjustable, while a configurable console holds different drink sizes and has removable cupholders. A futuristic LED "Light" strip with 10 different ambient lighting selections extends across the dashboard and pulses with directional signals, incoming phone calls, navigation prompts and other in-cabin inputs (optional is 30-color lighting selection on the Pro S). Driving is also a bit futuristic with no stop/start button; the vehicle senses the approaching key and can start climate control, unfold side mirrors, unlock doors and illuminate door handles at night, among a number of other high-tech features. There is 30.3 cubic feet of stowage behind the rear seats and up to 64.2 cubic feet with the second row folded. Under the floor storage holds the charging cable and small items. Pro S has an adjustable trunk floor that can be raised and lowered and a ski passthrough.

Pushing the brake pedal triggers the ID.4 to begin motoring, with the option of a "D" mode for typical driving or "B" for a more regenerative driving experience. Travel Assist brings semi-autonomous driving. Notable is the fun and responsive torque-on-tap, well-balanced direct steering and a suspension system that allows the small compact to maneuver well through traffic and along twisty roadways, as well as an impressive turning radius. The vehicle dynamics control system is integrated with the stability control system and an electronic differential to seamlessly engage the front axle, when needed. Volkswagen has added a different asynchronous motor to the front with a permanent-magnetic synchronous motor at the back for a combined 295 hp. and 339 lb.-ft. of torque.

2021 VW ID.4 AWD The ID.4 AWD will start shipping in early 2022.Volkswagen

Carried over are 82-kWh battery packs and the 5 to 80 percent fast-charging time of 38 minutes, when using 125kW fast-charging. VW says it can add 62 miles of range in 10 minutes; home charging on a Level 2 charger is projected to take approximately 7.5 hours for a full charge.

Of note: VW includes three years of complimentary charging up to 125 kW, with any ID.4 purchase or lease; VW Group's Electrify America charging network has over 650 stations and more than 2,700 fast chargers.

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The all-electric ID.4 will help its pilot and navigator tackle the grueling race route.

Volkswagen

Off-road racing and endurance races are nothing new, but the Rebelle Rally's approach is unique. The event is the first all-women event of its kind in the U.S. and takes participants through severely challenging terrain with no electronic aids allowed for navigation. This year, Volkswagen is bringing its new ID.4 EV to the event to be piloted by driver Mercedes Lilienthal and navigator Emily Winslow.

Volkswagen ID.4 Mercedes Lilienthal and Emily Winslow will pilot the ID.4.Volkswagen

Tanner Foust Racing and Rhys Millen Racing modified the VW with new suspension system, tubular control arms, fabricated skid plates, battery protection, and other off-road-ready kit. The crossover has also been fited with a Thule roof rack and Yokohama Geolandar A/T tires.

The ID.4's battery and electric motor will remain untouched. That means a combined output of 295 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. The 82 kWh battery can deliver an EPA-estimated range of 249 miles on a charge, but keep in mind that the terrain the team will be tackling will have an impact on that number.

The 2021 event marks the sixth year for the all-women rally raid. Teams are faced with 1,400 miles of desert in Nevada and California, and must navigate the racecourse without the use of electronic guides, such as GPS or cell phones. From the start in Las Vegas to the finish in Glamis, CA, participants must use maps, compasses, and their own skill to navigate.

Volkswagen ID.4 Several modifications were made to the suspension and other components.Volkswagen

Even though it's the ID.4's maiden year on the market, the electric crossover has already had a successful run in motorsport. Earlier this year, another modified version of the vehicle competed in the NORRA Mexican 1000. It was also massaged by Tanner Foust Racing and Rhys Millen Racing, and VW notes that the ID.4 that we'll see in Rebelle Rally vehicle was improved using data from its first races.

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