The Arteon name is said to be a portmanteau of the words 'art' (which "describes the saloon's lines") and 'eon' (identifying this car "as a premium model"). The word eon also represents "an immeasurably or indefinitely long period of time", which is about how long the Arteon's predecessor had occupied the stage.
One of Volkswagen's longest-serving models, the Passat CC entered production in 2007 and made its Australian debut in 2009. In 2011, the stylish fastback sedan picked up new styling at both ends to bring it more in line with the brand's evolving design themes - while dropping the Passat name to retain some amount of distinction.
Above: the CC's first look, and its facelift.
The new Arteon, as the above sketch reveals, will be heavily inspired by the Sport Coupe GTE concept that debuted in March last year. Images published in the European press in August, purported to be official patent renderings, also now appear to have been authentic.
That means we can again expect Volkswagen to stay close to the styling of the regular Passat, while exploring a more muscular and sporting look for this lifestyle-focused model.
The Arteon was also spied testing in California recently, and while a light layer of camouflage obscured the finer details, it is clear we can expect a shape and style close to that of the Sport Coupe GTE concept.
Under the skin, the Arteon will ride on the same MQB platform that underpins a number of Volkswagen models, including the regular Passat and the smaller Golf range.
As a concept, the Sport Coupe Concept GTE measures 4869 millimetres long, 1865mm wide, 1407mm tall and rides on a 2841mm wheelbase.
These figures make the concept 103mm longer, 33mm wider and 49mm lower than the new Passat, while sitting on a 51mm longer wheelbase.
That stretched wheelbase is focused on space in the second row, highlighting again the importance of the rear legroom-obsessed Chinese market.
The Arteon will be revealed in March at the Geneva motor show, ahead of an Australian debut set for October, making it a model-year 2018 offering in our market.
Australian details for the Arteon are a long way off being finalised, although the company's local arm is already building up its near-premium equipment list.
“Arteon in every sense surpasses any prestige car around or immediately above its price point. There’s standard kit on-board this Volkswagen the equivalent of which would set you back a great deal more if packaged in a luxury brand car or SUV," said Ben Wilks, Volkswagen Australia marketing and product manager.
“With our first in Australia head-up display coupled with Active Info dash, you’re looking at the most advanced driver interface to date. With its drivers assist systems Arteon takes a big step toward autonomy.”
Along with those features, the Arteon will also get a 9.2-inch main display and Nappa-trimmed ventilated front seats.
No surprise, the headline engine will be the 206kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that sits atop the Passat range, along with the related Skoda Superb. A six-speed DSG and 4Motion all-wheel-drive will likewise feature.
No other powertrains have been confirmed at this stage.