Volkswagen's Arteon sedan makes it North American debut at the Chicago Auto Show.

With the recent launches of the all-new Atlas and completely redesigned Tiguan, Volkswagen has made it clear it is shifting direction to catch up with the massive explosion of SUV and CUV sales. But it isn’t walking away from its more traditional passenger car segments.

We got a look at the updated Passat at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month and for the Chicago Auto Show VW is pulling the wraps off the Arteon, the replacement for its coupe-like CC sedan. Okay, yes, we’ve already seen the Arteon in Europe, but for the Windy City show we’re getting a first look at the American market model.

And like the old CC, “The Arteon is Volkswagen’s brand shaper,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen. “This car is the spiritual successor to the CC, but it is bolder and faster. Arteon has the style and performance of a luxury Gran Turismo for about the price of a fully loaded midsize sedan.”

The Arteon is based on Volkswagen’s MQB architecture, the same platform found under the skin of the current Golf and 2019 Jetta – and several dozen other products sold through a range of other brands in the VW empire. But you won’t confuse those products from a visual standpoint.

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The new Arteon is five inches longer than the CC is resembles and as a result has more interior space.

The Volkswagen Arteon opts for a much more curvaceous, fastback roofline – if anything, one can spot a lot of the latest Audi A7 in its bloodline. Along with the sloping roof it gets a broad and muscular stance. There’s the brand’s familiar chrome cross-bar grille that tapers into standard LED headlights. From the side, Arteon is accented by slit-like exhaust ports that stretch from the creased front fenders into the front doors. Gone is the slab-sided VW design language, a crisp accent line extending from head to taillamps.

The Arteon’s wheelbase is a full five inches longer than the old VW CC, at 111.9 inches. But it also features shorter front and rear overhangs, something that translates into improved interior space.

Arteon is offered with standard 18-inch alloy wheels, though 19s are available.

The goal is to position Arteon as a more premium vehicle, and that is apparent from the interior which adopts a trapezoidal layout and adopts more soft-touch, upscale materials. Heated front seats with leatherette surfaces come standard, but there’s an upgrade featuring ventilated front seats with Nappa leather and a massage function. Heated rear seats are also optional.

The interior of the Arteon is upscale with a lot of soft-touch materials as well as heated nappa leather seats front and back.

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Upscale features such as keyless access and push-button start, as well as a three-zone climate control and 8-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. There is, in fact, an emphasis on technology, with an optional, reconfigurable “virtual” instrument cluster.

Safety features include a rear camera, emergency auto braking, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive Cruise with stop-and-go capability is one of several optional Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.

Arteon will be motivated by VW’s familiar 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, hear making 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That’s punched out to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic. The automaker also will offer 4Motion all-wheel-drive on all trim levels.

To address a lingering reputation for costly maintenance, VW will offer Arteon with a standard six-year/72,000-mile People First Warranty.

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Look for the new model to arrive in U.S. showrooms by the third quarter of this year.

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