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Tuesday 17th April 2012

Driven: Artega GT at the 'ring

Famous German racetrack, meet little-known German sports car...



Chris Harris will be talking about driving some serious hardware around the ’ring later this week but as an appetiser we present something else we were punting about the Nordschleife on the same day. Namely this – the Artega GT.

Last time the track was shut - not today!
Last time the track was shut - not today!
We had a first taste of the Artega GT a few months back and mightily impressed we were with this German Lotus alternative. We drove it on the road, but at the time the gates to the Nordschleife were firmly shut. But the arrival of the Artega on the fleet of Rent4Ring means we can now find out what it’s like on the ’ring itself, as indeed can anyone willing to stump up the rental fee.

As has previously been stated, the Artega is an absolute stunner in the flesh. Henrik Fisker may have gone off to have hybrid adventures, but the man can sure pen a handsome-looking car, the GT tight, compact and muscular-looking with the wheels forced out right into the corners and some really effective detailing.

Neat visual representation of Artega's ambitions
Neat visual representation of Artega's ambitions
What's German for 'Lotus'?
The obvious comparison for the Artega is the Lotus Evora, though in truth the German car is quite a bit pricier and represents a brave but fascinating alternative to a top-spec Cayman or maybe even a base Carrera. Think also perhaps the Ginetta G60, the cool Germanic character of the Artega as rooted in its upbringing as the raw, no-frills and no-ruddy-nonsense mentality of the Ginetta. Very different cars, as much as they may share some on-paper similarities.

The slim-rimmed, Alcantara-covered wheel feels great in your hands and gives the Artega a real sense of delicacy from the get-go. The steering is light and direct and the centred weight and lack of mass means it feels eager to change direction. Indeed, that linearity and weighting all feels very VW, which shouldn’t come as too big a surprise given that much of the mechanical gubbins come from Wolfsburg. And though there’s perhaps not the lovely textured feedback of an Evora or the perfectly judged weighting of a Cayman, it’s good enough.

Paddleshift DSG the only gearbox option
Paddleshift DSG the only gearbox option
The most exciting Passat ever
Those Passat R36 underpinnings mean DSG only, which is a shame at some levels but makes driving the Artega very easy. Which is a good thing when you’ve got the Nordschleife unravelling in front of you and a 15,000 euros insurance excess tapping you on the shoulder and clearing its throat to remind you not to push too hard.

It also demonstrates quite how impressive the DSG gearbox really is. Perhaps undervalued given its prevalence in all manner of VW (and related) products in more focused machinery like our PH Fleet Golf GTI Edition 35 it’s proven itself the equal of any PDK or M DCT equivalent. Shifts punch through fast and positively, giving you great confidence. Put simply, there are no nasty surprises and plenty of delight in watching the Nordschleife unfold through the Artega’s windscreen.

Fast, pointy, aggressive ... but not scary
Fast, pointy, aggressive ... but not scary
This Artega was only delivered to Rent4Ring the evening before we get to drive it and has had little more than a quick shakedown. The suspension is fully adjustable too but even out of the box that sense of lightness and stiffness is apparent. It pivots around its centre – ie, you – and, though pointy, it’s a very friendly car to drive.

Inevitable German quality comparisons...
And it feels incredibly tight and well-finished. Indeed, it doesn’t feel like something from a small, specialist manufacturer. It feels, well, like a pukka mass-produced vehicle. Very impressive indeed.

Exotic looks thing accomplished
Exotic looks thing accomplished
After all, if you’re going to invest this kind of money you want something that’ll offer a memorable experience – and the Artega is just that. It looks and feels properly exotic and the gurgling, howling V6 sounds way more exotic than its Passat roots would ever suggest. Sure, there are faster, pointier and racier cars around but the Artega is one of those cars that’ll reward the confident without scaring the more nervy.

So that’s two goes with the Artega, one on the street and one on the track. And going by both it’s a hugely impressive car. Pricey, yes, but if the Passat running gear doesn’t sound exotic enough those looks and the sense of quality more than make up for it.


ARTEGA GT
Engine:
3,597cc V6
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch auto (DSG), rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 300@6,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 258@2,400rpm
0-62mph:  4.8 sec
Top speed: 167mph
Weight: 1,285kg (DIN)
MPG: 28.9mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2: 223g/km
Price: 88,500 euros (German market price, inclusive of local VAT)


Track photography by Frozenspeed





   
Dan Trent
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Author Discussion

St. Anger

Original Poster:

1,123 posts

67 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Looks pretty good from the back and the sides, I suupose... hehe

chazwozza

277 posts

72 months

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Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Cool car.

Corsair7

8,444 posts

133 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Decals actually add to this car....

mannyg

46 posts

33 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
There is one of these cruising the streets of Düsseldorf. It looks GREAT in real-life, much better without the decals.

Sounds great too. I would def consider one over a Cayman!

jon-

13,625 posts

102 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
I went something like:

<read>

want...

<read more>

want more...

<read even more>

I would sell a kidney for one of these...

<read: "DSG only">


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b14

445 posts

74 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Are Pistonheads seeing a different car to the one in the photos - from the front the thing is fkING UGLY.

DSG box :-(

MonkeyMatt

5,298 posts

93 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
I have always liked these! would love to see one

Heres a better pic




Edited by MonkeyMatt on Monday 16th April 17:29

Jamesp24

270 posts

56 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Was following for a brief moment before you dissapeared,looked great out on track.

MonkeyMatt

5,298 posts

93 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
A few visual similarities here I think!


Ozzie Osmond

16,193 posts

132 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Before anyone gets too excited, are they actually going to sell the things in UK with RHD?

Chris71

20,727 posts

128 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Looks great. But I can't help thinking something mid-engined of that performance would be quite intimidating to take round the ring if you weren't familiar with it.

Ozzie Osmond

16,193 posts

132 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Chris71 said:
Looks great. But I can't help thinking something mid-engined of that performance would be quite intimidating to take round the ring if you weren't familiar with it.
The €15,000 insurance excess should help keep things under control!

snowmuncher

781 posts

49 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
MonkeyMatt said:
I like the look of that.

Its quite heavy though eek

GTRene

8,791 posts

110 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
this one looks very nice too

http://suchen.mobile.de/auto-inserat/artega.gt%20n...





bigger pictures under the link.

or in this link when you open it in bigger

http://suchen.mobile.de/auto-inserat/artega.gt%20d...



Edited by GTRene on Monday 16th April 18:29

MonkeyMatt

5,298 posts

93 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
snowmuncher said:
MonkeyMatt said:
I like the look of that.

Its quite heavy though eek
Cayman S is 1375 kg (DIN)
Lotus Evora is 1380 kg (DIN)
Ginetta G60 is 1080 kg (DIN)

So its only beaten by the Ginetta

GTRene

8,791 posts

110 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
many pictures also on their Artega webpage on facebook

https://www.facebook.com/media/albums/?id=13977997...

they look nice inmany colors, even green or yellow biggrin








Pesty

30,521 posts

142 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Ive seen one of these in the flesh.

Look fabulous.

Perfect sports car for me. Would love one.

mikEsprit

500 posts

72 months

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Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Corsair7 said:
Decals actually add to this car....
I agree.

lazystudent

1,629 posts

47 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
IMO, that black stripe is horrendous at the front- what were they thinking!?

Clean lines of the car are great by themselves, not covered in a foot wide strip of black clingfilm

The Crack Fox

9,920 posts

78 months

[news] 
Monday 16th April 2012 quote quote all
Bit of an ugly bug, in my opinion, would like to see it versus an Evora though and without a manual 'box it would be off my list.
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