The Volkswagen Arteon is not a direct replacement for the old Passat-derived CC, but a genuine passenger car range-topper in its own right, say the company's UK bosses.

Car buyers should not think of the Arteon as a replacement for the CC, but as a standalone flagship for the firm’s UK passenger car range, execs at the firm have said.

With overall length a substantial 95mm up on the Passat, with a 120mm longer wheelbase, Volkswagen says the Arteon offers best-in-class rear legroom and a massive 563-litre hatchback boot – all helping it sit above the large saloon norm.

Prices are correspondingly upscale too, starting at £33,505 for a 2-litre TSI Elegance, or £34,305 for the 2-litre TDI 150 diesel most buyers are expected to choose: the cheapest Passat 2-litre diesel is £24,435 ­– almost £10,000 less.

VW’s aspiration to take the Passat upmarket intends to fill the gap at the top of the passenger car segment, following the phase-out of the old Phaeton. It’s rumoured the VW luxury car may be replaced by an all-electric model, but this wouldn’t arrive until at least 2020.

Unlike the CC, which was a stylish Passat four-door coupe alternative (indeed, it was actually called ‘Passat CC’ for half its life), the Arteon is being marketed from the outset as an upper-end contender – a car competing with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE, states the firm (not to mention the Audi A4 and A5 Sportback…).

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So why would you pick an Arteon instead of a premium alternative? A hefty haul of standard equipment, that’s why: Volkswagen is selling the Arteon only as an Elegance or R Line, with all versions coming with hated Nappa leather seats, adaptive cruise control, 8-inch Discover Navigation, TFT instruments and three-zone climate control. Executive-level equipment, in other words.

The Arteon is now available in UK dealers, in 2.0-litre petrol and diesel guise; later in the year, a 1.5-litre TSI petrol arrives, which should take the entry-level price down nearer to £30,000.

Gallery: Volkswagen Arteon