Arteon on ice

80 centimeters of pure ice separate the Volkswagen Arteon from the cold waters of Arvidsjaursjön: the lake near the northern Swedish town of Arvidsjaur – around 110 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle – is an Eldorado for the annual test industry of German carmakers. The reliable cold in the winter months ensures a lively operation on the manageable airfield right on the edge of the lake.

Several times a week, machines from Frankfurt (Hahn) land in February, but especially from Hanover, Stuttgart and Munich and swap teams for the vehicle and tire trials. During this time of the year, the number of inhabitants jumps from around 4600 to more than 6000 people and provides another economic pillar of the entire region – in addition to traditional forestry and reindeer herding.

In the vicinity of the hermetically sealed test area, numerous manufacturers use the frozen areas of Arvidsjaursjön for the regular offers of their “Driving Experiences.” For Volkswagen alone, up to 40 different racetrack variants with a total length of ten can be installed in one bay of the 10.1 square kilometer water Six circular tracks with a diameter of 100 meters and a dynamic area of ​​750 by 150 meters complete the wintry driving experience world, for which the strength of the ice must be bred: the surface is cleared of fresh snow again and again, so that the mirror-smooth running surface is faster can carry respective vehicles.This season, in addition to a whole bunch Volkswagen Golf R especially Arteon turn their tracks and more or less controlled sling circles.

280 hp (206 kW) from the 2.0-liter TSI engine accelerate the all-wheel drive luxury saloon Wolfsburg in 5.6 seconds to 100 km / h – on dry roads. On the frozen Arvidsjaursjön, the brave rider not only needs a lot more seconds, but also spikes: The numerous two millimeter long steel pins on the special tires are drilled into the ice. This makes them easier to start and offers even better traction compared to the normal winter tires used in Central Europe.

After some braking and spin exercises on the open spaces, it goes out on one of the three freshly prepared tracks. Dangers become – as on a normal racetrack – exclusively in one direction. A pit lane allows for short breaks or opens the possibility to equalize the field of the good ten vehicles, if a faster driver runs on a more cautious. Depending on the course of the route, you have around five to ten meters ice rink with a light snow cover available, then follows a first small wall made of loosened snow. If you are unlucky enough, but this is already enough to slip on it. Another two or three meters flat cleared snow form a last emergency distance to a harder snow wall, from which one should rather stay away.

By steering in and braking or by a load change alone, the rear of the Arteon can be brought to a controlled eruption on this track. Smaller curve radii can thus drive through with alternating momentum and counter-swing of the rear of the vehicle, or slipped through controlled. 180-degree sweeping or circular orbits can be mastered completely with some practice, so that all participants of the wintry VW Driving Experience almost a constant grin is in the face.

After a few laps you inevitably dare to do more than allow the distance and the grip at the respective point. The result: Front or rearward ahead or with the side of the Arteon, contact with the first or second snowwall. Mostly, only fountains of white splendor occur; Damage usually does not occur or very rarely and after a few moments, the service Touareg is on the spot and frees the driver and vehicle from the predicament. Chance of a grille must be freed from snow, so as not to jeopardize the cooling of the engine. And now the next wild ride over the ice can be tackled.

The “Driving Experience” offers can be viewed and booked through the corresponding homepages of the respective manufacturers – it is worthwhile – for your own safety and the driving pleasure with ice and snow.

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