Volkswagen has breathed new life into its flagship sedan model with the Arteon, a five-seater revealed at the Geneva auto show that replaces the aging CC as the brand’s top-end four-door.

Based on VW’s apparently versatile MQB platform (it underpins vehicles as varied as the Audi TT and the forthcoming Atlas mid-size crossover) the Arteon sports a 2,842-mm (111.9-inch) wheelbase and tight front and rear overhangs, giving it style the staid Passat family car can only dream of.

Design-wise, VW calls out the Arteon’s long hood and a full-width grille bracketed by standard LED headlights, as well as “muscular” rear fenders and flared wheel arches that the car’s maker says lend it some sports car flavour.

But families will find something to like in the Arteon, too: Volkswagen says the hatchback opens up the car’s cargo area to more than 560 litres with the rear seats in place, while that long wheelbase should give the car rear-seat legroom comparable to the Passat.

Driver assistance technology includes adaptive cruise control that adjusts the car’s speed automatically according to posted limits; and adaptive headlights linked to the car’s GPS to begin bending light into turns before the driver begins steering the car. The Arteon also brings to market the latest generation of VW’s emergency assist system, which can automatically slow the car down and steer it to the shoulder if the driver is incapacitated.

Arteon also gets the Volkswagen digital cockpit gauge cluster, and a new infotainment system with gesture control and a 9.2-inch screen.

An Elegance trim brings chrome door mirror caps and lower body trim, 18-inch wheels, heated washer jets and Alcantara seats. An R-Line package includes gloss black trim, unique wheels and bumpers, and chrome-plated exhaust tips.

In the European market, VW says the Arteon will be offered with six gasoline and diesel engines, but we expect all we’ll get in Canada is a 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged four-cylinder gasser good for 276 hp and matched with a dual-clutch transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive; U.S. buyers may get the option of a front-drive model.

The Arteon goes on sale in Germany in June, with the North American launch to follow.