Volkswagen splits its mid-size sedan lineup two ways. For the mainstream consumer, there's the Passat. Kinda plain, but smart. For the buyer with a sense of style, VW offered the CC, and that now gives way to the 2019 Arteon, a car that poses a challenge to the Audi A5 Sportback.

It's already on sale in Europe and now it's coming to our shores.

While both the Arteon and A5 Sportback derive their power from turbocharged 4-cylinders, the Arteon spins out 268 horses compared to 252 for the Audi. It sends that power to either the front or all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission, while the A5 gets a 7-speed dual-clutch. Adaptive dampers are standard—they should help smooth out the ride when cruising and make the Arteon agile through the twisties.

Based on VW's MQB platform that it shares with the Jetta, Golf, and even the massive Atlas SUV, the Arteon rides a wheelbase that is 5 inches longer than the outgoing CC's. It's also longer and wider, and that gives it interior space on par with the Audi.

Both the A5 Sportback and Arteon aren't actually sedans; they're hatchbacks. The Arteon also features frameless side windows for a cleaner appearance, 18- and available 19-inch wheels, and standard LED headlights and taillights. 

The exterior look suggests the Arteon is a premium model and the interior reinforces that impression, with materials that are a cut above the mainstream norm. Heated vinyl seats are standard and VW will offer nappa leather seats with heating, cooling, and a massage function.

Drivers also get plenty of the latest tech. Volkswagen's available 12.3-inch Digital Cockpit provides a programmable screen in the instrument panel, while a standard 8-inch center touchscreen features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a suite of in-car apps.

Want more amenities? VW will offer a Dynaudio premium sound system, a panoramic sunroof, and a power trunklid that can be opened with the kick of a foot.

The 2019 VW Arteon will have the room, the power, and perhaps the dynamics of the A5, but with a price that should start around $35,000, it will cost around $8,000 less