Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has revealed that it will be focusing on going upmarket, offering premium quality cars at accessible prices. Say goodbye to the Vento and Polo, folks, because the Golf R-Line is the new entry-level VW.

In an exclusive interview with VPCM managing director Erik Winter, he explained that “there is a gap in the market for premium-quality cars with accessible price points, and that is what we strive to provide.”

“We have streamlined our portfolio to ensure that we are only offering models that fit into our business strategy. All our current models have an ideal combination of performance, luxury, and practicality – making them a great choice for customers,” he added.

Take for example the Golf R-Line and GTI. The performance they offer is comparable to the locally assembled Mercedes-Benz A 200 and A 250 Sedan, but undercuts the Stuttgart babies in pricing by a wide margin.

Meanwhile, at under RM260k, the Arteon R-Line also offers head-turning looks, a cabin the size of an executive sedan, and a suitably potent 2.0 litre blown four-pot that makes 280 PS and 350 Nm of torque. It also has a quick-shifting seven-speed DSG and 4Motion all-wheel drive, propelling it from standstill to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds.

These figures are close to what the G20 BMW 330i and W206 Mercedes-Benz C 300 make, which are sold at nearly RM300k and RM330k respectively.

Every single VW model on sale today – except for the Golf R – is locally assembled in Pekan

There’s also the newly launched Tiguan facelift. While they don’t really have comparable premium rivals, they are relatively well priced, considering the performance that you are getting versus Japanese SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5.

However, the sore point for now has to do with the lack of advanced driver assist systems. Rivalling brands have at least autonomous emergency braking as standard, a feature which many had expected to be offered with the Golf Mk8.

To this, Winter said: “Safety is always a priority, and we will continue to add features into our products. Any updates to our driver assistance systems will require technical and regulatory approvals. These active safety systems are currently undergoing evaluation and technical approval process for Malaysia. They will be made available upon completion of these processes.”