The Arteon always seemed ripe for R treatment, and to coincide with the car’s mid-life facelift, VW has finally pulled the trigger. Not only that, but the company has also made a pair of performance models. Huzzah!
The new Arteon R is available both in standard ‘Fastback’ form and in the new ‘Shooting Brake’ style. Yes, it’s really just an estate rather than a true shooting brake, but when it looks this good, who gives a damn about the terminology used?
Whichever you go for, what’s under the bonnet remains the same. It’s an ‘EA888’ inline-four 2.0-litre turbo engine, good for 316bhp and 310lb ft of torque. This doesn’t give the R the biggest gap between itself and the 276bhp 2.0-litre Arteon, but the performance variant does have an extra trick up its sleeve.
An ‘R Performance Torque Vectoring’ system is able to chuck anything up to 100 per cent of torque to one wheel, thanks to clutches that control the drive split between the axles and the left/right wheels. So, it might just be able to pull off a cheeky drift.
R models also get restyled front and rear ends (we’re digging the partly blacked-out grille), quad trapezoidal tailpipes, and 20-inch wheels with suitably beefy 18-inch brakes underneath. With blue-painted callipers, of course.
Standard models receive tweaked front bumpers, and on the R and R Line models, grille-mounted light bars. The Shooting Brake deviates from the Fastback from the B-pillars backwards, with a gently sloping roofline leading to a chunky boot spoiler and widened rear arches. With a 565 litre boot, its load capacity is only a couple of litres bigger than the Fastback’s, but drop the rear seats, and that increases to 1632 litres.
Inside, the centre console retains the same shape, but the infotainment screen and climate controls are new. The steering wheel is a fresh design too, and behind it, you can see a redesigned 10.25-inch ‘Digital Cockpit Pro’ instrument cluster. The upper part of the dash has lost the analogue clock of the old model and no longer has that design feature which joined the two right-hand air vents.
Not keen on the R? Along with the 276bhp 2.0-litre petrol mentioned earlier on, you can also have the same engine in a more modest 187bhp tune and with a six-speed manual gearbox. There’s a 215 plug-in hybrid version, and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel available with either 148bhp or 197bhp.
The hybrid and the base 2.0-litre are front-wheel drive only, while the 276bhp Arteon is four-wheel drive only. All other non-R models have a choice of drive layouts. In terms of gearboxes, the base 2.0-litre is the only one to get the manual option, and the hybrid is the sole six-speed dual-clutch Arteon - the rest are all fitted with seven-speed DSG gearboxes.
Which will it be for you?