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What is it like to drive?

In isolation it’s fairly astonishing to drive. Nothing this size and shape has any right to corner, sprint and generally behave like this when you prod it. It’s a back row forward with a winger’s footwork. A barely contained ball of densely packed horsepower, metal and leather.

From the accurate but anesthetised steering, to the mighty carbon ceramic brakes, there’s never a feeling of intimacy or connection to the car; this is a snorting, stampeding bull that smothers everything with power and technology. You offer up the bare minimum of inputs then cling on and admire what’s unfolding in front of you. It’s total overkill, but inescapably exciting.

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How does it ride?

Beneath you there’s adaptive air suspension with an impressive breadth of character – from acceptably squidgy for family duties when you dial everything down in Comfort mode (a substantial achievement on 23-inch wheels), to noticeably more brittle and flat in the corners when you explore the top-shelf settings. 

Having the ability to toggle between two individually-configurable RS modes – ‘RS1’, ‘RS2’ – and ‘Auto’ via a button on the steering wheel is a nice touch, and saves you having to stretch to prod the Drive Select ‘button’ on the move. 

Needless to say, the powertrain and exhaust dialled to maximum attack, the steering somewhere in the middle to avoid it becoming too twirly and the suspension set to comfort was our go-to ‘RS1’.

What part does all-wheel steering play?

Two fold, helping to bolster stability at high speed, but it’s when you’re crawling around town, trying to park or pull a three-point turn, that you feel the benefit of a tight turning circle on a car this big. 

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Special mention to the 48V active-roll stabilisation system, that we’ve already seen and applauded on all the VW Group’s larger, high-end SUVs. Again, it’s pure witchcraft. The sport differential can send up to 85 per cent of power to the rear axle (standard split is 40/60) but, on public roads at least, there shall be no slidey shenanigans here. 

This car is all about grip, grip, and just when you think you’ve reached the limit of adhesion… more grip. It’s impressive, no doubt.

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