Volkswagen Arteon R Shooting Brake Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Car Review

Volkswagen Arteon R Shooting Brake

£ 33,070 - £ 43,020
810
Published: 29 Jun 2021
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

With all the references to track driving in Volkswagen’s publicity materials you would think you were getting some sort of touring car racer for the road, but thankfully the R isn’t that hard-edged. The suite of R upgrades on the Arteon have, however, lifted it out of dull repmobile drudgery. 

The car gets all-wheel drive with R-developed torque vectoring and an electronic limited slip differential that works through the ESP to ensure maximum traction. The result is a perky 4.9secs run to 62mph from a standstill, a progressive delivery of acceleration that positively charms when you’ve got used to the relentless push of electric torque in other cars. The Arteon R has plenty of shove to offer when you’re tinkling along and want to overtake, too, although in Comfort mode the car can be slow to wake up. Keep it in Sport and it’s always ready to play, without being so aggressive with gearchanges and the like that it keeps you on edge too.

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Has the sporty drive ruined the ride?

There are MacPherson struts up front and multi-link suspension at the rear. The suspension is suitably firm for a sporty little number like this, but impressively damped thanks to the trick adaptive set-up, so you never feel like you’re suffering for the car’s performance. Here is Volkswagen showing everyone how to successfully create a ‘sporty’ ride, even on the 20-inch wheels we tested.

For once the different driving modes offer genuine variety, too – Sport is the one to be in, with the right blend of assertive throttle, firmed up steering and concentrated ride. Comfort is just that little bit too squishy on the throttle and vague with the wheel and Race a bit too hyperactive, even if the exhaust gets unleashed at full howl. Maybe save that one for the track driving.

What’s the wallet damage like?

If you’re at all economy minded then you’ll probably want to excuse yourself from the Shooting Brake R and settle on one of the less exciting diesel options. CO2 emissions of 209g/km and fuel economy of 30.6mpg aren’t quite what you’d call environmentally sympathetic, but think of all that petrol as an investment in your own mental wellbeing. 

It might sound like we’re damning with faint praise, but the hot Arteon estate is a great cruiser, perfect for motorway touring. It’s exactly the sort of rapid wagon you’ll want if faced with a prolonged period of enforced domestic holidays. It’ll munch miles and prove itself flexible.

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Highlights from the range

the fastest

Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TSI R 5dr 4MOTION DSG
  • 0-624.9s
  • CO2181.0g/km
  • BHP320
  • MPG
  • Price£ 51,870

the cheapest

Volkswagen Arteon 1.5 TSI SE Nav 5dr
  • 0-629s
  • CO2124.0g/km
  • BHP150
  • MPG
  • Price£ 33,070

the greenest

Volkswagen Arteon 1.4 TSI eHybrid Elegance 5dr DSG
  • 0-627.8s
  • CO230.0g/km
  • BHP218
  • MPG
  • Price£ 41,425
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