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Arteon Sportback/Shooting Brake

With its beautiful svelte-like streamlining, raft of top notch techno treats, elegant styling and great handling capabilities, it’s easy to see why the Arteon is being billed as the flagship of the VW stables. Factor in the competitive price-tag and it’s sure to make the premium marques sit up and take note. Also available in Shooting Brake estate guise.

VW Arteon R Shooting Brake side
VW Arteon R Shooting Brake rear
VW Arteon R Shooting Brake interior

The good

Looks, driving dynamics and practicality

The bad

Priced to compete against prestige brands

Tech Specs

Price from
Combined Fuel up to
0-62 from
6.5 seconds
max speed up to
co2 from

Test Drive

VW Arteon R Shooting Brake (2023)

Who knew driving a car that’s designed like an estate car could be such fun? The vehicle in question is the VW Arteon R Shooting Brake which delivers high-performance dynamics while still ticking all the practicality boxes along the way.

The Arteon was launched back in 2017 in hatchback guise, but has more recently been strengthened with the arrival of the Shooting Brake model, along with additional powertrain options including a plug-in hybrid version, plus a fast-paced R offering – and it’s that car we are focusing on.

The Arteon R Shooting Brake is powered by the same 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that features in the Golf R with 320PS of power and 420Nm of torque. That translates into some rather exciting performance statistics with the 0-62mph sprint completed in just 4.9 seconds and a top speed that’s limited to 155mph. This could be the ideal opportunity to remind ourselves that we are talking about a family estate car here.

It’s not cheap, but not ridiculously expensive either costing £56,760, increasing to £64,225 with options fitted and the day-to-day running costs are also fairly decent when those performance figures are taken into consideration. The Arteon R Shooting Brake can deliver a combined 31.7mpg with carbon emissions of 201g/km.

The vehicle stretches almost five metres in length so boasts a strong road presence and the ‘R’ label means it features plenty of sport-focused design cues. For example, there is R-specific body kit with uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers, matt chrome doors, trademark R quad tailpipes, plus 21-inch Adelaide alloy wheels with blue brake callipers housing the R logo on the front units.

IQ Lights introducing LED matrix headlights, are a £1,375 option, but deliver outstanding illumination at night and there is plenty of R badging inside and outside the car.

The interior oozes class with blue Nappa leather sports seats featuring Carbon Optic side bolsters. These can be heated, have a massage function and include integrated headrests with the R logo. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is also heated to fend off the winter blues.

VW designers have been busy revising the interior with a new-look dashboard, centre console and door inserts. And there is a wealth of tech to explore too with the main nerve centre being an eight-inch infotainment screen. This offers access to the Harmon Kardon sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink smartphone connectivity, navigation, Bluetooth, DAB radio, plus lots more besides.

Behind the steering wheel is a 10.25-inch high-resolution driver display screen with customisable menus and this offers the vital driving data, as does the clear head-up display.

All the controls and readouts are easy to use on the fly, although on more than one occasion I accidently pressed the wrong icon on the touchscreen. That may have been down to the poor road surface, over-sensitive controls or simply my clumsiness.

When it comes to performance the Arteon R Shooting Brake delivers on all counts. The acceleration through the seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox is swift and responsive and there are steering wheel-mounted paddles for extra driver control. The drive modes are called Comfort, Sport, Race and Individual and these alter the reactions of the car. In addition, a button with a blue R located on the steering wheel can be pressed to take you directly to Race mode.

It’s a fabulous motorway cruiser sitting effortlessly at 70mph, but loves to show its worth when unleashed on twisting B roads. The car features an all-wheel drive with torque vectoring system. This clever set-up not only manages the power between the front and rear axles, but also between the rear wheels. As a result, power is always delivered to the wheel that needs it most. And that culminates in outstanding balance and grip both in and out of sharp bends.

The Park Assist system will help when it comes to squeezing the car into a tight parking space and this vehicle is equipped with a comprehensive list of safety features and driver assistance aids, including Level 2 assisted driving at speeds of up to 130mph.

One glance in the direction of the estate-like car will ease any practicality concerns and rightly so. The Arteon R Shooting Brake offers plenty of leg, elbow and head space for a trio of back seat passengers. And the boot can swallow 590 litres of kit, increasing to 1,632 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats folded forward.

All in all, the Arteon R Shooting Brake is ultimate proof that owning a car that covers all the versatility and practicality demands of an active family can still be exhilarating to drive. And it’s also great to hear the roar of the engine long before you see the vehicle too.

Test Drive

VW Arteon Shooting Brake R-line 2.0 TSI 190PS DSG (2020)

Following on from the highly successful launch of the VW Arteon in 2017 there is now an all-new version hitting the streets in Shooting Brake body style with estate car practicality.

This latest addition benefits from the completely refreshed interior that VW introduced on the new 2020 Arteon with a redesigned dashboard panel, centre console and upper door trims that all give the vehicle a modern and premium feel.

The five-door Arteon Shooting Brake, which stretches just over 4.8 metres in length, looks dynamic from any approach thanks to its sleek streamlining, LED light clusters with LED daytime running lights, body-coloured bumpers and door handles plus striking 19-inch alloy wheels.

Our test car, in R-Line spec priced at £38,420 (£41,720 with extras), featured a touch sensitive steering wheel and there are touch panels for the lighting with a slider to operate the climate control. It also had an R-Line styling pack that added C-signature gloss black air intakes, extra badging, door sill protectors and two-tone door mirrors.

The upgraded leather seats on our car could be heated and offered 14-way power adjustment with massage function and memory settings.

There is a clutter-free feel to the cabin, but it’s very richly equipped with the likes of an eight-inch colour touchscreen navigation and infotainment system that introduces We Connect Plus for up-to-the-minute online traffic information. There is three-zone air conditioning, along with full wireless smartphone connectivity and ambient lighting with a choice of 30 colours.

Our test car was powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering 190PS and 320Nm of torque. This was matched to a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission and the vehicle could reach from 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds and maxed out at 145mph. According to official figures, under stricter WLTP testing, the Arteon Shooting Brake could achieve a combined 35.6mpg with carbon emissions of 179g/km.

Despite its lengthy dimensions, the car is deceptively agile and the road holding impresses even when pushed hard into long sweeping bends. The acceleration through the automatic gearbox is both smooth and responsive with a constant stream of power at your disposal to help make light work of overtaking slower moving traffic.

It feels balanced with nicely weighted steering and the highly effective insulation throughout the car silences any road surface, engine or wind noise. In addition, the suspension set-up smooths out all but the most severe bumps and dips along the way.

There are drive modes to flick through called Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual that alter the driving characteristics of the car and special mention to the really neat 10.25-inch digital tft display behind the steering wheel that is fully customisable.

The comfort levels are very high with plenty of space in the back for three passengers, although the person relegated to the middle seat will find their feet straddling a quite large transmission tunnel.

Obviously, storage will be a priority for anyone purchasing the estate model and it certainly lives up to the challenge with a boot capacity of 565 litres – this can be increased to 1,632 litres with the rear seats dropped flat. The power-operated tailgate is a convenient feature when approaching the car laden with shopping bags.

In addition, there are numerous handy storage compartments scattered throughout the vehicle, including a lockable glovebox, front and rear cup holders, seat back pockets, deep door bins and a central cubby box where the USB-C ports are located.

In true VW fashion, the safety kit is comprehensive on the car with the likes of anti-lock brakes, brake assist, electronic stability control, traction control, Isofix child seat fixtures and a full suite of airbags.

In addition, the Arteon Shooting Brake is loaded with driver assist systems, including adaptive cruise control with predictive cruise control feature, road sign recognition, traffic assist with jam assist and roadwork lane assist, a lane assist system that recognises the road edge, an emergency assist that intervenes if it detects the driver is incapable of driving and all-round parking sensors.

VW believes sales will be split 50:50 between the Arteon fastback body style and the new Shooting Brake version with private buyers accounting for about 45 per cent of sales. The car is on sale now with eHybrid and Arteon R models joining the mix soon.

Test Drive

Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 2.0-litre 150PS 7-speed DSG

There’s a new flagship model in the Volkswagen stable – it’s called the Arteon and boasts svelte-like fastback styling which, combined with excellent performance capabilities, could see it taking on the big guns in the premium sector.

The four-door, front-wheel-drive Arteon costs from £33,505 and is available in two trim levels called Elegance, which is the more sophisticated version, and R-Line which adds an element of sporty prowess to the mix.

There is a choice of three punchy engines which are a 2.0-litre 280PS petrol Evo unit and two 2.0-litre TDI diesel engines with outputs of 150PS and 240PS. In due course, an additional three powertrains will be introduced.

Our test model, priced at £35,090 (£41,660 with options) was powered by a 2.0-litre 150PS diesel engine mated to a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission in R-Line trim.

From any approach, the Arteon looks fabulous thanks to its muscular stance and coupe fastback styling and there are plenty of eye-catching design cues, including an imposing grille that spreads the width of the car and blends smoothly into the light units, a clamshell bonnet, plus an R-Line styling pack that adds special bumpers with C-signature gloss black front air intakes and a gloss black rear tailgate spoiler, tinted glass and lots of R-Line badging. The look is completed by the Montevideo Black 19-inch alloys.

Move inside and you will be met by a classy, elegant cabin that oozes style and is packed with first class technology. There are Nappa leather seats that can be electrically adjusted and the soft touch materials, ambient lighting and brushed aluminium trim is complemented further by piano black decorative inserts on the centre console.

On-board techno treats include the likes of an attractive 12.3-inch digital Active Info Display which takes the place of the analogue TFT screen. This new instrumentation has an ultra modern appearance and can be configured to show maps, music, phone contacts or the more conventional speedo and rev counters. In addition, the Arteon offers full smartphone connectivity through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, online access via VW’s Car-Net system and an 11-speaker plus subwoofer sound system that added £1,010 to the price-tag. Other creature comforts include a  smart touchscreen, head-up display, sat nav and plenty more besides.

VW is hoping to challenge the likes of the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe for sales, and if comfort and performance are anything to go by, it has every chance of succeeding.

That’s because the Arteon seems to glide across the Tarmac with barely a sound filtering through to the beautifully insulated cabin. As it cuts its path through the country lanes it is superbly balanced and composed without the slightest hint of any body roll. The road-holding is ultra grippy and there is plenty of driver feedback through the precise steering. It’s as smooth as they come without spending ridiculous sums of cash.

There are various driving modes called Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual which alter the car’s handling and responses. And for some additional tuning there are the Comfort+ and Sport+ settings.

The most dynamic Arteon on sale is the 2.0-litre 280PS TSI version which can soar to 62mph from a standing start in just 5.6 seconds and whilst our car wasn’t quite so blisteringly fast it was certainly no slouch. It could complete the 0-62mph dash in a creditable 9.1 seconds, maxed out at 137mph and, according to official figures, delivered combined fuel economy of 62.8mpg with carbon emissions of 116g/km.

Despite its length of almost 4.9 metres, the Arteon is easy to manoeuvre and the addition of Park Assist, which was a £645 optional extra, made very light work of any parking issues.

To compete on a premium level, comfort levels need to be sublime and, in fairness to the VW Arteon, they are impressive. There is ample space for back seat passengers, although anyone over six foot may find the headroom a little restricted due to the car’s sloping roofline. Storage options are also good with a boot capacity that ranges from 563 to 1,557 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.

And as one would expect from VW, the Arteon is packed with a raft of safety features that helped it achieve the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests.

All in all, the VW Arteon is a fabulous new arrival. It looks the business thanks to its elegant yet sporty streamlined body, it’s packed with classy, innovative technology and it delivers a driving experience that matches its dynamic styling. It even comes with a very competitive price-tag.

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