Funny that the company whose name translates as ‘people’s car’ now makes the vehicle type originally devised to accommodate the needs of gun-toting aristocrats.
Irony to one side, this new Arteon ‘Shooting Brake’ is an attractive car – far more distinctive in the metal than the original hatch, as well as being more spacious – and has been introduced for 2021 alongside range-wide updates. It’s about as exotic as Volkswagen gets when it isn’t building Syd Mead tributes such as the XL1.
Not that there are any real surprises here beyond the fact that VW has adopted a bodystyle until recently only properly explored by Ferrari and Mercedes. Engine-wise there remain the same four-cylinder TSI and TDI stalwarts you’d expect, including the 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol tested here, which with its seven-speed DSG is expected to be the most popular model in the range. Front-wheel drive is also the order of the day, except on the 197bhp 2.0-litre TDI, for which 4Motion can be optioned for around £1700 extra.
Actually, there is one other model that will have four-wheel drive. If there’s any true intrigue about the Arteon, it’s that underneath the long and artful clamshell bonnet VW will soon deploy its 1.4-litre PHEV ‘eHybrid’ unit and the 2.0-litre motor from the new Golf R. With 316bhp and two driven axles, the Arteon R Shooting Brake will present as an all-weather Audi S4 stalker, so don’t expect much change from £50,000. It will also replace the old 276bhp TSI as the flagship in the range, but should offer much more excitement than that slightly lacklustre model ever did.
As for that V6-engined prototype Volkswagen was allegedly testing, it’s not looking likely.
In terms of trim, your main options are either Elegance or R-Line, though apart from the latter’s larger wheels and tinted glass, there are few notable differences in terms of equipment, and none whatsoever when it comes to the mechanical package. What you go for is going to come done to how much you want your Arteon to stand out.