The resculpted rear bodywork increases the height of the Volkswagen Arteon by 19mm but leaves the overhang unchanged, so in length, this big VW continues to split the difference between the BMW 3 Series and 5 Series, whether or not you opt for the Shooting Brake derivative.
As for the reason VW uses the term ‘shooting brake’ rather than ‘estate’, it comes down to the rake of the tailgate window, which is markedly shallow and akin to what we’ve seen in the past on the C218-generation Mercedes CLS, with the glasshouse extending similarly deep into the D-pillar. The effect is dramatic enough, and there’s no risk the load-friendly Arteon would ever be mistaken for the Volkswagen Passat Estate, or any other regular estate model. At the back, the LED light clusters have also been redesigned, as part of a raft of updates applied to the Arteon for the 2021 model year.
Fundamentally, the MQB-based Arteon is otherwise much as before, but for two significant additions to the engine line-up that we’ll come to. The 1.5-litre petrol (available with manual gearbox only) and the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel units (with a dual-clutch automatic) have been the carried over and the punchy but strained-sounding 237bhp twin-turbo diesel dropped.
The surviving engines have been lightly revised, mainly with emissions-related equipment, and now range from 148bhp to 197bhp, with their efforts delivered to the front wheels alone, except for the 197bhp 2.0 TDI, which is paired exclusively with four-wheel drive. Although it has yet to make an appearance on UK price lists, the old 276bhp 2.0 TSI is expected to reappear before too long and would also be paired with a clutch-based Haldex all-wheel drive system.