Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

You might think a rakish-looking car like the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake deserves a longitudinally mounted engine of, oh, six cylinders at least, and we’d be inclined to agree.

However, the VW MQB platform that underpins this car permits only transverse mounting and four cylinders. And in the case of the eHybrid, that four-cylinder engine has a displacement of only 1.4 litres and on its own makes just 154bhp.

Sharp bends tend to highlight throttle adjustability, of which the Arteon has almost none at all.

Expectations relating to performance therefore need to be managed, even if the car does benefit from two sources of power, the electrical portion of which takes total output to 215bhp at maximum attack. As for weight, with 50 litres of unleaded aboard, our test car tipped the scales at 1783kg, which, although far from shameful in this class and only moderately above the claimed minimum kerb weight of 1734kg, is still considerable. The resulting power-to-weight ratio of 124bhp per tonne is comparable with what you’d get with only the quicker mainline hatchbacks, such as the Seat Leon 2.0 TSI 190.

In GTE mode – a setting that unifies both power sources for maximum performance and is selected via a dedicated button on the transmission tunnel – our test car turned in a 0-60mph time of 7.1sec, which beats the manufacturer’s claim of 7.8sec to 62mph but is leisurely by the standards of rival mid-sized PHEVs. Step-off is at least crisp and the delivery of drive generally linear, helped by slick full-throttle upshifts from the six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, all of which makes the Arteon eHybrid an easygoing if unexciting performer.

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Of course, the Arteon eHybrid’s brand of everyday performance is more relevant and, in this area, the car is generally more compelling. The driveline defaults to EV mode when you start the car, and while gearshifts aren’t quite so smoothly executed when the gearbox is channelling torque from the electric motor alone, the Arteon eHybrid has good driveability as an EV. When more power is required, the engine fires up gracefully and starts to quietly contribute, with only the faintest disturbance in the delivery of drive.