The two performance versions of the executive cruiser set at the top of the range, for which prices currently stage from £35,435 and £37,640 respectively. Cheaper variants of each body type will be introduced later, but for now the price for the fastback marks a slight premium over the outgoing model. The new R-Line variant is priced from £38,255 in four-door form and £39,055 as a shooting brake.
Prices for the new plug-in eHybrid variant will be revealed at a later date.
The Arteon was launched in 2017 but has so far been offered in only a fastback bodystyle. The new Arteon Shooting Brake variant features a separate design from the B-pillars back, with an extended roofline, a tapered glasshouse, prominent haunches over the rear wheels and an angled tailgate.
Official figures show the Shooting Brake offers 565 litres of boot space (versus 563 litres in the fastback) and 1632 litres with the seats folded (1557 litres), but Volkswagen says that because the space above the beltline isn’t included in these measurements, the Shooting Brake’s load space is actually significantly larger.
The two R versions arrive as part of the continued range expansion of Volkswagen’s R performance division. They will use the fourth evolution of the company’s venerable EA288 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, producing 316bhp and 310lb ft, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and an updated version of the 4Motion four-wheel drive system.
A new R Performance torque vectoring system is said to have been inspired by similar systems on racing cars. It can bias up to 100% of the motor’s power output “within miliseconds” to either axle or any of the four wheels, making the Arteon “perceptively more agile”, Volkswagen claims. Torque distribution is determined by a combination of steering angle, accelerator input, lateral acceleration, yaw rate and speed.
The new Arteon eHybrid, available in both bodystyles, uses the plug-in hybrid powertrain from the Passat GTE: a 154bhp 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine with a 113bhp electric motor. The two units have a combined output of 215bhp, which is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The eHybrid offers an electric-only range of 33 miles and can operate in zero-emissions mode at speeds of up to 87mph.
There are also three turbo petrol and two diesel engines in the Arteon line-up. The petrols range from 187bhp to 276bhp, while the 148bhp and 197bhp diesels are fitted with an updated selective catalytic reduction (SCR) filter and a new AdBlue system that, Volkswagen claims, reduces NOx emissions by around 80%. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, with four-wheel drive offered across the range.
Unlike the new Golf, the Arteon isn’t available with mild-hybrid powertrains because it still sits atop the original-specification MQB platform. This means we’re unlikely to see mild-hybrid variants introduced until the second-generation model arrives.
The restyled Arteon receives a raft of design changes, including a new grille with a light band, revised LED headlights and a range of new alloy wheel designs ranging in diameter from 18in to 20in. There are four different styles: basic, Elegance, R-Line and R. The performance models feature typical R styling cues, including a beefed-up front bumper with large cooling ducts, blue-painted brake calipers, chrome exhaust pipes and 20in ‘performance’ alloys.
Inside, there’s a redesigned dashboard with a new upper section, a standard 10.25in digital instrument display, a new multifunction steering wheel and Volkswagen’s latest infotainment system, with a standard 8.0in or optional 9.2in touchscreen.