Big impressive wagon with rakish looks and fine dynamics is easy to recommend
If not from the blue paint then by the rakish looks you will be able to tell that this is a fast Volkswagen. An Arteon estate, or Shooting Brake, as they prefer to call it, which is a big wagony thing that steals all the thunder of the Passat and, in its standard form, is a car I have a rather lot of time for.And in this colour, and with this stance, and on the 20in alloys pictured (19s are standard in the UK), this is the Arteon R. If you had to guess what this meant, because it’s a fast big VW you might take a punt on it having a tuned 2.0 EA888 engine like the one in the Golf R, mated to a dual clutch gearbox and driving all four wheels.And you’d be right. It’s basically the same drivetrain, with 316bhp and a seven speed ‘box and, although no more than 50% of the torque ever goes to the rear, up to 100% of that rearward torque can be diverted to an individual rear wheel, to tighten the car’s line particularly on the way out of a corner, to make it turn better and be more dynamically engaging. To an extent, anyway, but we’ll come to that.Inside, the Arteon R gets a few highlights to suggest that it’s sporty, such as mock carbon inserts, blue stitching, grippy seat trim and, on the overburdened infotainment, if you personalise your own drive mode you can pick from 15 different states for your dampers. Yes, that is too many.