New 2022 Volkswagen Arteon R Shooting Brake review

Rory White

14 Sep 2021

1/9
The sexiest Volkswagen on sale gets the 'R' treatment, but does it provide the laughs to match the looks? We've been driving the Arteon R Shooting Brake on UK roads to find out.

PROS:

+ Those looks

+ Fantastic engine

+ Space inside


CONS:

- Firm suspension

- Stingy infotainment

- Price


Verdict: No other VW looks this good, and the R treatment results in a fast and fun experience too. Bear in mind that the Arteon R Shooting Brake feels firm, though, and is relatively expensive to both buy and fuel.


2022 Volkswagen Arteon R Shooting Brake review: the five-minute read


If you're driving a Volkswagen Arteon, you quickly get used to people asking what it is, followed by their amazement at the badge on the bonnet. After all, it's fair to say that VW's latest range is otherwise by-and-large beige when it comes to looks.


In its sleek estate form, the Volkswagen Arteon R Shooting Brake is perhaps the cream of the crop. It's essentially a Passat Estate that's been hanging around with the cool kids at school, and you'll find it by the bike sheds with a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 320hp.


As such, it's an option if you're also considering an Audi S4 Avant, BMW M340i Touring or upcoming Mercedes-AMG C53 Estate – which is yet to be revealed.



Looks are subjective, but it's difficult to argue the Arteon isn't the most stylish of the lot, especially in R Shooting Brake flavour. It has a striking grille with daytime running lights that flick up at each end but are joined by a light bar through the centre. Its clamshell-like bonnet, sloping roofline and pinched rear end work to create a more flowing form than its competitors manage.


Inside it's all very Passat, but there are some tweaks. There's a set of figure-hugging R sports seats with integrated headrests for starters, plus VW's latest R sports steering wheel and fake carbon fibre trim inserts on the dash. BMW and Audi do it better, but it's nevertheless an attractive and solidly constructed cabin.


It's also disappointing that VW doesn't include its top-level 9.2-inch infotainment system on this expensive car. Instead, you get a smaller 8.0-inch screen, but at least you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, plus a set of crisp and configurable digital driver's dials to go with it. Even so, BMW's iDrive is a better system as standard.


You get a more spacious cabin than the others, though. There's loads of room for four tall adults inside and three adults sat across the rear seats won't be too uncomfortable, either. Plus, despite its Shooting Brake shape, the Arteon's boot doesn't disgrace itself, offering more than enough room for a family week away.



Volkswagen has chosen its superb turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine to power the Arteon R. It produces 320hp and 420Nm, and via all-wheel drive, a slick seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and launch control will propel the Arteon R Shooting Brake to 62mph from a standstill in just 4.9 seconds.


The Arteon R steers crisply and thanks to a trick AWD and torque vectoring is genuine fun on the right road. It's grippy rather than playful but will provide all-season point and shoot prowess in its most focused driving mode. Just expect the fuel economy to take a hammering if you do – think less than 20mpg. Also expect to have even more fun in the 3 Series Touring.


Dialled back to Comfort mode and cruising on the motorway and we saw 34mpg from the Arteon R, but its sporty suspension and our car's optional larger 20-inch alloys made it firm at all times, but especially at lower speeds around town. We experience quite a bit of road noise at speed too, so stick with the standard 19-inch alloys for a comfier time.


The final black mark for the Arteon R Shooting brake is its price – it'll cost you more than the BMW or Audi for what to many is a lesser badge. Still, it's close enough that the right finance deal may make it worthwhile, and the Arteon has enough going for it elsewhere to make it a sound choice regardless.


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Extended read…


2022 Volkswagen Arteon R Shooting Brake interior and infotainment


Step inside an Arteon and you'll notice more than a few Passat bits and pieces, but there are some tweaks, and especially for this R model.


There's a set of figure-hugging R sports seats with integrated headrests for starters, plus VW's latest R sports steering wheel and fake carbon fibre trim inserts on the dash. Ultimately BMW and Audi do it better, but it's nevertheless an attractive and solidly constructed cabin.


However, it's disappointing that VW doesn't include its top-level 9.2-inch infotainment system on this expensive car. Instead, you get a smaller 8.0-inch screen, but at least you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, plus a set of crisp and configurable digital driver's dials to go with it.


The central screen is bright and responsive and the menus are generally easy to follow, although VW's liberal use of touch-sensitive buttons are a bit of a pain to use while driving, especially those on the multi-function steering wheel. Unfortunately, BMW's iDrive is the more rounded infotainment system, even in its standard form.


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2022 Volkswagen Arteon R Shooting Brake practicality and boot space


Based on the Passat, the Arteon gets a very spacious cabin that even with those sleek looks outdoes the cabins in the BMW 3 Series Touring and Audi A4 Avant.


There's loads of room for four tall adults inside and three adults sat across the rear seats won't be too uncomfortable, either. Getting child seats inside is also easy work thanks to the wide-opening doors and easy to find Isofix points on the outside rear seats.


And, despite its Shooting Brake shape, the Arteon's 563-litre boot doesn't disgrace itself, offering more than enough room for a family week away. A Passats is around 15% bigger, but the Arteon is a fair bit bigger than the equivalent Audi or BMW's.


2022 Volkswagen Arteon R Shooting Brake engine


Volkswagen has chosen its superb turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine to power the Arteon R – the same you'll find in the Golf R and Tiguan R models too.


It produces 320hp and 420Nm, and via all-wheel drive, a slick seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and launch control will propel the Arteon R Shooting Brake to 62mph from a standstill in just 4.9 seconds.


It revs extremely smoothly and makes pleasant noise in the right driving mode, although much of this is fake in the cabin.


The Arteon R's engine is savagely strong, but push the Arteon R hard and you can expect it to get thirsty – think easily less than 20mpg most of the time. However, take things easy and we saw 34mpg at a cruise on the motorway.


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2022 Volkswagen Arteon R Shooting Brake driving


The Arteon R steers crisply and thanks to a trick AWD and torque vectoring (that brakes the inside wheel to provide sharper turning) is genuine fun on the right road. It's all grippy rather than playful but will provide all-season point and shoot prowess in its most focused driving mode.


That said, don't expect quite the same thrills as in the smaller, lighter Golf R, especially given that car can be optioned with a drift mode where the Arteon cannot.


That most focused driving mode, by the way, is Race, but you are able to fine-tune your steering, throttle, gearbox and suspension to your taste in Individual mode too.


The trouble is, that even in Comfort mode, the R's sporty suspension and in particular our test car's optional larger 20-inch alloy wheels made it feel firm most of the time, but especially at lower speed in town.


We also found that there was quite a bit of road noise at higher speeds on the motorway, so we'd suggest sticking to the smaller 19-inch alloys unless you're happy to put up with this.



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Rory White

14 Sep 2021