The car we drove was in R-Line spec, but despite its proliferation of “R” badges, it was not any kind of sporting machine. While there is due to be an Arteon Shooting Brake R, this is not it. The top-spec car we drove was fitted with the 200PS (147kW), 400NM (295lb ft) four-cylinder diesel engine. A 2.0-litre turbocharged unit mated to a seven-speed DSG it means the Arteon is capable of hitting 62mph in a not un-sprightly 6.9 seconds and going on to 148mph.
Don’t expect anything particularly fun from the Arteon Shooting brake just yet. The power delivery from that diesel engine is fine, it’s smooth and torquey but nothing to light the world up, and its let down a little by a slightly dim-witted gearbox. The box is rapid on its shifts and perfect for using in manual mode – VW has made excellent DSGs for years now – but the software in automatic mode is really keen on holding onto gears. Our car seemed obsessed with third and fifth gears, to the point of holding on to fifth even when some sharp acceleration had requested, which resulted in a pretty leaden response. The ‘box means that throttle response is pretty stunted, but given it’s a cruiser it’s less important than ride comfort really, and there is a sport gearbox mode with slightly sharper responses if you really need. The Arteon’s front-wheel-drive nature does mean that if you shove your foot to the floor and summon all the torque there will be torque steer, and a slight scrabble from broken traction under a heavy request. It also means the back can feel skittish if pitched into a corner unladen, but that’s to be expected.
The Arteon’s key driving feature is its smoothness. That sluggish response and slow gearbox do mean that nothing the Arteon does is ever a jolt. The damping is also excellent, riding all but the very, very worst roads with almost unnerving ease for a car in this price range – honestly the Bentley Flying Spur struggles to be too much more composed. The steering is also light and easy and the ride on long journeys is excellent. Visibility is also excellent for such a big car (the Arteon Shooting Brake is just under 5m long).