New 2021 Volkswagen Arteon R on sale now from £51,615

Volkswagen Arteon R shares its 316bhp powertrain with the Golf R and is available as either a liftback or Shooting Brake estate

The new Volkswagen Arteon R is available to order now. Prices start from £51,615 for the fastback and £52,435 for the Shooting Brake estate, with both models sporting a host of cosmetic tweaks over the standard Arteon

Both variants have 316bhp and 420Nm of torque thanks to the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine fitted to the Golf R hot hatchback. The unit sends drive to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, and the Shooting Brake and fastback both sprint from 0–62mph in 4.9 seconds, while top speed is an electronically limited 155mph.

Like the Golf R, the Arteon R’s four-wheel-drive system features Volkswagen’s R-Performance torque vectoring system, which can not only share power between the front and rear axles, but also between individual rear wheels. Up to 50 percent of the engine’s power can be sent rearwards, and all of that torque can be directed to the outside rear wheel when cornering, which the brand says “virtually eliminates understeer.”

Other chassis upgrades over the standard Arteon include larger brake discs, bigger R-branded calipers, an electronic locking differential, adaptive dampers and Volkswagen’s customizable Dynamic Chassis Control driving modes.

The Arteon R also comes with a range of styling tweaks, designed to mark it out as the flagship variant in the car’s line-up. Upgrades include 19-inch alloy wheels, a redesigned front bumper (which shares the same air intakes as the Golf R), a new radiator grille, privacy glass, a fresh rear diffuser and a quad-exit exhaust system.

Inside, buyers get a pair of electrically adjustable and massaging Nappa-leather sports seats, stainless-steel pedals and a new heated leather steering wheel with larger shift paddles and capacitive buttons to control the car’s driving modes.

Three-zone climate control also comes as standard, along with a 30-colour customisable ambient lighting system, a panoramic sunroof, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a 9.2-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Optional extras include larger 20-inch alloy wheels (£565), a head-up display (£530) and a 10-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo (£1,235). The latter option has a 16-channel digital amplifier, and a subwoofer mounted in the boot.

There’s a decent amount of standard safety equipment too, including lane-changing assist, rear cross-traffic alert, a rear-view camera and Volkswagen’s Travel Assist driving tech, which allows the Arteon R to assume control of its steering, brakes and throttle on the motorway with the driver’s supervision.

Now read our long-term report on the Volkswagen Arteon R-Line

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