As regulars of the estate car niche will know, there are estate cars and estate cars: and a shooting brake can be a very special estate car indeed. Volkswagen bolstered the showroom fortunes of its ailing flagship four-door coupe, the Arteon, by adding a shooting brake version as part of the last facelift – and it’s turned what used to be quite a good-looking car into something really quite alluring.
The Arteon was a surprisingly roomy car already, and an extended roofline improves accessibility to the car’s load bay as well as increasing its volume. This is a car that’s fit for two rows of adult passengers and plenty of luggage, and that also has a quietly plush and upmarket, although not an overbearingly luxurious cabin.
Four-cylinder engines of both the petrol and diesel variety, producing between 148- and 197bhp, are available, as well as a 215bhp ‘eHybrid’ PHEV that can be had from a whisker over £40,000 and that might appeal to fleet drivers. Meanwhile the range-topping, 316bhp Arteon R, with its all-paw Golf R powertrain, might well tempt a few keener drivers looking for a handsome and distinctive but alternative performance wagon.
Audi might have diversified its range to include superminis and a mid-engined supercar, but a four-wheel-drive mid-sized executive estate, preferably powered by an effortlessly smooth-spinning diesel V6, exemplifies what the brand is about.
And although a BMW 5 Series will better reward its driver every day of the week, in terms of mechanical refinement, technological sophistication and percieved cabin quality, the Audi pips its compatriot. Along with luggage capacity to spare, this car delivers the authentic Audi experience.