Back in late 2017, a Volkswagen executive confirmed the brand had built a 298 kW VR6-powered Arteon R prototype. The recently revealed production model, however, uses VW’s familiar 2,0-litre, four-cylinder instead. So, why the chance of heart?

Well, Martin Hube, VW’s spokesperson for the mid-size/full-size product line and the same executive mentioned above, suggested to Car Throttle there was more than one reason the turbocharged 3,0-litre VR6 didn’t get the nod.

“We can’t talk maybe daily about our way to zero [emissions] on the one hand, on the other hand, we come up with a VR6 turbo engine,” Hube said, according to the British publication.

“We had a couple of cars prepared with the VR6 TSI engine and we had several cars with the four-cylinder engine.

“The decision was quite clear after we had driven the cars because we invested so much in the torque splitter at the rear of the car to make it as agile as possible,” he said, explaining the heavier VR6 would “counteract” this.

Interestingly, Hube also said Audi’s turbocharged 2,5-litre five-cylinder would have been “a bad idea” too, since “the long, heavy crank is rotating like a gyroscope”.

“The best choice is a lightweight and powerful four-cylinder. High torque at low r/min, and best in CO2. This is the target in our days,” he said.

While the Wolfsburg-based firm has yet to drop full technical details of the fresh-faced Arteon R, it has confirmed the flagship model will offer 235 kW from its EA888 engine.

The R-badged Arteon was revealed alongside a new wagon body style introduced with the Arteon’s mid-cycle update. We should point out, of course, VW South Africa in May 2020 confirmed to CARmag.co.za the Arteon had been discontinued locally. The company furthermore said the facelifted version of the sleeky styled fastback would “not be making its way to South Africa”.