New top-shelf Arteon caught performance testing on the track, looks ready to join refreshed line-up.
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Volkswagen’s upcoming Arteon R has left the snow-covered roads of Sweden and begun testing on Germany’s iconic Nurburgring racetrack.

The latest prototype caught by our spy photography partners wears similar levels of camouflage to the example snapped in Scandinavia in February, merely sporting some deceptive tape and white panelling to cover badges, trim pieces and alter the appearance of the front air intakes and rear bumper.

Key differentiators over the current 206TSI R-Line include larger pentagonal air intakes and a fractionally-deeper splitter up front, along with a subtle black lip spoiler at the rear.

However, it’s the blue brake calipers and quad exhaust outlets – both key Volkswagen R design cues – that suggest we are indeed looking at the flagship R, not a top-trim, regular version of the facelifted Arteon.

The spied car rides lower, though the existing R-Line’s 20-inch ‘Rosario’ grey alloy wheels still feature – we’d assume they would be swapped out for a more aggressive, unique set for the production model.

Mystery still shrouds what will power the hi-po Arteon. The most likely option is a tuned-up version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the bonnet of the upcoming Mk8 Golf R, which a leaked presentation from January suggested could develop up to 245kW.

Alternatively, rumours suggest the fast four-door could seek power from a new 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged VR6 – potentially based on the 220kW 2.5-litre turbo VR6 utilised by China’s MQB-based Teramont SUV – producing 400 metric horsepower (294kW).

Either way, it’s highly likely the hot Arteon will drive all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission – with no manual on offer – and a front-biased 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

The Volkswagen Arteon R is rumoured to make its official debut in mid-2020 – alongside a mild facelift for the rest of the range – ahead of a European launch in late 2020 or early 2021 as a 2021 model.

If and when the go-fast liftback will hit Australian shores is unknown, though the regular, 206kW Arteon will return Down Under later in 2020, after being taken off sale earlier this year.