Sleek as it is, the Volkswagen Arteon hasn’t offered concrete indication of a full-on, flag-bearing ‘R’ version, until now. Seen here running cold-weather tests for the first time, the Arteon R has been said to be earmarked for a new 3.0 litre turbocharged V6 that has been in development from 2017.

This narrow-angle V6 engine currently under development is said to produce 404 hp, and has been mated to the company’s Haldex all-wheel-drive system which enables the driver to provoke oversteer, Volkswagen product line spokesperson Martin Hube said at the time. This driveline layout will likely include a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The two-a-side tailpipe layout is typical of present R models such as the Golf R (both the forthcoming Mk8 as well as the Mk7 Golf R), though instead of the oval units on the hot hatch, the development car here sports a set of rather more squared-off units, like those on previous Mercedes-AMG models.

Appearing here to be mostly shorn of camouflage, the Arteon R development vehicle here still wears some concealing tape that is meant to hide visual updates that will also come as part of a minor update for the rest of the Arteon range around the time this top performance version makes its debut, according to our spy photographer source.

Here, the Arteon R is identified by its deeper front bumper with larger air intakes, while larger drilled brake discs on the front axle are paired with ‘R’ signature blue calipers. At the back, a mild spoiler lip is fitted atop the bootlid, while the rear bumper gets a diffuser in between the quad exhaust pipe arrangement.

The top Arteon is likely to receive a bespoke suspension tune to cope with the added performance, along with an ‘R’ specific wheel-and tyre combination. More of what the Arteon R will look like will become apparent in the coming months, and its debut is expected around the middle of this year as a 2021 model.