Downsizing? Not this time.

As downsizing takes a hold on the automotive industry, some argue the days of large-displacement engines are over. That may be true for the mainstream, but Volkswagen is bucking that trend by developing a brand-new VR6 engine.

The Wolfsburg-based company is putting the final touches on a 3.0-liter VR6. It will slot above the existing 2.5-liter unit, according to CarThrottle, meaning it's not being designed as its replacement. It makes 404 horsepower in some applications.

Volkswagen told the British publication it has already stuffed the new VR6 between the Arteon's fenders. It channels its output to the four wheels via a Haldex-type four-wheel drive system and, likely, a dual-clutch automatic transmission.

"I'm totally convinced that this combination is extremely nice. We've combined it with the last version of the Haldex where you can provoke a bit of oversteer. This is a real agile, powerful car. You can beat all the Porsche Panameras out of your way," said company spokesperson Martin Hube.

The 400-horsepower Arteon hasn't been confirmed for production yet. Hube suggested it won't land in the United Kingdom, but it's relatively safe to bet we'll see it here in the United States if it receives the proverbial green light for production.

Developing an engine is monstrously expensive. It's safe to assume Volkswagen didn't build a 3.0-liter VR6 just for an experimental variant of the Arteon. The six-cylinder will find its way to other models (including, possibly, the next-generation Touareg and -- why not? -- the Atlas) in the coming years.

Using "400 horsepower" and "Volkswagen" in the same sentence reminds us of another on-again, off-again model. Does anyone remember the Golf R 400 concept?

Photography by Ronan Glon.