With superb styling and potent performance, wheelworldreviews Editor DAVID HOOPER says the Scirocco R is a class act.
WHAT a cracking little car Volkswagen’s Scirocco is. It’s a real head turner, as I found out when I drove one of the first of the new models a few months ago, but now VW has upped the game, and unleased its firebreathing “R” version.
Sill a relatively rare sight, I soon realised it’s head-turning abilities are undiminished, but this range-topping model comes with a more ferocious sound track that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you turn the key in the ignition for the first time.
For years, its sister car, the Golf R, which has now dropped its six-cylinder power plant and shares the Scirocco’s four-pot engine, has had it all its own way, but now the Scirocco offers a beautifully styled alternative, which if you can live with two doors, still offers four seats and a usable boot – and comes with looks to die for.
My test car was finished in the striking Viper Green metallic, so this Top Gun is certainly no shrinking violet, especially when it comes to the performance stakes. Packing a 265PS punch from its 2.0-litre engine, it will blow away the benchmark 0-62mph dash in a mere six seconds dead, and easily blast its way to 155mph on the test track, which is pretty impressive stuff.
Equally impressive is the way the car copes with this huge amount of power going through its front wheels. While they can lose their grip on the road under hard acceleration, the traction control system soon sorts things out in a smooth manner, with the driver hardly being aware of a problem unless you are eagle-eyed enough to spot the flashing orange symbol on the dashboard amid all the excitement.
Feed the power in progressively though, and the Scirocco R will reward you with very rapid acceleration, and the ability to zip past A-road traffic with ease. For a car with such sporting potential, VW has done a good job on the its set-up, with the ride quality being firm, as you would expect, but not at all jarring. The “R” soaks up the worst of the bumps and pot holes without loosening the driver’s fillings, which is something not all manufacturers manage to achieve with their sporting models.
I took the car to an event at Silverstone, and couldn’t resist taking some pictures of it with the new pit and paddock complex which is currently under construction in the background. I would have loved to have done a couple of laps on the circuit, but unfortunately, that wasn’t an option, but for those who enjoy their track days, the Scirocco R would be quick enough to mix it with most road cars and put in some strong lap times.
Sitting 10mm lower on its sports suspension than the standard model, the Scirocco R features an XDS system, an electronically controlled differential to you and I, which helps it get the power down. It is also equipped with VW’s adaptive chassis control system, which allows the driver to choose between Sport, Normal and Comfort suspension settings.
The “R” isn’t a stripped out racer though, far from it. It comes with all the mod cons, but then with an asking price of £28,505, so it should. Climate control, automatic rain sensing wipers, lights and dimming rear view mirror, a six-disc CD changer and MP3 connectivity are all included, and my test car was fitted with a touch-screen navigation system, a 30-gig hard drive and a multifunction computer, which added £1,295. Another nice option, was the panoramic sunroof at £690 – the contrast of the darkened glass with the bright green paintwork worked well.
I loved the car’s interior, sporting, without being brash. The needles on the dials are blue and discreet “R” badges on the kick plates when you open the doors, the bottom of the steering wheel, and above the glove box on smart silver trim, remind of you of just how special this car is.
With all this performance on tap, you could be forgiven for thinking the Scirocco R has a big thirst, but you might be surprised to learn that according to the official figures, it is capable of up to 45.6mpg on the extra urban cycle. In real world conditions, I achieved around 29mpg on my trip to Silverstone and back. Its C02 emissions are 189g/km.
The Scirocco R then, is a great looking car which is as good to drive as it is to look at, and one which offers a practical alternative to the ever-popular sporting Golfs.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Volkswagen Scirocco R 2.0 TSI.
SCIROCCO RANGE: From 1.4 TSI (122ps) (£18,860) to R 2.0 TSI (£28,505).
ENGINE: 1984cc, 265PS four-cylinder engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 189g/km.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 155mph. 0-62mph in 6 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 25.0mpg.
Fuel tank: 55 litres.
INSURANCE: Group 34.
WARRANTY: 3 years/60,000 miles.