KEITH WARD has a look at the latest Scirocco – but is it over the hill?
NOW into its fourth generation and with its 40th birthday behind it, the Scirocco is defiantly not over the hill in the UK, which is its largest market in Europe and its second biggest in the world, after China.
Built by VW in Portugal alongside the Eos coupe cabriolet and Sharan people carrier, the front-engined, front wheel drive Scirocco is named after a hot wind that blows from the Sahara. It’s shorter, lower and wider than the Golf.
Externally, the latest version is not radically different to before, except for new lights and re-shaped bumpers, front and rear. Daytime running lights, bi-xenon headlights and LED’s make their debut. The elegant coupe styling is recognisable from Sciroccos past. Only the rear three-quarter view of haunches over the rear wheel arches gives a hint of real power.
An 11-strong range starting at under £21,000 offers a choice of six upgraded and turbocharged petrol and diesel engines and four trim levels. All versions are brought up to date with a colour touchscreen infotainment system including DAB digital radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Sat-nav is reserved for upper trims.
The two rear seats are pretty generous by sports coupe standards and will take two average-sized adults, or they fold down to more than treble the cargo capacity to over 1,000 litres – again good for its class. To admit rear passengers, the front seats fold and slide and return to their original position,
The range-topping Scirocco R we drove tips over £34,000 in six-speed DSG automatic form. It is marked out by its own designer exterior styling kit, chrome-look cappings on the door mirrors, 19-inch alloys, black brake calipers showing an “R” logo and a colour multifunction trip computer. The driver sits low in a specially embossed black leather sports seat, behind a sawn-off steering wheel.
On the road the R is a reminder of what a graceful car the Scirocco is to drive, despite the power potential. It errs on the side of refinement rather than raw-boned thrills.
The turbocharged 2.0-litre TSI petrol unit is from the Golf R. It pushes out 280 PS to the front wheels without undue drama, to promise the 62 mph mark in 5.5 seconds and a theoretical 155 mph. Low down in the revs range around town there’s a hint of body boom, but after all maximum torque comes upwards of 2,500 rpm and maximum power at an ear-bashing 6,000 rpm.
On an open road, the R’s lowered sports suspension and choice of three suspension settings via its dynamic chassis control make for assured handling and smooth steering. Exclusive to the Scirocco R is XDS, an upgraded electronic limited slip differential to aid traction through quick corners. It also aims to counteract the understeer – swinging wide on corners – typical with front wheel drive.
Drive for enjoyment and fuel bills will mount – our car was showing just 25 mpg long-term, and an I-band CO2 rating means VED is £345 in the first year, £225 after that. Insurance is upper bracket, too.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
Model VW Scirocco R 2.0 TSI 280
Body 2-door, 4-seat sports coupe; length 4,248 mm; kerb wt 1,450 kg
Engine Petrol; 1,984 cc; 4-cyl; front wheel drive; 6-speed DSG auto; stop-start
Power 280 PS @ 6,000 rpm; max torque 258 lb ft @ 2,500-5,000 rpm
Pace 155 mph; 0-60 in 5.9 secs
MPG On test 25.0; official combined 35.8; tank 55 litres
CO2 185 g/km; band I; VED £345 then £225; BIK 30%
Insurance Group 39E
Warranty 3 yrs/60,000 miles; 3 yrs paint; 12 yrs body; 1 yr breakdown