Drive – Volkswagen Scirocco R Review

23 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – Volkswagen Scirocco R Review

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Cracker of an engine

Feels flat and stable

Excellent grip

Heaps of fun

Generic interior, but unique colours liven it up


Requires 98-octane premium unleaded

Poor rear vision

Headroom marginal

Suspension jolts into sharp bumps

When it comes to performance cars, there are two main schools of thought – buy a pure-bred sports car designed with one thing in mind, or a conventional car with go-fast gear such as a bigger engine.

More often than not the latter has won out, although we’re starting to see a resurgence of the pure-breds. Volkswagen’s Scirocco is like a hybrid of each. Underneath it’s a thoroughly sensible hatch.

But on top it gets its own body, which looks like an edgier Golf that’s been squashed into the bitumen.

Volkswagen has ”ummed and ahhed” about the Scirocco for years. But it eventually made its way Down Under, albeit at the expense of the three-door version of the Golf R.

Price and equipment

To some degree it’s about the look with the Scirocco, so things such as LED daytime running lights and more efficient bi-xenon headlights liven the design, as do the hulking 19-inch alloy wheels that fill the muscular wheel arches.


It’s also not lacking for gear inside, with Bluetooth, auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors and a detailed trip computer between the speedo and tacho. That helps justify the $47,490 price tag (plus on-road costs), which jumps to $49,990 if you option the six-speed auto.


There are also six airbags and stability control, although no spare tyre, with a repair kit and tyre-pressure sensors in its place.


A better sound system adds $1100 while sat-nav adds $2500.

Under the bonnet

The Scirocco gets Volkswagen’s well-spread 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, in this case in Golf R guise pumping out up to 188kW of power. Unlike the flagship Golf, though, power is sent to only the front wheels rather than all four.


Combined with the 330Nm of torque that steps in from just 2500rpm, there’s ample pull throughout the rev range. Even on a dry road or when easing on the power out of tight corners, the electronics can be kept busy containing the power (although they do a good job of it). In the wet it’s amplified.

Still, the Scirocco is a lively device and with the auto can sprint to 100km/h in a mere six seconds. Acceleration is helped by relatively short gearing in first, second and third (third is geared for a little over 100km/h) and you’re never left wanting for go.


The six-speed DSG twin-clutch automatic has the usual grizzles, with some unwanted grabbing in stop-start traffic. But otherwise it’s beautifully matched to the engine with superb shifts. Fuel use in everyday driving hovers around the 10 litres per 100 kilometres mark (it officially uses 8.2L/100km) but you’ll be feeding it the expensive 98-octane premium brew.

How it drives

Volkswagen is on a roll with the way its cars drive and the Scirocco is somewhere near the top of the tree in most facets. There’s supreme cornering grip teamed with excellent steering that delivers the right feedback to the driver while positioning the car nicely.


The body also sits impressively flat, so cornering feels confident and agile. Indeed agility is a Scirocco strong point, with plenty of adjustability to its nature and the sort of poise that has it working with you rather than against you. And in the right situation it’s a deceptively brisk hatch.


It’s not all good news, though, with the slinky 19-inch low-profile tyres protesting at the first sign of a sharp bump or corrugation. It shudders inelegantly straight into the cabin and can make a meal of B-grade roads. The suspension is adjustable between Comfort, Normal and Sport, with the Sport just adding to its bumpy-road woes.

Comfort and practicality

The Scirocco conforms to the Volkswagen family template of switches and dials, so there will be no wholesale surprises for anyone stepping out of a Golf. But there are some sparkles that enliven the cabin, such as the patterned silver strip that runs the width of the dash, or the restrained use of metallic-look finishes; instead of metal there are some shiny black highlights (around the air vents and the door grab handles, for example). The illumination used is also more radical, with touches of red interspersed with striking white dials and blue needles.


Headroom up front is only just OK and taller drivers might upset their hairdos on the roof. Vision isn’t great either, with a largish pillar either side of the windscreen and the slim side and rear windows creating a hemmed-in feel.


Rear vision is also obscured by the fixed headrests of the back bucket seats that promise the sports car feel, albeit without much headroom or legroom.

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