VW Scirocco R 2.0TSI21 | 04 | 2011Scotcars rating

    VW injects its Scirocco R with more pace and panache to create a smile-inducing belter


    The Scirocco is the sports coupe from Volkswagen, and my goodness this one is certainly hot — it’s the R version, the most technically advanced and fastest production coupe VW has ever produced. The first Scirocco appeared in 1977 and led to the development of a new range of VW models, including the original Golf. Alongside the Golf GTi, the original hot Scirocco, the Storm, used a fast revving 1.6-litre which developed what at the time was a substantial 110bhp of power channelled through the front wheels via a five-speed gearbox. Better brakes, springs and dampers made it a great performer in its day.

    The new Scirocco R follows that principle and is considerably different from the base model on which it is built. It’s got a new 2.0TSI engine, a new front differential lock, braking system, gearbox, springs and dampers … and yet from the outside there’s only a subtle R on the boot lid to give away any of the secrets that lie beneath. It’s also marginally shorter and lower and in the case of the test car can come in a particularly bilious colour of Viper Green, in which I felt only slightly less conspicuous than if I’d had a flashing neon sign installed on the roof.  

    On the road

    I gave the car a great run down the A74 and M6 to spend a few days in the Lake District, which like most of Scotland was still suffering the legacy of the harsh winter with roads pitted by some cavernous potholes. I found myself altering the suspension setting from the ‘normal’ position, not to the more familiar ‘sport’ but to ‘comfort’ to try to soften some of the ruts and bumps. With more than double the power of the original version it not only performs brilliantly, but also sounds fantastic with a great burble from the two large chrome tipped exhausts at the back end. Through all six gears, it has a great response and just wants to get up and go at every opportunity.

    Over narrow single track roads in open countryside north of Kendal, it grew an extra pair of legs and felt solid as a rock with the adaptive chassis control sensing the changing road conditions and the driving attitude. The power steering system also analyses changing situations to be firm and direct when driving hard or effortless when parking. It can even compensate for crosswinds and steep road cambers and the end result is a stunning drive, whatever the conditions.

    Comfort & Safety

    The overall feel is tough and firm and the sport seats certainly hold you in position, however you drive. I found the two-and-a-half hour non-stop drive back north a delight but my troublesome back was a touch stiff when I finally emerged back in Glasgow, but that may say more about my back than the quality of the seats. The boot is a useful size and can easily accommodate a couple of big bags and associated clutter for a few days away. It is a four-seater, although it’s a wee bit limited for a full size adult in the back. The roof line is low and I regularly bumped my head on the door frame getting in behind the wheel. All the controls are simple and effective and there is some subtle lighting around the cabin, even down in the footwell, so you can check you’ve got the correct feet on the respective pedals if you lose the feeling in your toes.

    The reversing sensor was crucial as the rear view is limited and without it, I’m sure the rear panels would have come a cropper. Fuel consumption was quite heavy when driven enthusiastically but keeping to the speed limit on the A74 I was able to average just over 30mpg. I really enjoyed my time with the car but this level of performance and engineering quality isn’t cheap so you’ve got to decide if £30k is a price worth paying for some sporty fun on the road.  

    Should you buy one?

    Superb engineering and lively performance … but at a price.

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    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £29,485 / £32,360
    Engine / Power: 1984cc / 263bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 6secs, Max 155mph
    How big/heavy?: H1394mm, W2080mm, L4248mm / 1419kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 34.9mpg / CO2 189g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 34E / Band J £235
    Alternatives: Nissan 370Z; Mercedes SLK; Lexus IS250; Peugeot RCZ

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