What’s Hot: Cracking engine and chassis, racy interior
What’s Not: Mk VI Golf origins
X-FACTOR: Enormous fun on the road and with enough 'rarity factor' to turn heads
Vehicle Style: 3-door small sports hatch
Engine/trans: 188kW/330Nm 4cyl petrol | 6spd manual
Fuel Economy claimed: 8.0 l/100km | tested: not recorded
The Scirocco R is an all-too rare sight on Australian roads, and it has nothing to do with its qualities as a car.
It may be based on the older Golf V/VI platform, but it looks good, drives well and holds its own against the Renaultsport Megane.
Being an R model, VW has fitted it a with a firecracker turbocharged engine, tightened suspension with adaptive dampers, fat tyres and whopping brakes.
The 2015 facelift is, as is Volkswagen’s wont, very mild, but there's now a sharper, more masculine look with a clear link to the Golf VII.
Under the skin, things have barely changed. There wasn’t a lot of reason to do so.
It won’t be here for a while, though; early 2015. VW won’t even tell us the price, although you can bet it’ll be north of the current $47,990 starting point.
The carmaker did invite us to take it across some of the best roads in the country, though. So we did.
- Cloth and alcantara sports seats
- 6.5 inch screen with reversing cameras
- Trio of dash-mounted auxiliary dials
The arcing roof and upsweep of the window creates a darker cabin ambience.
The front buckets are generously-bolstered and covered in a dark mix of cloth and alcantara.
The stainless steel pedals and flat-bottomed steering wheel add to the sporty feel.
Boy racers now now get a trio of auxiliary dials perched on the dashboard displaying boost and temperature as well as a chronometer (or, “a clock”, if you will). Some people will find them a bit naff.
The two rear seats look suitably racy, with fixed headrests that mimic roll hoops and have considerable bolstering.
There’s a surprising amount of head and leg-room but it’s a little claustrophobic for some and the vision out the shallow rear window is almost laughable.
The interior’s materials are a little more variable than those found in the Golf, but never nasty or ill-fitting. The Scirocco is built with the care found in every other mainstream VW.
ON THE ROAD
- 188kw/330Nm 2.0 litre turbo
- Adaptive chassis and 19-inch wheels
- Six speed manual transmission
The Scirocco R is built for winding roads, and it devours them.
While it rides on massive 19-inch wheels, the adaptive suspension set to sport still maintains a perfectly bearable ride quality while you fire the missile between apexes.
With only the front wheels driven - as opposed to the all-wheel drive Golf R - there’s some work for the driver, but that’s not a bad thing at all.
The Scirocco can be driven on the throttle and, even in reasonably tight corners, can be left in third to let you concentrate on brakes and steering without having to shift gears.
The engine is tremendously flexible if lacking in drama and revs - it has baritone note on the outside from twin pipes but inside is eerily calm. Like its Audi cousins, you may occasionally find yourself bouncing off the limiter without realising it.
The steering is never too heavy and is geared just quickly enough to handle hairpins without your paws having to leave the wheel.
It has a fantastic change of direction and a huge amount of grip. Get to know it, and you can streak through S bends with quite astonishing confidence-inspring grip.
A good chunk of its abilities can be attributed to VW’s XDL front differential.
An extension of the ESP system, it helps tighten the line into corners by keeping an electronic eye on the inside wheel while also helping pull the car out of corners by making sure there’s no unwanted wheelspin.
When life doesn’t present the fun roads, the R is equally at home performing more mundane tasks such as trundling through town.
The light, easy manual shift (you can also have six-speed DSG) won’t trouble you and the ride is smoothed out in normal mode.
It’s hardly a family car, but you could do most things - the boot, while accessed through a small aperture, is reasonably large although you won’t be hosting any fridges or large stringed instruments.
ANCAP rating: Untested, although 5 Stars awarded in Europe.
Safety features: six airbags, ESP with traction control and stability control, ABS, hill start assist, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
With the absence of lower spec Sciroccos, you’re certain to stand out from the herd while giving plenty of cars a fright off the lights.
It’s got a very well-sorted chassis and, despite its age, still feels modern and fresh. The subtle facelift helps butch it up a bit, too.
We think the price won’t go up by too much from the current $47,990 but you are faced with a stark choice - Golf GTI (you could sneak in a Performance Pack at that price) or Scirocco.
If you don’t have (or don’t like your) kids, the R badge might be enough to tip you over the line.
Best thing is, no matter which you choose, you win.