I've always had a soft spot for VeeDubs, ever since my Beetle days. The old Beetle that is, not the new fangled contraption. I had a '76, the very last model they sold here. The money I poured into that car . . .
Learned to drive on a Beetle too, not that one but that's another story. It's not surprising I fell in love with the gorgeous Scirocco the first time I laid eyes on one. That was overseas somewhere, probably in Germany and I've had a hankering for one ever since. "When's it coming here?" I kept badgering Volkswagen. I even managed to corner the then manager of Volkswagen Australia Jutta Dierks in a car one day driving through Germany and boy she copped an ear full.
The problem was, she explained, dealing with head office and getting the car in the exactly right specification, so it wouldn't upset VW's best selling Golf GTI. After months, no years of asking, my dream came true in 2011 when VW announced the Scirocco was finally coming here. It's ironic that it took me almost 12 months to get around to driving one?
In terms of price, Scirocco sits between the Golf GTI and Golf R, priced from $47,990 $2500 less than the R and $7000 more than the GTi. The big gap between the GTI and Scirocco leaves some headroom for special editions like the recent GTI Edition 35 that also featured a more potent engine.
Performane wise, the Scirocco also sits somewhere between the GTI and Golf R, with the latter's more powerful 188kW/330Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged engine (but not all-wheel drive). That is not necessarily a bad thing, because it makes the car lighter and more agile, with an adaptive chassis as standard equipment.
The XDL (Extended Electronic Differential Lock) from the GTI provides maximum traction and generates plenty of fun through corners. It's no mistake that you can no longer buy a three-door Golf R either the three door/four-seat Scirocco is designed to fill that role. The choices are 6-speed manual or 6-speed DSG for $2500 extra. Ours was the DSG - beggars can't be choosers.
Even though this car is a few years old, it still looks as fresh as a daisy. The sweeping feline curves turn the Golf, for in reality it's still a Golf underneath, into one of the world's more desirable coupes. It will be interesting to see where the stylemeisters from Wolfsburg take the car next?
As the benchmark for Euro hatches you'd have to include VW's own GTI regardless of what they think. Focus ST is also in there as is the Megane RS and soon to be released Opel Astra OPC the latter promises 206kW. You'd also have to include the ubiquitous WRX and its long time sparring partner the EVO. What the Scirocco brings to the equation besides performance and does so with plenitude is style.
Renault's Megane RS265, itself a super stylish hatch, takes the cake for performance in our estimation. The Scirocco lacks the Megane' razor edge, but is a more comfortable day to day proposition. That's not to take anything away from its performance, because it goes hard too and sits flat in corners, just as you'd expect with a wheel at each corner.
The DSG might be quicker, but we reckon the manual is more fun to drive. In terms of fuel economy we were getting 12.8 litres/100km and it takes premium.
Where do I sign? Bugger the fact it’s a bit long in the tooth, it still ticks all the boxes as far as this fan boy is concerned.
Volkswagen Scirocco R
Price: from $47,490
Warranty: 3 years/100,000 km
Safety rating: five star
Engine: 2-litre 4-cyl turbo-petrol 188kW/330Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto Dual-clutch; 6-speed manual; FWD
Body: 4.3m (L); 1.8m (w); 1.4m (h)
Thirst: 8.1 1/100km; 95RON; 189g/km Co2
Renault Megane RS265
Price: from $42,640
Engine: 2-litre, 4-cyl turbo-petrol, 195kW/360Nm
Transmission: 6-spd manual, FWD
Thirst: 8.2L/100km; 190g/km CO2
Price: from $54,990
Engine: 1.6-litre, 4-cyl turbo-petrol, 147kW/275Nm
Transmission: 6-spd manual, front drive
Thirst: 6.9L/100km; 95RON; CO2 159g/km
Volvo C30 T5 R-Design
Engine: 2.5-litre, 5-cyl turbo-petrol, 169kW/320Nm
Transmission: 6-spd manual, front drive
Thirst: 8.7L/100km; 95RON; CO2 208g/km