Volkswagen enthusiasts know this isn’t the first Scirocco and, for a while, the latest all-new version wasn’t a guaranteed starter in Australia. Fortunately Volkswagen Group Australia was able to secure supply of the stylish sports coupe and enthusiasts reckon it’s been worth the wait.
Well that’s understandable – we’re talking about the company responsible for the Golf R and GTI so there was never any doubt the all-new Scirocco R was going to press the right buttons for coupe buyers. A stand-alone model - not a ‘glammed-up’ Golf – the Volkswagen Scirocco is a ‘must-consider’ for fans of European sports coupes.
Volkswagen Scirocco R Overview
Volkswagen Group Australia kept things simple with the Scirocco – one comprehensively-equipped model grade ‘R’ priced at $47,490 (six-speed manual) and $49,990 (six-speed automatic). Car Showroom tested the manual version.
Specification levels are impressive in the typical Volkswagen way – for example, the driveline boasts the German giant’s understeer-reducing ‘Extended Electronic Differential Lock’ (XDL) and ‘Adaptive Chassis Control’, while inside there’s nice, heated sports seats and the usual Volkswagen thick, flat-bottom three-spoke sports steering wheel.
Volkswagen Scirocco R Engine
Volkswagen Scirocco R shares its 2.0-litre TSI engine with the sporty Golf R. In ‘Volkswagen-Speak’, that designation means a turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine.
For the Golf R and Scirocco R application, the intercooled turbocharger can deliver boost up to 1.2 bar pressure and to cope, pistons and conrods are stronger and the block is reinforced.
Maximum power is 188kW at 6000rpm, peak torque of 330Nm is available between 2500rpm and 5000rpm and in six-speed manual form as tested the Volkswagen Scirocco R accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds. Fuel consumption is rated at 8.1l/100kms.
A couple of quick comparisons: Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ deliver 147kW/205Nm from that naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre boxer engine while Renault’s stunning new Megane R.S. 265 trumps them all with 195kW/360Nm from its turbocharged 2.0-litre powerplant.
Volkswagen Scirocco R The Interior
While the Volkswagen Scirocco R’s dashboard and instrumentation show clear lineage to the Golf, the feel behind the wheel is definitely sports coupe, not hatchback. In fact, apart from the dashboard, the sporty coupe’s interior is all stylish curves and up-scale materials.
Of course there are Volkswagen ‘R’ (the company’s high-performance division) logos and the hallmark black/grey colour palette for the excellent sports seats up-front. That sports seat combines with nice alloy pedals and height/reach adjustment for the steering wheel to deliver the usual Volkswagen top-shelf driving position.
Offsetting all that black/grey are stylish aluminium inserts and instruments with white background and blue pointers.
Audio is Volkswagen’s RCD510’ system – a six-disc CD, eight-speaker, 6.5-inch touch-screen set-up familiar from other Volkswagen models.
Rear seat accommodation is on-par with other sports coupes and luggage space is impressive at 312-litres with the rear seat in-place, growing to 1006-litres with the seat folded flat. With a 50-50 split-fold for the rear seat, the Volkswagen Scirocco R passed our ‘golf club test’.
Volkswagen Scirocco R Exterior & Styling
In creating the all-new, third generation Scirocco R, Volkswagen’s stylists had a tough act to follow – the very first Scirocco was penned by Italian styling guru Giorgio Giugiaro. With the latest version, the first aspects to catch your eye are the wide rear three-quarters and the matching thick C-pillars.
Thus endowed with a purposeful on-road presence, the Volkswagen Scirocco R delivers a unique style which, almost 12 months since local launch, still has passers-by pointing.
Up-front the Volkswagen Scirocco R looks racy with a narrow grille in gloss black, three large air intakes and Volkswagen’s usual excellent LED DRLs.
Side profile is dominated by the swooping roof-line, rising rear windows, bulbous rear haunches, side-skirts, black-painted brake calipers and five twin-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels.
At the rear, Volkswagen Scirocco R really stands-out with the dropped roof-line, roof spoiler and glossy black ‘R’ diffuser. Smoke-tinted tail-lights and oval exhausts add an upmarket look.
Volkswagen Scirocco R On The Road
So we have the same powertrain as the potent Volkswagen Golf R (188kW/330Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre with the six-speed manual transmission) in a car which, at 1351kgs, is 125kgs lighter. You’re thinking that sounds like a recipe for fun?
And you’re correct.
Although just a smidge slower zero to 100km/h (6.1 seconds for the Scirocco to 5.9 seconds for the Golf), Volkswagen’s stylish coupe is a projectile make no mistake. And that acceleration – accompanied by a glorious growl from the exhausts - is harnessed by the superb electronic limited slip differential to deliver the top-shelf driving dynamics we love from the Germans.
Just like the Golf R, over our high-speed mountain roads test loop, the Volkswagen Scirocco R had us reminiscing about visits to the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) races with machine gun-like snappy gear changes accompanied by pops and crackles from the exhausts. And just like the Golf R, in Volkswagen’s stylish coupe you get precise turn-in, sensational mid-turn balance and rapid acceleration…all helped by that smart differential technology.
Of course the ride is typically firm in the German way, but as we expect from Volkswagen, refinement levels are top-shelf with little wind-noise, tyre roar, bodyshell or steering shakes.
Around town, the Volkswagen Scirocco R attracts plenty of lookers so the pressure mounts when you reverse-park. Rear three-quarter vision is a tad restricted, but parking sensors (rear only) and a handy 11.0-metre turning circle turns the odds in your favour.
Volkswagen Scirocco R Challenges
Volkswagen has mastered sharing components across its other brands – Audi, Skoda, Seat and even Bentley. Given the Scirocco’s breathtaking looks we thought there was just a bit too much ‘Golf’ in the dashboard/instruments.
Volkswagen Scirocco R Verdict
Some days are ‘gold’ and some days are ‘dud’ and the day we returned our Scirocco R to Volkswagen was definitely one of the latter. File this one under ‘A’ for awesome.
For starters Volkswagen has nailed the styling – a harmonious mix of ‘performance-edgy’ and ‘stylish upmarket’ if you will.
Performance drivers can tick the driving dynamics box too. That turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, slick six-speeder and handily tuned chassis brought smiles wherever we drove.
And at $47,490 for the Scirocco R manual we tested, Volkswagen has certainly raised the flag in the value-for-money stakes.
Volkswagen Scirocco R The Competition
Renault’s latest Megane R.S. 265 is simply outstanding. Priced from $42,640 to $51,640 the French flyer is a tad more motorsport-edgy than the Volkswagen Scirocco R but you’ll be happy with either so toss that coin.
Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a great drive and is handily priced at $31,990 (manual) and $33,990 (automatic) but its 150kW/265Nm is both a fair way short of the Volkswagen Scirocco R’s 188kW/330Nm.
And you’ll need $68,640 for Nissan’s red-hot 370Z – but the raucous 3.5-litre atmo V6 is good for 245kW/363Nm.