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The Top Gear car review: Volkswagen Scirocco
For:Good-looking, well-built and well-sorted coupe with power and classless appeal
Against:It's a Golf GTI underneath, rear space is compromised
2.0 TSI BlueMotion Tech R Line 3dr
Same old from Volkswagen: fast and predictable, but bettered for raw thrills by everything else.
Range-topping coupe gets extra power, but remains front-wheel drive. Can it get close to the Golf R?
Superb engine which suits the car, but not quite as slick as the 2.0-litre (or 1.4) petrol units. Close, though.
Not quite as sparkling as the petrol version, but still a brilliant, desirable coupe. Besides, it’s cheaper, which means everyone should buy one.
What we say:
It's been said the Scirocco is a tarted up Golf GTI. Possibly. Doesn't stop it being awesome, though
What is it?
Some say it is an icon reborn. Others, that it is Volkswagen shamelessly pillaging its back catalogue. A couple even postulate it is simply a Golf GTI in a little black dress.
Whatever. It’s ruddy good, is what it is. The Scirocco retains the funky spirit of the original but blends this with modern practicality and driving satisfaction. Indeed, Volkswagen has now enhanced this with the facelifted model, adding further polish to the package.
Essentially, you get three engines – a 1.4-litre and 2.0-litre petrol, and a 2.0-litre diesel – in various guises. The smaller four-pot is available in lively 125bhp guise, while the cooking 2.0-litre turbocharged TSI offer either 180bhp (replacing the old 160bhp 1.4) or a meaty 220bhp - the latter with a 6.3 second 0–62mph dash and a top speed of 153mph. Tasty.
Sadly, the noise and power delivery still lack the performance edge the empirical data proves, but you’ll make effortless progress nonetheless. The 210bhp 2.0-litre TSI is essentially a Golf GTI, but seems quicker and feels like a car for all situations. All but base ‘Rocs get VW’s excellent adaptive chassis control, which has three settings and adjusts throttle response, steering and damping. And it works a treat. You still get the same VW driving vibe – sure-footedness, accurate steering, plenty of grip – but it’s basically 25 per cent better than the GTI. Little body roll and crisp turn-in make this a proper driver’s tool, without actually making you look like one.
On the inside
If you’ve ever sat inside a modern VW, you’ve sat inside the Scirocco. Where Volkswagen innovates with chassis, it stagnates with interior design. Everything is bolted together beautifully and falls to hand easily, though. Room in the back is generous for something of this size and the boot is of adequate size (312 litres). But visibility out the back is poor and rear headroom stinks. Still, the driving position is spot on and the controls feel lovely.
The 184bhp 2.0-litre diesel returns 54.2mpg and emits 115g/km of CO2 – while still recording a 0–62mph time of 7.5 seconds – while the 2.0 TDI 140 diesel emits a fleet-friendly 109g/km and averages 67.3mpg. With a base price of £20k for the entry-level 125bhp 1.4-litre TSI and rock-solid residuals, the Scirocco actually soothes the painful-throbbing-vein part of coupe ownership (although sat nav is no longer standard on all).
We love the latest R-Line trim, particularly in facelift guise: R looks, without the price tag or lack of diesel. It’s not even all that expensive, although prices have gone up with the facelift. Those fuel economy savings could just offset it.