If you ever needed a jolt to remind you just how good four cylinder diesel cars have become, drive the Scirocco 2.0 TDI 170PS for, oh, five or six seconds. This is a very impressive car indeed.
The best two compliments you can pay it are that A) it's genuinely sporty, and B) that the engine's character doesn't let down the car's coupe looks. The sportiness comes from a fast-revving and punchy 2.0-litre turbodiesel which develops 258lb ft of torque - that's about a quarter more than the 2.0 TFSI petrol - and sounds pretty rorty, too. Not as clean and sweet as the petrol, but not rattly and never strained, either. In real-world motoring, especially overtaking, it would be very close between the two (0-62mph times are 8.1secs for the diesel, 7.2secs for the petrol).
You also get the benefit of diesel thrift, which means an official figure of 40.4mpg on the urban cycle. The petrol car gets 26.9mpg in town, so over an average 12,000-mile year, driving normally, based on a pound a litre, you'd save £678.
I find myself tapping away on the calculator and working these figures out because, impressive though the diesel is, I'd still have the 2.0-litre petrol, despite the £56 extra on juice every month. The petrol redlines at 6,000rpm, the diesel at 5,000, and those extra 1,000 revs make a big difference. I'm still not quite ready to step into an oil-burner when the TFSI is out there.