First DriveStill a really fun and likeable coupé but the extra power doesn't justify the VW Scirocco GTS's high price
First DriveFacelifted Scirocco is handsome and practical, although its appeal is beginning to fade in the face of more advanced competition
What is it?
VW’s stylish new offering is the first coupe the brand has built since the Corrado died in 1995. It’s based on the same mechanical package as the Golf, but we’re promised that it offers a more dynamic driving experience than its hatchback sister.
The range-topping 2.0-litre TFSI version gets the company’s familiar 197bhp turbocharged petrol engine. It’s got a wider track and a lower stance than the Golf, but rides on the same platform.
It’s a cleverly positioned car, too. Volkswagen is selling TFSI of the Scirocco for the same money as the Golf GTI, which should offer buyers an attractive, upmarket alternative to the hot hatch.
What’s it like?
A real head-turner. The Scirocco is surprisingly colour-sensitive, looking very restrained in darker hues but really leaping off the road when finished in the particularly bright shade of Kermit Green that VW has chosen to finish most of the early cars in.
It's a shame the Scirocco's interior isn’t a bit more flamboyant, though. The dashboard and centre console are taken straight from the Eos convertible, and their dullness contrasts markedly with the rather more expressive seat patterns, rear seat sculpting and door trims.
There's plenty of space in the front of the Scirocco, though there are no grab handles and, although rear seat space is tighter, it’s not so bad as you might expect. Volkswagen makes some big claims about the boot space but it’s all limited by the size of the opening, and that’s small.
Ergonomics are fine, and its reasonably easy for most drivers to find a comfortable seating position. The ergonomics are good: visibility is not great but the dials and minor switchgear are all sensibly laid out, and the quality feels fine.
The TFSI engine responds as enthusiastically as ever. The engine only revs to 6500rpm, but the turbocharged surge is strong enough to mean that you don’t need the last 500rpm – possibly not even the last 1000rpm. Changing up early on full bore gives a nice pop from the exhaust, too, and the DSG ‘box is its usual excellent, if slightly detached, self.
Steering offers decent weight, linear responses and just the right amount of self-centreing. It’s a shame about the flat bottom to the wheel – and there’s not much feel to indicate when the front-end grip actually runs out.
Handling offers the right blend of sport and comfort. It’s respectably agile, grips well and the line can be adjusted to a reasonable extent on the throttle. It’s certainly more fun to drive than the Golf GTI.
Sometimes there’s a little crash into the cabin – more so than in a Golf – and the feeling is that the Scirocco’s less dynamically polished than, say, a Renault Megane R26 or a Ford Focus ST.
Should I buy one?
Volkswagen should clean up with the Scirocco. Until now, if you wanted to really good-to-drive £20K car you’d have to buy a hot hatch rather than a coupe.
But the Scirocco has created a new niche class of its own – and gone in straight at the top of it.