From £29,687
The Scirocco R mixes quality with effortless pace

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Scirocco R
The hot Scirocco that blurs the line between coupé and hot hatch

Is the Volkswagen Scirocco R more engaging than a very competitive array of hot hatch and small coupé rivals?

1 November 2009

What is it?

This is Volkswagen’s hardcore Scirocco R, the most potent variant yet of the firm’s Golf-based three-door coupe. Equipped with a tuned version of the old EA113 engine from the previous-gen Golf GTI and current Audi S3, the Scirocco R puts 261bhp and 258lb ft through its front wheels.

To cope with this extra grunt, the Scirocco gets XDS, VW’s electronic differential system, and Adaptive Chassis Control, which allows the driver to choose from normal, comfort and sport modes for the suspension, steering and accelerator response.

To give you an idea of where VW is pitching this car, the ACC’s normal setting on the R is roughly where sport is on a regular Scirocco; sport goes one step further on the new model.

You also get natty 18in wheels (19s are optional), larger brake discs and gloss black callipers, smoked rear light lenses, a rear diffuser, new side skirts and subtle interior tweaks including piano black finish on the fascia, new sports seats and a touchscreen stereo.

All of this performance and kit will cost you, however; prices will start at £26,945 for manual models, putting the Scirocco R on a par with its most obvious rival, the Ford Focus RS. And if you want a DSG-equipped machine, as tested here, you’ll need to add £1300 to that bill. The Scirocco still slots in beneath the forthcoming Golf R in VW’s performance line-up, mind you; that four-wheel-drive monster will nudge £29k before options.

What’s it like?

For starters, rapid. Keeping the Scirocco R front-drive has kept weight in check, and there’s no denying that power figure, so this is a car that feels entirely at home in the company of mega-hatches like the Focus and the old Megane R26.

They both utilise mechanical LSDs, of course, and they probably have a teeny bit more ability when it comes to clawing their way out of corners – but that’s not to say the Scirocco is found wanting in this area. Indeed, the latest, tweaked XDS system does an admirable job.

What really impressed was the Scirocco’s composure, though; our car was sitting on optional 19in wheels, but while 18-inchers were on standby, we never felt the need to fit them, even across bumpy Welsh back roads. Body control is excellent, and while the steering could be a teeny bit more communicative, it is direct and hardly devoid of feedback.

The VW’s four-pot engine is a logical extension of everything that made the previous-gen Golf GTI great, meanwhile; it’s fabulously linear in power delivery yet keen to rev out (to the point where it doesn’t really feel turbocharged). No, it’s not the best-sounding motor on the planet, but the DSG transmission does add a pleasing anti-lag rasp on upshifts.

Should I buy one?

If you’re in the market for a good-looking, agile, genuinely rapid hot hatchback that will be easy to live with and hold its value, then yes.

The Scirocco R is an impressively good match for the Focus RS across B-roads, where its more pliable set-up compensates for the Ford’s mechanical limited-slip differential.

In simple terms, you won’t be noticeably slower anywhere in the VW, and you’ll be considerably more comfortable during everyday mileage. The interior feels far more premium than the Focus’s, too – enough to make the two cars’ similar pricing extremely uncomfortable for the Ford.

Is it the new daddy of mega-hot hatchbacks? On raw thrills alone, no. But as an overall package, the Scirocco R is some way clear of any rivals at this price point. And that includes the Focus RS.

John McIlroy

Join the debate

Comments
30

4 November 2009

Errors list in review:

i believe the official 0-62mph is 5.8 for the DSG, quicker than the RS. the manual is 6.0 seconds.

Max power is at 6000rpm not 5100rpm

Max torque is at 2500rpm not 1700rpm

official combined MPG is 35.3

emissions for the DSG are 187g not 189g

9 July 2013

I am glad that you have added some of the necessary information here about this album and this time would be the best for me because I got the info now that I always needed. 

one way car rental chicago

4 November 2009

the weight of the DSG is 1439kgs not 1419kgs

the price of the DSG is £28,245 not £26,945

(all figures from VW website)

Can i have a job?

4 November 2009

[quote beachland2]the weight of the DSG is 1439kgs not 1419kgs[/quote]

Are you sure about this? If it's correct, then this is simply too high. I mean it's a 4-cyl, 2WD Hatch. What's it made of? Lead?!!

4 November 2009

Not too high for it to be super fast, a great drive and still does 35mpg!

R32

4 November 2009

[quote beachland2]

Errors list in review:

i believe the official 0-62mph is 5.8 for the DSG, quicker than the RS. the manual is 6.0 seconds.

Max power is at 6000rpm not 5100rpm

Max torque is at 2500rpm not 1700rpm

official combined MPG is 35.3

emissions for the DSG are 187g not 189g

[/quote]

I'm glad someone is paying attention - it's very annoying when magazines print inaccuracies. It may seem pedantic of me, but I like to read fact not fiction. Thanks beachland2 for the corrections - Autocar writers take note please!

4 November 2009

[quote beachland2](all figures from VW website)[/quote]

[quote beachland2]Can i have a job?[/quote]

L0L

4 November 2009

[quote julianphillips]Not too high for it to be super fast, a great drive and still does 35mpg!
[/quote]

Well, the normal 2.0L TFSI Scirocco weighs 1298KG, so where has the extra 100KG+ come from? It's not got 4WD or a V6 etc. The engine hasn't really changed. So whats going on?

Also, VW prices are now ridiculous, which is a shame because they are clearly making great cars. Put it this way, a fairly well specced Scirocco R is touching £34K (the Golf R is closer to £37K, which is what you would need for a reasonably specced BMW335i Sport). If you didn't need the 2 (small) rear seats of the Scirocco, then it makes it more expensive (by thousands) than a fully specced Nissan 370Z or similar in price to the Lotus Europa SE and such like.

I think what ALL potential Golf/Scirroco buyers should do is refuse to sign on the dotted line until thousands of £'s are knocked off the price. That way, the market can set its own price on these cars. This actually happened to the BMW M6 when buyers refused to pay £20K more for this than the M5 (same drivetrain, with 2 extra doors - who really want's to pay £20K for a carbon roof?) and BMW dealers were forced to slash M6 prices by 1000's, thus the market created its own baseline M6 price.

4 November 2009

[quote CAT3]Well, the normal 2.0L TFSI Scirocco weighs 1298KG, so where has the extra 100KG+ come from? It's not got 4WD or a V6 etc. The engine hasn't really changed. So whats going on?[/quote]

I thought the Sirocco was lighter too, but looking at the VW site it says they standard 2.0tsi is not 1298kgs but 1373khs with the DSG being 1393kgs. R is 46kgs heavier for some reason, must be down to spec/bigger wheels etc?

Ah i just noticed the EU directive for unladen weights, they must include 68kgs for driver, 7kgs for luggage and 90% full fuel tank. thats where the extra weight comes from!

4 November 2009

[quote beachland2]

Errors list in review:

i believe the official 0-62mph is 5.8 for the DSG, quicker than the RS. the manual is 6.0 seconds.

[/quote]

Yes, curiously since you wrote that this morning they seem to have updated the post now to 6.0.

Perhaps someone from the VW press office is issuing incorrect spec sheets, since EVO, CAR, Autoexpress etc. were all quoting the 6.4 this morning, and it is also shown by Sutcliffe in the Autocar actual magazine like that (I trust the written pages a bit more than the internet ones). So either that or the VW site is wrong?

Odd situation as with wrong numbers all over the internet reviews it undersells the product a touch, if anyone is really bothered by 0-60 in the real world these days.

Autocar magazine timed the RS at 5.7, for what it is worth.

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