The wraps are officially off the new Volkswagen Scirocco.
It will be unveiled tomorrow at the Geneva Show, and will be in European showrooms by late summer, priced from around £20,000 and powered by a range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines with power outputs up to 200 bhp.
Despite VW’s long period without the Scirocco, the new coupé’s positioning and purpose are almost unchanged from the original models.
The new ’09 edition is a three-door hatchback coupé with relatively spacious rear accommodation for two adults, plus decent boot space, wrapped in a body that is both lower and sleeker than any saloon.
VW group boss Martin Winterkorn calls the new Scirocco “a sports car people can dream of, and which an exceptionally large number of them will be able to afford”.The new Scirocco, whose wedge shape makes loose reference to Giugiaro’s ‘70s original, shows its close relationship to the latest Golf’s major mechanicals by sharing the saloon’s 2578mm wheelbase.
Almost identical to Iroc concept, the new coupé's overall length is 4256mm (40mm more than a Golf, mostly in the rear overhang), overall height is 1400mm (70mm less) and width is 1810mm (50mm more).
Boot volume, a useful 292 litres, expands to 755 litres — a volume worthy of a small hatchback — when the split-folding rear seats are folded down.
The car’s low stance, plus its extra width and length, give it unmistakable coupé proportions, even though VW designers talk about a “wagon-coupé roof” and claim adult headroom in the rear cabin. Controversially, the production car ditches the handsome "mouth" grille of the concept, opting instead for a very minimal grille which may well reflect the front-end treatment of other next-generation VW products.
The fascia and major interior features are all Golf derived, but the Scirocco uses special sports seats, unique trim materials and colours, and has a well-equipped, snug character which Sciroccos of the old days never achieved.
One key feature is a large, glass vent-sunroof which floods the cabin with light (but not heat, thanks to its UV filtering) and raises at the rear by 40mm at the touch of a button to ventilate the cabin.
The UK Scirocco will be powered at launch by the top-spec engine, a direct injection petrol 2.0-litre T-FSI engine; the familiar turbo unit from today’s Golf GTi, which delivers 197bhp at 6000rpm, plus 206lb ft of torque at just 1700.
It drives though the buyer’s choice of six-speed manual or DSG gearbox. A supporting range of petrol TSI and common-rail diesel TDI engines will be launched in the car from 2009 onwards, with either six-speed manuals or a new seven-speed DSG option.
The wheels, suspension, steering and running gear are all Golf-based. VW still claim class-leading technology for the Scirocco, including the option of variable dampers with driver-chosen ride programmes: Normal, Sport and Comfort. The system's adaptive facility means that it changes rate automatically to cope with various surfaces and driving styles.
Expect to see the Scirocco in showrooms by autumn this year.