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Although the Volkswagen Scirocco is closely based on the platform and running gear used by the Golf GTi, it would be both simplistic and inaccurate to describe the Scirocco as a Golf GTi in a cocktail dress.

It shares the same wheelbase but it’s 40mm longer, a significant 51mm wider and a massive 97mm lower. Most important, its track is wider by 35mm at the front and 59mm at the rear.

The Scirocco is far from a Golf GTi in a cocktail dress

As a result, the Scirocco is not only lighter than the Golf on which it is based, with a lower centre of gravity, but it also has a broader stance, which accounts in no small part for the way it conducts itself on the road.

In addition, it comes with bespoke settings for its springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. In other respects, however, it follows both class convention and the Golf’s lead. Front suspension is a simple strut located by a lower wishbone, while that at the rear is a four-link arrangement.

For the R model, Volkswagen has made subtle changes to the Scirocco’s appearance, enhancing its muscularity without having to make alterations to the metalwork, a task presumably made easier by the fact that it must have known during development of the cooking model that it was later going to produce a hot variant. To our eyes it’s a successful look but one that will not be hard to replicate for owners of lesser Sciroccos.

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Poor rear visibility is a bit of a Scirocco trait, but in dirty conditions the rear screen easily gets filthy. Without a fancy telescopic wiper, the cleaned area is restricted by the height of the screen and is therefore pretty small.

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