It would be easy to describe the Scirocco R as a sharper version of the 2.0 GT TSI. But such a description would be to undersell what VW has achieved with this car, because it is also more polished.
In terms of sheer lateral grip and agility the regular Scirocco didn’t exactly under-impress; what we wanted more of was involvement – a greater sense of interaction with the car, but without losing the suppleness and comfort that makes the Scirocco such a good long-distance proposition. A tall order, perhaps, but as VW has shown, not one that is impossible to deliver.
Even pottering around at urban speeds, the R version feels more keyed into the road than the GT, with a greater keenness to turn, more front-end bite and a more delicate balance between the front and rear axles. Although it isn’t, the R feels like a lighter car than the GT, and more analogue in the way it responds.
Does it need a proper LSD? To completely win over the most focused hot hatch fans it probably does. Clever though the electronics are, they cannot match a mechanical diff’s ability to channel power to the road exiting tight corners, or imitate the way it allows a driver to use more throttle to pull the car into a bend. Try that in the Scirocco R and all you get is understeer.
Adaptive Chassis Control is standard on the R, meaning a choice of three modes (Comfort, Normal and Sport), each altering the dampers, steering map and throttle response.