Mild mid-life refresh enhances the appeal of Volkswagen’s oil-burning coupé

What is it?

Potentially, one big contradiction – but Volkswagen has long shown that the marriage of a sportily styled coupé body and a sensible fuel-sipping diesel engine has merit.

Indeed, diesel variants of this Volkswagen Golf-derived Scirocco are more popular than petrols in the UK, which is the second-biggest market for the car. 

We’ve driven both the higher-powered 2.0-litre R-Line version and the range-topping Scirocco R on international turf before, but now it’s the turn of this 148bhp diesel to prove itself on home soil.

What's it like?

This version’s 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine produces 148bhp – 10bhp more than the equivalent outgoing model – and maximum torque of 251lb ft. It’s the punchy mid-range shove that’s most impressive here. Even in this lower-powered diesel option in the range, there’s a prodigious amount of it across a wide spread of revs.

For the most part, the diesel is refined. Only when the revs climb high is there a reminder, via the engine’s noisy tone, that there’s an oil-burner under the bonnet. 

However, the healthy torque on offer means that it’s not a situation explored too often. You don’t have to chase every engine revolution to eke out excellent performance, meaning that this car is best suited as a comfortable, leggy cruiser.

Of course, the real benefit of opting for one of the diesels is the economy. Volkswagen claims 62.8mpg on the combined cycle for the DSG-equipped variant, and our test drives over varied routes consistently and effortlessly returned north of 50mpg, according to the trip computer. 

The six-speed DSG transmission occasionally isn’t as slick as you’d like during mixed-pace driving, and there’s a tendency to hang on to lower gears for longer than you might wish, even if you’re not calling on all the power. Stubby paddles behind the steering wheel enable manual shifting but don’t raise the levels of involvement for the driver.

As part of this facelift, the Scirocco’s electro-mechanical steering has been remapped. It weights up adequately at higher speeds and delivers linear responses and a moderate amount of feel. 

The Scirocco is unruffled and composed over most road surfaces. Handling is benign without being particularly involving or rewarding.

The mid-life styling tweaks for a model first seen in 2008 are more nip and tuck than extensive overhaul but, to our eyes, the Scirocco’s design still looks sleek and fresh.  

The practical cost of that figure-hugging body style is poor rear visibility, accentuated by two huge rear headrests that all but block out any vestige of sight via the rear-view mirror. 

This and cramped legroom in the rear are the only significant ergonomic drawbacks of an otherwise comfortable and well appointed cabin, which now features an updated dashboard.

Should I buy one?

This Scirocco variant’s blend of comfort, frugality and performance points towards it being an excellent long-distance cruiser rather than the fully engaging sporty coupé that its styling might imply.

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2014 Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDI 150 DSG

Price £26,525; 0-62mph 8.6sec; Top speed 132mph; Economy 62.8mpg; CO2 119g/km; Kerb weight 1470kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power 148bhp between 3500-4000rpm; Torque 251lb ft between 1750-3250rpm; Gearbox 6-speed dual-clutch automatic

Add a comment…
AddyT 7 October 2014

Marj & Bomb

Hi guys, the only option I have on it is the metallic paint so no keyless entry or folding mirrors. And Bomb is on the right lines as this car was in the local dealers pool of new builds. There was some haggling so it came up probably closer to 21 than 22k but have been more than pleased with it so far and don't regret getting it at all. A GT would have been nice though or ideally a GTD! On that note, without checking I believe this Scirocco is the same price or slightly more than a GTD? If I'm right thats insane! I don't know many who would choose this over the GTD!
Frightmare Bob 6 October 2014

A vertically challenged

A vertically challenged out-of-date Golf, as stylish as a blob of blancmange.
Aussierob 6 October 2014

Can't you

Just leave the rear seats folded down? That way there's a great view out the back. If you have rear passengers and have to put the seats up, you'll have more than headrests to impede your rear view!