First DriveStill a really fun and likeable coupé but the extra power doesn't justify the VW Scirocco GTS's high price
First DriveFacelifted Scirocco is handsome and practical, although its appeal is beginning to fade in the face of more advanced competition
What is it?
This is the entry-level Scirocco but it now comes fitted with Volkswagen’s clever DSG gearbox.
Unlike the six-speed “wet clutch” DSG in the 2.0-litre Scirocco, this is the newer seven-speed “dry clutch” version, which VW says faster, with a shift time of two- to three-hundredths of a second.
The seven-speed unit has been developed specifically for smaller output engines. The dry clutch set-up is more fragile than the oil-bathed wet version, so VW warns against any excessive aftermarket tuning for this car.
Despite an extra cog, the 70kg seven-speed 'box is also 23kg lighter than the six-speed. The 1.4-litre four-pot may not sound to at home in a sports coupe, but thanks to a supercharger and turbocharger it makes a healthy 158bhp.
What’s it like?
We already know the Scirocco is a good car; and in many ways the DSG makes it even better.
In manual mode the gearbox is well suited to the eager 1.4, and it's a doddle to use.
The manual shifts are effortlessly smooth and, thanks to the twin-clutch technology, changing cogs is almost instantaneous, plus using the paddles behind the wheel allows more time to concentrate on the Scirocco’s finely judged chassis.
The only downside is the paddles are perhaps a touch too low, sitting at the ends of the horizontal steering wheel spokes.
Putting the car in “D” is only good if you want to cruise, as the auto shift is not so in keeping with an enthusiastic engine like the 1.4 TSI.
If you want to make progress but don’t want to change gear then the Sport mode is perfect for this rev-hungry 1.4 unit, holding a gear high up the rev range, and providing acceleration on tap.
The DSG box is good for you conscience too; delivering 44.8mpg on the combined cycle compared to the manual’s 42.8mpg, and CO2 emissions are 147g/km instead of 154g/km.
Perhaps due to the smaller diameter wheels on the entry-level Scirocco, and the fact it is a touch lighter, it feels nimbler than the range-topping 2.0-litre. Ride is a touch better too.
It is huge fun, being both chuckable and supremely composed, thanks to the ACC adaptive chassis control system, and flicking through the excellent seven-speed 'box adds to the enjoyment.
It feels genuinely rapid too, making VW’s claimed 8.0 seconds 0-62mph time seem conservative.
Couple to this striking looks, especially in white, and a first rate cabin and you realise the Scirocco is a bargain.
There’s plenty of space up front too, and the manually adjustable seats, without inflatable back cushions, seem to be a better fit.
Should I buy one?
The DSG box brings this car a lot closer to the price of a manual 2.0-litre TSI, Scirocco but if you are in the market for this kind of transmisison then the lower powered car will not disappoint.
The entry-level Scirocco is a cracking all-rounder and this gearbox is another reason to recommend it.