Flagship Scirocco is now an oil-burner

What is it?

Until the mighty Scirocco R arrives in December, this 2.0 TDI 170 GT version, fitted with the same 168bhp common rail diesel unit found in the Audi TT and Golf GTD, will sit at the top of the range.

The familiar Scirocco assets are in place – comfortable, well-built cabin; engaging looks; keen pricing – but by ramping up the power VW has hopefully endowed the diesel coupe with the performance that is missing from the slightly lethargic 138bhp diesel version recently launched.

What’s it like?

As with all Sciroccos in the range the 170 TDI is a polished all-rounder, which turns fault finding into nit picking. The interior is exceptionally well made for a car of this price, but despite the attractive bespoke seats that belong in an Alfa, it is a little dark and austere. The pillbox rear window restricts visibility and the side windows are shallow due to a 75mm drop in height over the Golf.

On the road it becomes clear that the fitment of the diesel unit substantially changes the character of the Scirocco. Plentiful levels of torque mean this car is easily as quick as the figures suggest, but inevitably it is dominated by its notable mid-range punch. Instead of ringing every last rev out of the Scirocco, as you would the petrol versions, the TDI becomes more of a GT, covering ground swiftly and effortlessly.

The weighting of the electro-mechanical power steering is finely-judged, with linear responses and decent feel. The extra 30kg of the diesel lump up front is barely noticeable, the Scirocco turning in keenly and staying flat and composed through the bends. Lifting off the throttle even allows for the line to be adjusted.

Curiously the adapative ride doesn’t soak up potholes as well as it does in the Golf GTI, which may be a result of the lower stance, jiggling slightly on poor surfaces. However this improves markedly in ‘comfort’ mode.

The 2.0-litre TDI may not sound quite as characterful as in the TT but it is impressively quiet, especially on the motorway, where the Scirocco’s becomes a comfortable and leggy cruiser. A frugal average of 42mpg (VW claims 53.3mpg on the combined cycle), which includes a substantial stint on backroads, making the Scirocco an even more compelling choice.

Should I buy one?

It is difficult to fault the Scirocco TDI, which ticks most of the coupe boxes while delivering impressive economy. But this is a sports car segment and the petrol versions offer a more exciting drive, and in many ways the lighter, more agile 1.4 twincharger version is the pick of the bunch, while still delivering 42.8mpg.

Ollie Stallwood

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J400uk 25 September 2009

Re: Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDI 170

This really isn't top of the range

Greg1 23 September 2009

Re: Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDI 170

The range topper is a diesel? 'nuff said....

Zeroboost 23 September 2009

Re: Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TDI 170

"Pillbox rear window" is right and then they go and stick silly looking enormous fixed headrests on top of the rear seats. Why not help what visibility there is by fitted sensible drop-down headrests.

Wonder if they still hide the suspension setting switch behind the gear lever where it is invisible from the driving seat, as it was when I had a test drive when the car was launched. I haven't been back to find out since the lack of rear visibility alone was enough to put me off it.