All of this performance and kit will cost you, however; prices will start at £26,945 for manual models, putting the Scirocco R on a par with its most obvious rival, the Ford Focus RS. And if you want a DSG-equipped machine, as tested here, you’ll need to add £1300 to that bill. The Scirocco still slots in beneath the forthcoming Golf R in VW’s performance line-up, mind you; that four-wheel-drive monster will nudge £29k before options.
What’s it like?
For starters, rapid. Keeping the Scirocco R front-drive has kept weight in check, and there’s no denying that power figure, so this is a car that feels entirely at home in the company of mega-hatches like the Focus and the old Megane R26.
They both utilise mechanical LSDs, of course, and they probably have a teeny bit more ability when it comes to clawing their way out of corners – but that’s not to say the Scirocco is found wanting in this area. Indeed, the latest, tweaked XDS system does an admirable job.
What really impressed was the Scirocco’s composure, though; our car was sitting on optional 19in wheels, but while 18-inchers were on standby, we never felt the need to fit them, even across bumpy Welsh back roads. Body control is excellent, and while the steering could be a teeny bit more communicative, it is direct and hardly devoid of feedback.
The VW’s four-pot engine is a logical extension of everything that made the previous-gen Golf GTI great, meanwhile; it’s fabulously linear in power delivery yet keen to rev out (to the point where it doesn’t really feel turbocharged). No, it’s not the best-sounding motor on the planet, but the DSG transmission does add a pleasing anti-lag rasp on upshifts.
Should I buy one?
If you’re in the market for a good-looking, agile, genuinely rapid hot hatchback that will be easy to live with and hold its value, then yes.
The Scirocco R is an impressively good match for the Focus RS across B-roads, where its more pliable set-up compensates for the Ford’s mechanical limited-slip differential.
In simple terms, you won’t be noticeably slower anywhere in the VW, and you’ll be considerably more comfortable during everyday mileage. The interior feels far more premium than the Focus’s, too – enough to make the two cars’ similar pricing extremely uncomfortable for the Ford.
Is it the new daddy of mega-hot hatchbacks? On raw thrills alone, no. But as an overall package, the Scirocco R is some way clear of any rivals at this price point. And that includes the Focus RS.