VW Scirocco R (2009): first official photos

Published: 20 May 2009

Volkswagen has issued the first official details of the new Scirocco R. We've been scooping it as the anticipated Scirocco R20T – and while our technical information was spot-on, the name has been changed at the last minute we're informed. So it's farewell R20T (and, presumably, R32 and R36 elsewhere in VW's range) and hello R.

It seems likely that all future hot VWs will be badged simply R and ditch the numerals. Which neatly avoids highlighting that the industry is downsizing frantically, as well as simplifying the range of go-faster Volkswagens produced by Wolfsburg's Individual department responsible for all performance models, body kits and Bluemotion versions.

VW Scirocco R: the inside line

The first photo of the new Scirocco R reveals a pumped-up coupé, complete with typically subtle Germanic polish. The odd ride height drop here, some gently chiseled sills there. Eighteen inch rims are standard, 19s optional.

Under the bonnet lies a familiar recipe: the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine from the outgoing Golf GTI, breathed on by a higher-pressure turbocharger to swell peak power to 261bhp and torque to 258lb ft. So this Scirocco will be fleet of foot:

0-62mph 6.5sec (6.4sec with DSG)
Top speed 155mph (limited on both models)
Kerbweight 1333kg (1353kg with DSG)
Combined economy 34mpg (34.5mpg with DSG)
CO2 194/g/km (192g/km with DSG)

What? They've used the old GTI's engine?

Yep. It's not the new EA888 four-pot seen in the Golf and other Sciroccos, but the EA113 unit from the Mk5 hot hatch. There's a new, bigger turbo huffing and puffing at up to 1.2 bar of boost, plus a new more efficient intercooler. The fabric of the block is new, too, with a reinforced block, stronger pins, conrods and bearings, and a new ally head.

We put some questions to a high-up at Individual to understand more about the Scirocco's positioning. Click 'Next' to read the full lowdown on the Scirocco R.

What was the brief for the new Scirocco R? Did you aim for a comfortable high-performance Scirocco? Or was the idea for a rawer, sportier iteration?

'We are aiming to establish a high-quality, sporty, top-of- the-range product in the Scirocco series,' said the Individual official. 'It's very sporty in the first place, but we're also offering a more comfortable ride by usage of DCC. In this way it's definitely a high-performance Scirocco but with the ability to be very comfortable too.'

So is there room for an even sportier Scirocco in future? Or is the R as extreme as roadgoing models will get?

'We will not offer anything above the Scirocco R, because it's Volkswagen's top-of-the-line Scirocco. Once you've driven it, you'll know, that it would be difficult to develop a sportier Scirocco.'

Our man said the XDS electronic diff, as seen on the new Mk6 Golf GTI, was integrated into the ESP system – it basically detects if the inside front wheel is insufficiently loaded in a fast corner, and brakes the individual wheel to restore traction. That's how VW is coping with the high power through the front axle, instead of the mechanical diff seen in the Focus RS or go-faster Renaultsport Meganes.

When can I buy a Scirocco R?

Not until December 2009, sadly – so there's a bit of a wait. But the R will make up one in 10 Scirocco sales in the UK and it is likely to cost around £25,000.

>> Is the Scirocco R really a cut-price Cayman for £11,000 less? Click 'Add your comment' and let us know

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet