Volkswagen is nudging upmarket with the new 2009 Scirocco R reviewed here – isn’t a 263bhp sports coupé treading dangerously close to the toes of inhouse rival the Audi TT? Especially as the VW Scirocco R costs a competitive £26,945, £6500 less than an equivalently powerful TT S.
We’ve just driven the new VW Scirocco R and can deliver our first web verdict here. For the full six-page review in CAR Magazine, wait for the new December 2009 issue of CAR out in mid-November.
VW Scirocco R (2009): the tech spec
This is the first R-badged Scirocco variant (there have been hot Golf R32 models before, and there’s a new 4wd über-hatch twin to this coupé – but never a go-faster R-badged Scirocco or Corrado) and puts 261bhp through the front axle. A recipe for rubber-ripping torque steer? Perhaps, but VW has fitted its XDS electronic differential to tame wayward wheels.
The R-badged Scirocco looks harder than regular ‘Rocs. There’s gloss black finishing to the door mirrors, grille and rear diffuser, the creeping – and kinda pushy – trend for LED day running lights and elegant 18in or optional 19in rims. Some haven’t been so favourable about the Scirocco design, but believe me, in R trim it looks just the part.
How does the new Scirocco R drive?
It’s dominated by the Audi S3’s four-pot engine. It’s the familiar turbo set-up and provides a burbly soundtrack to accompany a never-ending wave of torque. It’s much more raucous than a Golf GTI.
We tested a car with the optional DSG twin-clutch gearbox. In a word: brilliant. It smoothly shifts through the six ratios, with less of the hunting than we’ve experienced in the VW Group’s own seven-speeder.
You’ll end up snicking up and down the ‘box just for fun, the paddle shifts allowing fingertip operation. And those worries of torque steering, ’80s-style front axle waywardness prove unfounded. It keeps things in check subtly, yet still allows a degree of wheelspin so you know what’s going on. On balance, we’d prefer this to the added weight of lugging around a 4wd system.
How does the new VW Scirocco ride? Like an over-firm pogo stick?
Nope. One of the key reasons for awarding this car five stars (it’s that good) is its well modulated ride. The same pneumatically operated, three-way dampers feature, allowing Comfort and Sport modes, and it rides far better than a bobbly Focus RS or Audi S3.
Body control is never an issue and the uprated brakes are well up to the job of hauling down all that speed. And the Scirocco R is fast: 62mph passes in a brisk 6.4sec.
So it’s like a Golf GTI+
In a nutshell, yes. The hot Scirocco builds on the excellence of the donor Golf GTI hardware – and it really benefits from its lower, wider stance. This car is chuckable, fun and reasonable value at less than £27k.
VW seems to be enjoying a strong run of sporting excellence at the moment, after losing the plot in the 1990s. The Scirocco R is another reminder they can build cracking sports cars at democratic prices. Bravo.
>> Make sure you buy the new December 2009 issue of CAR Magazine for our full first drive feature of the new VW Scirocco R