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Volkswagen Scirocco (2008)

Published: 20 July 2007

What on earth is that?

It’s VW becoming adventurous. These spy shots, taken in California, capture next year’s Scirocco coupe testing on public roads for the first time. The car is a long-awaited replacement for the 1974 Giugiaro-designed original. These pictures also show the Robert Lesnik-designed concept’s looks will pass into production mostly unchanged. The aluminium air intakes have been replaced by fog lights but the Iroc concept’s gaping grill and slanted headlights will be retained.

Looks a bit dumpy at the rear though

Ignore the swooping lines of the disguise because the back end will look almost identical to the concept, with wraparound rear lights and a roof spoiler. Also visible through the disguise is the tiny rear wiper. This was present on the Iroc concept and was one of our first clues that the car would make production. The only obvious change at the rear are the exhausts, which now only exit from one side.

The Scirocco looks low and sporty. Is it?

We certainly hope so. CAR Magazine got behind the wheel of the Iroc concept in November 2006 and the details are very promising indeed, despite the Scirocco being based on the Eos coupe-convertible (itself one of various Golf progeny). The turbo and supercharged 1.4-litre TSI will make an appearance in two states of tune, 138bhp and 168bhp. There’s also a 2.0-litre diesel with 168bhp, while the Golf GTI will donate its turbocharged 197bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine as well. This same engine will be tweaked to power a hot R20 Scirocco. A V6 and four-wheel drive have been ruled out on the grounds of cost and thirst. Instead, expect a lightened car with 230bhp from the forced-induction four-pot. The lack of four driven wheels will mean the fastest Scirocco will never be as powerful as the Audi S3 - useful for Volkswagen's increasingly busy brand strategy masters.

Will the interior be as sporty and as exciting as the Iroc concept's?

Come on, this is reality. Few concepts manage that, but VW has a real chance to make the Scirocco into its TT and, so the logic goes, change our perception of the brand. The interior, as well as retaining traditional VW quality, should be great. Gone are the concept’s bucket seats but the production Scirocco will retain the twin pods for the speedo and rev counter, the Eos-sourced air vents and the TT-esque ventilation controls. It will also be the first car to feature VW’s version of Audi’s MMI (Multi Media Interface).

Anything else?

Loads of things. This picture proves that the Scirocco will retain the Iroc’s crease line that sweeps between the wheelarches, and there are angular wing mirrors too. And even though the car is a mix of three-door hatch and shooting brake, it will still be practical. The boot will provide at least 300 litres of space, and the rear seats will fold for extra storage. We won’t see the production version until this time next year, and full details are still sketchy. However, a Golf GT Sport with the 138bhp engine currently retails for £17,422 so expect to be paying at least £18,500 for your new Scirocco.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy