2015 VW Scirocco R review | First Drive

Volkswagen Scirocco R | First Drive Review

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Produced byMalcolm Flynn | Carsguide

MyDrive | Volkswagen Australia – It’s not hard to look at the refreshed version of Volkswagen’s Scirocco R with a degree of trepidation. Since we last experienced the previous VW Scirocco R, the automotive world has been graced with the brilliant MQB platform-based Mk7 Golf, and the equally brilliant GTI and Golf R performance variants.

The near-universal praise heaped upon these models could leave you feeling that anything without the designations MQB or Mk7 attached is beyond consideration, including the rehashed but still gorgeous Scirocco R sports coupe.

The new Scirocco R isn’t due on our shores until the first quarter of next year, but can some deftly applied visual upgrades overcome its older Mk5/Mk6 Golf PQ35 platform basis?

DESIGN

The Scirocco R’s update is the first significant change since the model’s global unveiling in 2009, which could be perceived as premature given the sleek hatched coupe didn’t arrive in local showrooms until late 2011.

Unveiled in February, the new Scirocco R’s updates bring it in line with the styling of the Mk7 Golf R. Changes include new lights and bumpers front and back, matte chrome mirrors and the 19 inch ‘Cadiz’ alloys from the current Golf R. A new hatch panel gains a strong horizontal crease that continues through the new taillights.

On the inside, the instrument panel has been updated with new-look dials and a new auxiliary gauge pod above the centre console with chronometer, turbo boost and oil temperature gauges.

A reversing camera has also been added, with the camera housed within the VW badge and front parking sensors now accompany the existing rears.

The reversing camera is displayed on a 6.5 inch multimedia screen, which also now includes satnav and 30Gb of hard drive storage, and sits beneath reshaped air vents.

The standard trim is still a lovely cloth/Alcantara combination, which is always cool to the touch and grippy when cornering. Vienna leather is still an option, but the standard trim is the pragmatic choice.

Looking at the tapered roofline, you’d expect the back seat to be highly compromised. Unlike the Golf, there are only two spots in the back, but headroom is ample for anyone up to about 5’9, and legroom is comparable with the Golf. Proof again that style need not preclude practicality.

Similarly, a useful 312-litres of luggage space is in the back, although this is aided by the use of a puncture repair kit in lieu of a spare wheel.

VALUE

Local pricing is yet to be confirmed, but Volkswagen will continue to position the Scirocco R between the Golf GTI’s $41,990 starting price and the $51,990 Golf R.

VW Australia has hinted that the Scirocco R could drop below its existing $47,990 starting price however, with the lineup consolidated to just four colours and reducing the options list to the leather trim pack and a panoramic glass sunroof.

ENGINE / TRANSMISSIONS

Those hoping for the new Golf R’s 206kW/380Nm outputs will also be disappointed, with the new Scirocco R continuing with the same 188kW/330Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine from the previous version and the Mk6 Golf R.

Unlike the Golf R, the Scirocco R’s drive still comes via the front wheels, and can still be had with either six-speed manual or DSG dual-clutch automatic.

Claimed 0-100km/h figures of 6.0 seconds for the auto and 6.2 seconds for the manual trail the Golf R by an even second, and fuel consumption is also about a litre behind at 8.0L/100km for the auto and 8.1L/100km for the manual.

DRIVING

Climbing aboard the Scirocco R, the lower seating position and bulging wheelarches at all corners eliminate any perception the Scirocco R is merely a tarted up Golf.

The interior may not have the flash of an Audi TT or even a Mini Cooper S, but there’s a sense of occasion about the Scirocco that fits its exterior promise.

This is only emphasised by the engine’s variety of tunes, from a throaty induction and bark from the dual exhausts, to varying degrees of turbo whoosh depending on throttle load.

The engine may not be the newest or most powerful kid on the block, but it still delivers heaps of poke, with a mountain of torque helping you to get away with lazy gear selections time and time again.

We drove the six-speed manual at the new Scirocco R’s Australian preview, and while the gearshift is a bit longer in throw and narrower of gate than you’d expect, it’s still the best choice if you’re after an engaging drive.

The steering did a great job of telegraphing each surface change along the famous Chum Creek Road in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, and the low Scirocco R stayed flat and stable through the rapid transition bends.

Over the dry roads on test the all-wheel drive of the Golf R was not missed, no doubt aided by the Scirocco R’s extended electronic diff lock (XDL) stability control function.

Like most modern production cars, the Scirocco R will eventually lose grip from the front tyres first, but gently transitions to the rear despite the sticky 235-section tyres.

The ride is quite sharp on the big 19 inch alloys, and the differences between Comfort and Sport adaptive damper settings are not as clear as the more advanced setup on the new Golf R.

This is forgivable in the Scirocco R though, as these sharp edges match its athletic shape and sporting pretence.

VERDICT

The new VW Scirocco R very much deserves its place in VW’s Australian lineup. The new model’s revisions aren’t revolutionary, and the sport-focused chassis may not match the overall sophistication and comfort of MQB-based models. However if the price stays well beneath the Golf R, it’s bound to find its way into a few Australian garages.

Specifications

Price: From TBC
Warranty: 3yr/unlimited km
Service Interval: 15,000km/12 months
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo 4-cyl petrol 98RON, 188kW/330Nm
Transmission: 6sp manual; FWD
Spare: Nil
Thirst: 8.1L/100km Tank 55L

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For details on Volkswagen, click > www.volkswagen.com.au | www.volkswagen.com

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