We’ve always been fans of the VW Scirocco. Six years on and over 210 000 sold, its success has enticed others to dip their toe in the affordable coupe market: Toyota 86, BMW 2 Series, Hyundai Veloster. So what’s Volkswagen doing to respond to the challenge? The answer, surprisingly, is not much. That’s because its engineers are busy working hard on the fourth-generation Scirocco that’s about two years away. That car, like the Audi TT, will be based on the lighter MQB platform.
For now, the current Rocco soldiers on with the mildest of facelifts, the biggest visual draw limited to a front bumper that now includes aero blades apparently pinched from the side of a Ferrari Mondial. There’s also a revised bumper, and the front and rear lamps are new too, but that’s about it.
The Scirocco has adopted almost all the latest Golf’s newer, cleaner Euro 6-compliant engines. This happily means lower emissions and improved fuel consumption. There is a variety to pick from starting with a 118kW 1.4 TSI, followed by two 2.0-litre TSI engines in 155kW and 188kW guises. Sadly there is no power increase gifted to the range-topping Scirocco R, which jumps to a Golf R-rivalling 220kW in Europe. So why the difference? Well, the Scirocco R is the only car in the range that retains its old engine. This means the MQB-based all-wheel-drive Golf R is not only quicker but more efficient too, despite being heavier.
VW’s engineers have employed a similarly thorough approach to tuning the R’s chassis: they’ve done nothing. But before you just go and buy the Golf R, or one of the Scirocco’s newer rivals, it’s best to get behind the wheel.
The burbly old turbocharged 2.0-litre engine remains a joy and is as characterful as ever, although no quicker. The 0-100kph benchmark flashes by in just 5.8sec. It still does without any mechanical LSD despite the extra shove, but the traction-control-based faux diff does a fine job of clawing the Scirocco out of even tight second-gear corners. It’s there, in a tight and twisting sequence of bends, that the Scirocco really shines, feeling light, agile, grippy and adjustable to throttle inputs right at the limit. It also feels incredibly fast. What it lacks is that final level of big lift-off engagement the RenaultSport Megane offers, but the Scirocco remains fantastic fun to hustle.
If you need to carry four in style and comfort, the Scirocco R still there-and-there-abouts after all these years. Just think how brilliant its proper replacement will be.
NEED TO KNOW:
2015 VW Scirocco
PRICE R489 300
ENGINE 1984cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 188kW @ 6000rpm, 350Nm @ 2500-5000rpm
TRANSMISSION Six-speed DSG, front-wheel drive
SUSPENSION MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
PERFORMANCE 5.8sec 0-100kph, 250kph, 8.0L/100km, 187g/km CO2
ON SALE Now