Volkswagen Scirocco R coupe
- Strong performance
- High quality interior
- Sporty styling
- High price
- Cheaper and faster rivals
- Impractical boot
"Despite much-needed updates and an even more powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, the Volkswagen Scirocco R doesn't sparkle quite like it used to, particularly compared to its newer rivals."
The Volkswagen Scirocco R is the most powerful version of the handsome coupe available, offering 276bhp from its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. It possesses similar performance figures to the Renault Megane Reanultsport and Ford Focus RS. Retaining the standard model's front wheel drive layout, the Scirocco R sits lower on huge wheels and features a new spoiler and wide-set twin exhaust pipes - it's instantly recognisable as the top-of-the-range, performance model. A revised front bumper features aerodynamic 'blades' and the new headlights give the car a fresher look. The interior is of the excellent finish and quality we have come to expect from Volkswagen, and has much in common with the latest Volkswagen Golf.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Not bad for a very hot hatchback
Emissions were already relatively good for a car of the Scirocco R's performance, and they have improved with the car's update. With the optional DSG automatic gearbox, CO2 emissions drop from 199g/km to 185g/km and combined fuel economy improves from 33.2mpg to 35.7mpg. Emissions for the manual are a touch higher at 187g/km. Sadly the 2g/km difference puts the manual version of the car in a higher road tax bracket - the DSG version costs £345 for the first year and £225 thereafter, whereas the manual will be £485 and then £265 thereafter.
Servicing, thanks to the newly launched "Volkswagen Service Promise", is reasonable value for money with VW promising to offer some routine maintenance free of charge.
Interior & comfort
The cabin is stunning, but ride is hard
Running on stiffer, 10mm lower suspension, the R is firmer than the standard car but can be adjusted by the driver to be firmer for sporty driving or softer for cruising. With specially tuned power-steering, the model has a sharper and more direct feel than its standard Scirocco coupe counterpart. Inside, there is plenty of space, with even those in the rear getting a surprising amount of head and legroom. The sports seats fitted up front are very comfortable over long distances, proving easily adjustable to suit all shapes and sizes. Solid, easy to operate controls add to a beautifully made driver-focused cabin.
Practicality & boot space
Slightly annoying boot-lip limits practicality
With a 312-litre boot the Scirocco R is not terribly easy to load, thanks to an awkwardly shaped hatch and a high loading lip. A strict four seater, the rear seats fold flat helping to liberate up to 1,006 litres of boot space. With the seats folded down, the rear of the car is at least as big as key rivals, and almost as spacious as those offered by family hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus, or Volkswagen Golf.
Reliability & safety
VW build quality and full marks in crash testing
Beautifully crafted inside and out, the Scirocco R has a full five star Euro NCAP test rating. Owners of the outgoing model praised the car's build quality and braking performance, which bodes well for the updated car. Parts and engines in the Scirocco R have been used extensively elsewhere in the range and Volkswagen reliability is generally good.
Engines, drive & performance
Fantastic fun to drive but firm ride is hard to ignore
Under the bonnet, the Scirocco R houses a tweaked version of the Golf GTI's 2.0-litre turbocharged engine - the result is in an impressive 276bhp. When fitted with the optional DSG gearbox, the car is capable of getting from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds, or 5.7 seconds with the standard manual gearbox.
The styling of the car may have been updated but the Scirocco R is still based on the old Golf chassis and it means it can't quite match the handling of newer rivals like the Seat Leon Cupra or the Golf R. The new Audi TT is also likely to outperform the Scirocco in the bends when it arrives later this year. The Scirocco R is far from poor to drive but it's starting to show its age and cars in its segment of the market have undeniably improved since the car first arrived on the scene.
Price, value for money & options
Performance cars are rarely cheap
We would never describe the Scirocoo R as cheap to buy, however it does at least stand out from the standard car thanks to the sportier bodywork, range-topping performance and upgraded interior. That includes special 'R' branded upholstery, 'Carbon Race' and gloss black trim, and stainless steel pedals. Scirocco R models also get 19-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, and an adjustable sports suspension as standard.
The problem with the cost of the car comes when you consider that the Golf R and Seat Leon Cupra are both cheaper and better to drive. You will have to be smitten with the Scirocco's coupe looks to opt for it over these models.
The Scirocco R should at least hold its value relatively well, as Volkswagens usually do very well with residuals.