Review

Volkswagen Scirocco R coupe

Price  £32,895 - £34,390

Volkswagen Scirocco R coupe

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • High-quality interior
  • Strong performance
  • Sporty styling
Cons
  • Cheaper, faster rivals available
  • Impractical boot
  • High price

At a glance

The greenest
R 2.0 TSI DSG 3dr £34,390
The cheapest
R 2.0 TSI 3dr £32,895
The fastest
R 2.0 TSI DSG 3dr £34,390
Top of the range
R 2.0 TSI DSG 3dr £34,390

“The Volkswagen Scirocco R has a powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and sleek looks, but it’s expensive and beginning to feel its age.”

The Volkswagen Scirocco R is the performance-orientated version of the standard Scirocco, itself a rival to sporty cars like the BMW 2 Series and Renault Megane Coupe. If you’re considering a Scirocco R, you should also look at the latest Audi TT Coupe, as well as the powerful (and more modern) Volkswagen Golf R and Ford Focus RS.

The VW Scirocco R was updated in 2014, increasing the power of its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine to 276bhp. This facelift also added aerodynamic 'blades' to the front bumper and aesthetic upgrades such as a new spoiler and exhaust pipes. However, despite these improvements, the Scirocco R has been around for almost seven years now, and in that time performance coupes and hatchbacks have moved on somewhat: the new Ford Focus RS has 345bhp, for instance, while the Audi TT has one of the nicest interiors on the market.

The Scirocco R is still a handsome car with excellent fit and finish, though, and a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds means you won’t be left wanting for outright performance.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.4 / 5

Economy is reasonable for a car with this much performance

If you’re in the market for a Scirocco R, it’s fair to say that speed and driving thrills are more of a priority than frugality. Even so, the Scirocco R shouldn’t break the bank in terms of running costs. If you choose a manual gearbox, fuel economy of 35.3mpg is bearable, though CO2 emissions of 187g/km mean you’ll be paying £265 a year in road tax. The automatic DSG gearbox improves these figures slightly: choosing this option sees fuel economy rise to 35.8mpg, while road tax drops to £225 a year. Servicing costs should be reasonable and Volkswagen’s fixed-price service plans make budgeting easy.

Engines, drive & performance

4 / 5

Fantastic fun to drive but firm ride is hard to ignore

The Scirocco R has the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine as the Volkswagen Golf GTI, although performance tweaks mean it produces an impressive 276bhp. That translates into a seriously swift car, capable of going from 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds; this time drops to 5.5 seconds with the automatic DSG gearbox.

While you’re unlikely to really need more power, the nature of performance-orientated cars means many buyers will be tempted by the Ford Focus RS’ 345bhp engine, while the (cheaper) Volkswagen Golf R boasts extra power and a quicker 0-62mph time. On the road, the Scirocco R is enjoyable to drive, but the stiff sports suspension can make it uncomfortable at times, so check you’re happy with this on any test drive.

Because it’s based on previous-generation VW Golf underpinnings, the Scirocco R can’t match the quiet, smooth driving characteristics of the Audi TT, while the SEAT Leon Cupra feels sharper to drive. The Scirocco R isn’t a bad car to drive at all; it’s just that newer cars are better.

Interior & comfort

2.8 / 5

The interior is a lovely place to sit, but the Scirocco R can be uncomfortable

As this is the high-performance version of the standard Scirocco, Volkswagen has fitted stiffer, adjustable sports suspension and lowered the ride height by 10mm. While that means there’s almost no body lean in corners, even small imperfections in the road are felt inside, and this can become tiring on a long journey.

If you’re happy with this compromise, the Scirocco R is generally very enjoyable to drive, with specially tuned power steering providing plenty of ‘feel’ through the wheel and making the car easy to place accurately on the road.

Inside, the front sports seats are extremely comfortable, even on long journeys, while rear passengers get more headroom than you might expect given the Scirocco’s low, sleek, coupe roofline. All the switches are logically laid out and easy to operate, and although the Golf R boasts a newer dashboard design, the Scirocco R still feels pretty special inside.

Practicality & boot space

2.6 / 5

The boot is a good size, but it’s high-set and awkward to load

The Scirocco R benefits from a 310-litre boot – not bad for a coupe and almost as much as family hatchbacks like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. It’s a shame, given this ostensible practicality, that the Scirocco R’s boot has a high, awkwardly shaped hatch, which makes loading bags tricky. The rear seats do at least fold flat, revealing a 1,006-litre load area.

Reliability & safety

3.6 / 5

An excellent safety rating, but reliability niggles cause concern

While everything about the Scirocco R feels solid and well built, a 99th-place finish (out of 200 cars) in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey doesn’t inspire enormous confidence, while a 128th-place rating for reliability adds further concern. Scirocco R owners can, at least, take reassurance from a full five-star crash safety rating from Euro NCAP.

Price, value for money & options

3 / 5

Reasonable value for money, but the competition is stiff

As the highest-specification model in the Scirocco range, the Scirocco R can hardly be called cheap. However, it’s a high-performance coupe and feels very well equipped inside and out. All Scirocco Rs come with R-branded leather seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, bright bi-xenon headlights, sat nav, LED daytime running lights and adjustable sports suspension as standard. Despite these bells and whistles and its sleek looks, the VW Golf R and SEAT Leon Cupra are cheaper to buy and better to drive, while the Audi TT feels more ‘special’ and the Ford Focus RS offers even more performance. With rivals like this, the Scirocco R is hard to recommend.

Last updated 
5 Apr 2016
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