EXTRA OOMPH Earlier this year, the Scirocco got the uprated 168bhp diesel powerplant it was so desperately crying out for. Ian Robertson tests the VW with extra zip
The Scirocco has to be the ultimate guilty pleasure. While it’s billed as a four-seater coupé, in reality, there’s only room for two and some shopping on the back seats. It’s a car that gives you good reason to leave the family at home and enjoy the open road by yourself. And while the 138bhp launch diesel’s stats weren’t bad, the new 168bhp version takes things to a whole new level.
It’s a great looking car, and judging by the thumbs up that the Scirocco received from passers by during our test, the buying public agree too. The Viper Green paintwork of the test car won’t be to all tastes, but it certainly makes the Volkswagen stand out from the sea of humdrum silvers in supermarket car parks. If you are familiar with the Eos or latest Golf, then you’ll be at home tucked into the Scirocco. A lower stance and cosier interior are the main differences, but the switchgear and layout is familiar to many VW products. That’s no bad thing, as build quality is first rate – everything is robust, clearly laid out and well engineered. There are quality soft-touch plastics throughout and the steering wheel is flat-bottomed, which adds to the sporty flavour. The leather sports seats fitted to our test car grip tightly, as if you’re in a bear-hug, and provide excellent levels of support.
The driving position itself is first rate, with so many levels of adjustment that everyone will be able to find a decent position no matter what their size or shape. The only minor gripe is that in tight parking spaces, access can be restricted due to the lengthy doors, though this can be said of almost all coupés. Fire up the engine for the first time and you’ll be relieved that it’s the new common-rail 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine under the nose, as it’s smoother, quieter and more economical than the pumpe düse engine previously fitted to earlier VW products. Performance is pacey with plenty of mid-range grunt, aided by the smooth six-speed manual gearbox.
Handling is excellent and there’s plenty of grip, while the ride is adjustable courtesy of the ACC system – Volkswagen’s Adaptive Chassis Control. This gives you a choice of three different settings – sport, normal and comfort. The comfortable setting is exactly that – it feels like the best compromise between the three and makes the car easy to live with on a day to day basis. Refinement is a yet another strong point, making the Scirocco a great companion on both back roads and on the motorway.
Compared to its rivals, the Scirocco is a veritable bargain at £22,355, possessing the middle ground between mainstream coupés, and those with upmarket brand cachet. It is even £95 cheaper than its oil burning hot-hatch brother – the Golf GTD. Standard equipment is impressive, too – the list includes dual-zone climate control, rain and light sensors, 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass and an auto-dimming rear view mirror, as well as a long list of other kit. There are few cars on the market with the same level of road presence and as generous a goody count.
RIVALS: AUDI TT COUPÉ 2.0 TDI QUATTRO, BMW 120d M SPORT COUPÉ, PEUGEOT RCZ 2 HDi 163
- Engine: 1968cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel with particulate filter
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max power: 168bhp at 4,200rpm
- Max torque: 258lb ft at 1,750 to 2,500rpm
- Max towing weight: n/a
- Max speed: 138mph
- 0-62mph: 8.1secs
- Combined consumption: 53.3mpg
- CO2 emissions (taxband): 139g/km (E)
- Bootspace: 292/755litres
- Insurance group: 14
Great value, fantastic to drive, superb quality, decent performance, low emissions, good economy
Really a two-seater, with rear leg and headroom limited