Volkswagen Scirocco


Debut: 2008
Maker: Volkswagen
Predecessor: Corrado



 Published on 8 Jun 2008
All rights reserved. 


"Just watch out how much of this unrealistic proportion could make into production", I thought.

Seeing the reborn Scirocco, I can't help sighing how long we have been missing an affordable Volkswagen coupe !

Volkswagen made two generations of Scirocco - Mk1 from 1974 and Mk2 from 1982 - between them some 800,000 units were produced. Following them was Corrado, a great handling coupe that we loved but unfortunately the public didn't. Volkswagen killed it in 1995 without designating a successor, since then for a decade the German giant car maker did not have any coupes shown on its price lists. What a shame !

Two years ago, Wolfsburg showed a concept car called "IROC", a name extracted from SCIROCCO. Its purpose couldn't be clearer, that is, to pave the road for the resurrected Scirocco. Depending on your preference, you may call it an aggressive interpretation of hot hatch or a "shooting brake coupe". Volkswagen apparently preferred the latter. It insisted the car was a coupe instead of hot hatch, because otherwise it would be meaningless to sell the car alongside Golf GTI, which provides the mechanical basis for IROC.

  

The production car lost 80 percent of the emotion of IROC...

I remember at that moment I wasn't too convinced with the concept. In my understanding, a coupe should not have a vertical tailgate. This simply works against my classical school sense of beauty. Nevertheless, apart from the wrong tail, the design, responsible by then VW design boss Murat Gunak, was quite striking. It had a coke bottle shape body, very wide fenders, huge wheels and the front slope looked very fast. Just watch out how much of this unrealistic proportion could make into production, I thought.

Unfortunately, during the productionisation process the Scirocco really lost much of that sexy proportion. Even worse, Murak Gunak left Volkswagen due to a big management shake up. The new styling team of Walter de Silva scrapped the radical front mask of IROC and adopted a very conservative design instead. The rear lights design are equally conventional. Now the production car lost 80 percent of the emotion of the concept car and went back to the typical Volkswagen group style. In other words, German elegance and restraint.


Slimmer windows and kick-up rear side windows have some sporting pretensions, though still not enough to offset the vertical hatchback...

Nevertheless, under natural sunlight the Scirocco still has more road presence than your regular Golf GTI. Being 66 mm lower yet 50 mm wider, it has stronger sense of speed and roadholding. The slimmer windows and kick-up rear side windows have some sporting pretensions, though still not enough to offset the vertical hatchback. Most people will see it as a crossover between hatchback and coupe, something like Opel Astra GTC.

Inside the cabin, the Scirocco feels more special. First, you drop into a bucket seat which is mounted 10 mm lower than Golf GTI. Then you will feel yourself closely enveloped by the low roof, high shoulder line and thick C pillars as in an Audi TT. Visibility is much poorer than Golf, but isn't it exactly how a coupe should look like ? Facing you is a familiar quality dashboard and console, this time come from Volkswagen Eos. It looks smarter than that of Golf. At the back are two individual bucket seats. They are not as spacious as in Golf, of course, but still offer decent comfort for average size adults in short trips. Boot space is 60 liters less than Golf.
 
Cabin feels enveloped around you...

We seems to have spent too many words on the design and packaging of Scirocco. Never mind, its mechanical aspect is more straightforward. Based on the PQ35 platform of Golf and shares its 2578 mm wheelbase, the Scirocco adopts the wider tracks of Passat CC. This, together with a lower center of gravity and a stiffer steel monocoque, should improve handling. The MacPherson struts and multi-link suspensions employ stiffer springs, plus a standard electronic adaptive damping to show its superiority over Golf. Control system offers 3 driver selectable modes (Comfort, Normal and Sport) to alter suspension stiffness, throttle response and weighting of the electrical assisted steering.

On the road, Scirocco displays a very matured ride and handling combination. Its chassis feels rock solid. Ride is smooth and well damped, a strong advantage over most affordable coupes. No matter roadholding or body control, it feels superior to Golf GTI, giving the driver higher confidence to attack corners. On the other side, the Scirocco is still tuned to be safe and forgiving to handle. Push it near its limit, it will understeer progressively to swing you back to the safe side. Back off throttle mid-corner and it will tighten its line a little, without any drama. As in Golf, the electrical power steering is one of the best of its kind. While not as feelsome as a good old hydraulic steering, it is accurate, free of torque steer and the assistance builds up naturally.


No matter roadholding or body control, it feels superior to Golf GTI...

Powertrain is another strong card of Scirocco. Initially Volkswagen offers it with 3 direct injection turbocharged petrol engines. At the top is the 200 horsepower 2.0TSI (previously known as TFSI), familiar to the owners of Golf GTI. Smooth and flexible power enables the Scirocco to sprint from 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds. Flat out it will top 145 mph. The other two engines are both 1.4-liter TSI, one employs Twincharger (supercharger + turbocharger) for 160 horsepower and another employs only a small turbo to deliver 122 hp. I love the 2.0TSI, but my heart always goes to the smaller forced induction engines, not only because of my green standpoint but also because they are lighter thus improve handling. No matter which engine, the driver of Scirocco will be very happy.

Equally satisfying is the transmission choices - a slick 6-speed manual, a 6-speed wet clutch DSG for the powerful 2.0TSI and a 7-speed dry clutch new DSG for both 1.4TSI. No other car makers will serve their clients better in this aspect.

If you love Golf GTI like us, you will love Scirocco even more, because it possesses all the good qualities of Golf GTI and pushes further in ride and handling. However, if you are looking for a beautiful coupe or the most exciting drive, Scirocco will not be the right answer. After all, it is actually a hot hatch.
Verdict: 
 Published on 26 Nov 2009 All rights reserved. 
Scirocco R

It might not be the ultimate hot hatch, but it is definitely the most desirable until now...

Having just fended off the challenge from Renault Sport Megane, Ford Focus RS is facing another strong rival, Volkswagen Scirocco R. On paper, the fast Ford has all the superior ingredients to beat the fast Volkswagen - a bigger engine with one more cylinder and 40 more horsepower (not to mention 66 lb-ft of extra torque), a genuine limited slip differential and a torque-steer-countering front suspension geometry. However, sometimes things are not as straightforward as calculation. Volkswagen group has long been masterminding the art of hot hatches since the first Golf GTi. In the following years, fast Golfs - let it be GTi, G60, VR6 or R32 - consistently won our applauses. In particular, the Mk V and Mk IV GTi remain as our favourite everyday hot hatches. However, when it comes to challenge the fabulous Ford Focus RS, Scirocco R is our first choice.

Why ? Although Volkswagen is also introducing a 4-wheel-drive Golf R at the same time, I believe Scirocco R, with its lighter and more honest FWD layout, plus the inherent benefits of its low center of gravity and wide stance, should be the better driver's car. If you park Scirocco R alongside Focus RS, you will see the Volkswagen looks much sportier in profile. You sit low in its bucket seat as in a sports car, a sharp contrast to the high-mounted, unsatisfying driving position of the Ford. Visually, the Scirocco is also by far more desirable. Its exterior is sporty yet understated, unlike the boy-racer Focus. Build quality looks superior outside, and win by a million miles inside the cabin. In short, if feels far more expensive than the Ford.

When you start their motors, you will notice Ford's Volvo-sourced 5-pot engine has more noticeable turbo lag at the bottom end. When it starts picking up at 2000 rpm, it surges forward with mountains of torque. Its mid-range punch is sensational for a hot hatch. The Volkswagen's 2.0 TFSI engine is basically the same unit serving under the bonnet of Audi S3 and SEAT Leon Cupra R. It produces 265 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque from 2500-5000 rpm. For a 2-liter engine, its power output is remarkable, but it is no match with the Ford's 305 hp and 324 lb-ft. Nevertheless, 2.0TFSI is a sweet engine. It revs smoothly and linearly from the bottom end towards its 6350 rpm redline. Besides, Volkswagen's 6-speed manual gearbox has a far slicker gearchange than Ford's notchy unit. What it lost in power is compensated in mechanical refinement.


In most circumstances, it can keep up with Ford Focus RS in the twisty...

In fact, refinement can be enhanced further by opting for the £1300 DSG gearbox. Its seamless shift and responsive manner - not to mention the availability of automatic mode if you are tired of traffic jam - always put a smile on your face. The DSG box also cuts 0-60 mph acceleration by a couple of tenths. Surprisingly, this actually puts the Scirocco R ahead of Focus RS. According to company figures, the DSG-equipped Scirocco R takes just 5.5 seconds to go from rest to 60 mph, 0.1 sec less than what Ford claimed. Admittedly, Volkswagen used to be slightly optimistic on its R-cars (do you really believe Passat R36 can do 0-60 in 5.3 sec ?). Anyway, in the real world the Scirocco R feels just as fast as Focus RS. Its defeat in power is fully recovered by its faster gearbox and a kerb weight that undercut its rival by more than 100 kg.

On twistier B-roads, our worry about torque steer is proved to be unfound. Volkswagen has tamed the Scirocco R very well. Its brake-actuated XDS (pseudo) electronic differential is so well tuned that you rarely find its front-end grip wanting. You need to go very hard in tight corners to spin its inside front wheel. In addition to its wide tracks and low center of gravity, the Scirocco flows in corners. In most circumstances, it can keep up with the Ford in the twisty. Only on very demanding roads you will find the LSD of Ford contributing to extra maneuverability. Moreover, the Scirocco offers more ride comfort thanks to its standard electronic adaptive dampers. The way it smoothen country roads is even more impressive than the already capable Ford. You also get a sophisticated ACC (Adaptive Chasis Control) to alter damping stiffness, throttle response and steering weighting, very much like driving a premium car.

Flaws are rather minor - the engine could sound more thrilling, the steering could still be more communicative, that's all. Overall, Ford Focus RS is still the choice for raw excitement, but most people will find the Scirocco a better car all-round. Its build quality and mechanical refinement are clearly superior to its rival, and its price is just marginally higher. While I won't say it is the ultimate hot hatch, it is definitely the most desirable until now.

Verdict:
 Published on 13 Feb 2015 All rights reserved. 
Scirocco facelift (2014)


The automotive world is moving on, and moving quicker and quicker. 6 and a half years ago the reborn Scirocco satisfied us so much with its efficient engines and gearboxes, good performance, fine handling and ride as well as exceptional style and build quality. It was rated at nearly the top of the hot hatch class as a result. However, the Scirocco was left mostly unchanged in the following years. Built upon the PQ35 platform of Golf Mk5, it skipped the update that Golf enjoyed in Mk6 and refused to switch to the latest MQB platform. It was left outdated and overwhelmed by countless of new rivals. Whether it will follow the footprints of Eos to retire without replacement I am not sure, but this overdue facelift is certainly not a good sign.

You wouldn’t expect a facelift to put the Scirocco back to contention for class laurel. Neither would you expect it to be so mild. A facelift is supposed to lift the style, but this car actually has its aesthetic downgraded, especially the Scirocco R (pictured below), whose angular front bumper and intakes destroyed the coherence of the original design. Without a beautiful look, the Scirocco has very slim chance of resurgence (it sold just over 23,000 copies in 2013). The interior used to be its pride, but now it looks a little dated, although build quality is still better than most others. Volkswagen added an extra instrument pod above its center console. It houses a turbo boost gauge, oil temperature meter and lap timer. This might sound sensible on a GT-R or Evo, but on this car it looks like a joke.



Predictably, the 2.0 TSI engine is updated to the latest EA888 unit with dual-mode injection, 2-stage exhaust valve lift and exhaust manifold-integrated turbocharger. Power and torque are increased by 20 hp and 51 lbft respectively, though it still trails the Golf GTI with performance pack. Likewise, the Scirocco R gains another 15 hp to 280 hp but it is still some 20 hp and 22 lbft shy of Golf R. Moreover, it remains front-wheel-drive. The Scirocco R is not short of straight line pace, but its handling is not as sharp as Golf R, with a less incisive steering and more terminal understeer. Its tail doesn’t dance according to throttle, so the sense of man-machine interaction is thin. Nowadays many hot hatches are more entertaining to drive.

Moreover, the Volkswagen pseudo coupe is overpriced for what it delivers. BMW M135i and M235i, Audi TT, Renault Megane RS275, Seat Leon Cupra and Golf R are all better cars and relatively bargains. VW has to rethink its strategy.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission

Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)

0-100 mph (sec)

Scirocco 1.4TSI Twincharger
2008
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4256 / 1810 / 1400 mm
2578 mm
Inline-4
1390 cc
DOHC 16 valves
Turbo + supercharger
DI
160 hp / 6000 rpm
177 lbft / 1750-4500 rpm
7-speed twin-clutch

F: strut
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
225/45VR17
1285 kg
135 mph (c)
7.5 (c)

-

Scirocco 2.0TSI
2008
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4256 / 1810 / 1400 mm
2578 mm
Inline-4
1984 cc
DOHC 16 valves, VVT
Turbo, VIM
DI
200 hp / 5100 rpm
207 lbft / 1800-5000 rpm
6-speed twin-clutch or
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
225/45VR17
1318 kg (DSG) / 1298 kg (6M)
145 mph (c)
DSG: 6.7 (c)
6M: 6.7*
6M: 17.0*

Scirocco R
2009
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4264 / 1810 / 1394 mm
2578 mm
Inline-4
1984 cc
DOHC 16 valves, VVT
Turbo
DI
265 hp / 6000 rpm
258 lbft / 2500-5000 rpm
6-speed twin-clutch or
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
235/40ZR18
1364 kg (DSG)
155 mph (limited)
DSG: 5.5 (c) / 5.2***
6M: 5.8**
DSG: 12.5***
6M: 12.8**




Performance tested by: *Autocar, **Auto Zeitung, ***C&D





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission

Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed

0-60 mph (sec)

0-100 mph (sec)
Scirocco 2.0TSI
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4256 / 1810 / 1406 mm
2578 mm
Inline-4
1984 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT, VVL
Turbo
DI
220 hp / 4500-6200 rpm
258 lbft / 1500-4400 rpm
6-speed twin-clutch or
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
235/40R18
1319 kg (DSG) / 1294 kg (6M)
DSG: 152 mph (c)
6M: 153 mph (c)
DSG: 6.2 (c)
6M: 6.2 (c)
-
Scirocco R
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4248 / 1820 / 1398 mm
2578 mm
Inline-4
1984 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT, VVL
Turbo
DI
280 hp / 6000 rpm
258 lbft / 2500-5000 rpm
6-speed twin-clutch or
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
235/40R18
1375 kg (DSG) / 1351 kg (6M)
155 mph (limited)

DSG: 5.2 (c)
6M: 5.4 (c)
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Scirocco R



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