Alex Kersten 10 years ago

Volkswagen Scirocco R Review: Fast & Fun Without The ASBO

The Scirocco R is sexy, rapid and comfortable. But is it worth the premium over its rivals?

Remind me later


Is it fast?

Yes. Very. The Scirocco R’s blown 2.0-litre engine generates a whopping 261bhp and 258lb ft of torque. That means it’ll hit 62mph from dead in just 5.8sec before hitting its 155mph limiter. And all this is achieved through its front feet only.

Is it sexy?

Again: yes. Very. Unlike the Ford Focus ST which battled the R in our Car Battle video, there’s no question that the Scirocco’s a pretty car. It's even appealing to members of the opposite sex, which means we’re certainly onto a winner.
"Unlike its rivals, the R is able to transfer all its power onto the road, without the tyre-shredding ASBO lairiness or stool-inducing torque steer"
The exterior is smooth, squat and rounded, while the front and rear headlights are sleek and exude class. The chrome twin tail pipes are modest and the wheels not too ostentatious. The R’s in-yer-face green colour is the only potential let-down, but I’ll speak for all men and say it’s the only colour to choose.

What’s it like to drive?

Let’s recap: it’s a bright green coupe that plows its 261bhp through the fronts only. For that reason, the Scirocco R should drive and handle like a bag of chocolate nails… Far from it, though. The R is an astounding car to drive in all situations. It’ll cruise silently and cosset your loins when you’re on your way back from a mega gym session, but will happily accompany you on a tarmac torturing hoon on a Sunday. Unlike its rivals, the R is able to transfer all its power onto the road, without the tyre-shredding ASBO lairiness or stool-inducing torque steer. Another trick up the Scirocco’s sleeve is its optional 6-spd DSG gearbox. In short, it's bloody fantastic. Changes in gear are smooth and super fast, and the steering wheel paddles nice to pound. Steering and handling are great too (but maybe not as tight as a Megane RS which has a limited-slip diff) and the R's ride comfort is a pleasant surprise given the car's sporty nature.

How about the inside?

The Scirocco R’s interior is typically German. You can’t really criticise anything about it – it’s certainly screwed together well – but special it is not. Forget the sports seats and occasional R badges, and you could be sitting in any other VW. Where’s the flash of colour, where’s the personality?

Will my mates rate it?

It's properly stylish, mega fast and won’t be referred to as “vile” by the fairer sex (poor Focus ST...). The Scirocco R is also quite a rare sight on our roads, which is great if you want to stand out from blokey in his Golf GTi. If I had friends, I’m sure they’d jump in for a ride.

Can I afford it?

There’s always a but, and here it comes. The R with its fancy DSG ‘box costs £32,535 when new. That makes it £6,000 more expensive than a Renaultsport Megane (the most focussed and fun hot hatch on the planet). It’s also twice the price of our favourite, small hot hatch, the Fiesta ST, which won’t fail to excite any less than the VW.

Show me 3 used alternatives

1. Renaultsport Megane 225 ‘I see you baby, shakin’ that ass’ – remember that advert? If you do, you’ll be pleased to hear that just £3k gets you behind the wheel of a banging 2004 Megane 225. It’s good for 0-62mph in 6.5sec and will come with treats such as heated leather and ‘dat ass. 2. Alfa Romeo 147 GTA Like the Scirocco R, the Alfa offers massive power and performance (3.2-litre V6, 250bhp, 0-62mph: 6.3sec) in a stunning package. Okay, it can’t put its power down half as well as the R, but it’s still ridiculously fast and a bargain at £6k for an ’03 car with average miles. 3. BMW 130i A bit controversial, I know, but the rear-wheel drive, hot baby Beemer is not to be forgotten. Its smooth 3.0-litre straight six produces 265bhp, giving it a top speed limited to 155mph. The sprint from 0-62mph takes 6.2sec. Expect sat-nav, leather and a long MoT. It’s yours for £10k.