Road Tests

Road Test: Was the VW Scirocco ever cool?

Time 4:54 pm, December 20, 2008

WAS the Scirocco ever really cool? It may have been when first launched, back in the 70s, but the Golf GTI followed a few years later – and in creating an entirely new, must-have hot-hatch sector, effectively stole the Scirocco’s cult car thunder.

It dragged on, updated but essentially unchanged, for nearly two decades, before quietly being forgotten.

How dare we treat it so badly! For now, it’s back, meaner and moodier than ever before. Back with a bang. It still uses Golf bits, not least the 197bhp engine, but has a presence it has lacked since the very first model hit our streets. This thing is bad. And very, very cool.

The Car Dealer test model came in the colour to have at the moment, lime green. Set off by huge turbine-style alloys, and with the GT model’s standard darkened rear glass, it was very striking. Low, long, wide, with hunched wheelarches and a stand-out stretched window and roofline, it was more like a slammed slot car than a four-seater. What’s more, the nose is pointy and menacing, paying homage to the original.

Inside, the outside’s bling makes way for moody black. It’s dark, particularly the leather-clad GT (the ribbed hide looks great, though). It’s as per an Eos up front. The interest comes in the back. There, two seats sit, yielding – get this – space for adults. Yes, this is a genuine four-seater, and a comfortable one, too. You won’t believe the space in the back of a Scirocco, nor the depth of the useful boot.

There are doubts, however, that it’s erred too much towards comfort, despite the looks. For a coupe it has a fantastic ride and GT models get standard electronic dampers with two settings – Sport and Comfort. Don’t bother with Sport, as it’s far too jiggly and unsettled. Instead, savour the absorbency of Comfort, soaking up all but the deepest potholes.

The 2.0-litre turbo is refined, responsive and fast; and mated to the brilliant DSG gearbox, going quick could not be easier. Indeed, the high-rev vim of the Scirocco is far more vigorous than any Golf I’ve experienced. This is a quick bit of kit, but very easy with it. Indeed, over-light brakes are probably too easy – the pedal is dead – and the steering is twirlingly easy without being edgy.

Hmm. This was odd. So, in good Car Dealer tradition, we turned the wick up. And the Scirocco came alive. Flowing across awful B-roads with total composure, it was incisive, alert, composed, had bags of grip and a planted, heavyweight feel. Chuck-able without vice, the limits are high, but so is the involvement. Best of both worlds? You bet.

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But do you know what’s coolest of all? Prices. VW could charge the earth, but instead they want £20,940, or £22,270 for our DSG model. Golf GTI money, in other words.

No wonder VW dealers took 700 pre-orders even before launch, and are now quoting
a 12-week waiting list. The Scirocco is, at last, cool enough to be hot property.


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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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