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New 2012 Volkswagen Scirocco R: review

Published: June 18, 2012 | 7:17 am
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Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the new 2012 Volkswagen Scirocco R with specs, fuel economy and rating.

Volkswagen have been clever by introducing its Scirocco coupe in full-on ‘R’ guise rather than offering a range that begins with some modestly powered versions.

Toyota’s stunning price of $29,990 on its all-new 86 coupe and the Hyundai Veloster at $23,990 have turned the suddenly revived sports coupe market in Australia on its head. The Scirocco R’s price tag of $47,490 (manual) and $49,990 (DSG) is relatively high in comparison. And these priced don’t include government or dealer delivery charges.
The Scirocco R comes with a high-end audio system that has eight speakers, six-disc CD changer, MP3 playback with title display and Aux multi-media socket in the centre console.

The Scirocco is virtually a Volkswagen Golf with a sports coupe body. The Scirocco R replaces the three-door Golf R however, the five-door Golf R is still around as an alternative to those who need the convenience of rear seats with easy access. Naturally rear seat space in the Scirocco isn’t as good as that in the Golf, but it’s perfectly acceptable for children, and even adults for short to medium trips.
We love the styling of the Scirocco, especially in topline R format. It’s distinctive without being over the top and drew plenty of attention from other drivers and pedestrians during our road test period. The front air dam and rear roof-mounted spoiler ensure aerodynamic qualities of the car are maintained at speed or when there are strong crosswinds.
Standard LED daytime running lights flanking the front air inlets and twin oval tailpipes tipped in chrome and smoke tinted lights add a neat flavour to the Scirocco R’s design. Good looking 19-inch alloy wheels with 235/35 R 19 tyres are also standard fitment in the Scirocco R.
Inside, the styling is as stand out as the exterior. The front sports seats use a fabric named Kyalami after the South African Grand Prix circuit. The instruments are in aluminium inserts and have white backlighting and blue pointers. The leather bound three-spoke multi-function steering wheel has a flat bottom.

The Scirocco R hasn’t yet been crash tested by ANCAP but has active safety features that include electronic stabilisation programme, anti-slip regulation, and an electronic differential lock.
Using a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the Scirocco R produces 188kW of power at 6000 rpm, and 330Nm all the way from 2500 to 5000 rpm. It can be mated with either a six-speed manual or dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission.
Apart from not having all-wheel drive, the Scirocco R and Golf R share the same platform and engine. However, the Scirocco has the GTI’s electronic differential. VW’s variable suspension dampers, that can be switched between ‘comfort’, ‘normal’ and ‘sport’, are standard in the hot Scirocco.

Our car came with the convenience of the auto, but we couldn’t help but hanker after the additional control offered by a manual. After all this is a sports model. Volkswagen Scirocco coupe sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds with the manual gearbox, the lighting fast shifts in the DSG trims this to a neat 6.0 seconds.
Interestingly the Scirocco is about three tenths of a second slower than the Golf R in these acceleration tests. That’s because of the use of all-wheel-drive in the Golf, thus killing wheelspin before it even starts. At the other end of the acceleration scale slowing down can be even more important than speeding up. The VW Scirocco R has ventilated brake discs all round, these have distinctively painted black callipers.
Speed is hauled off quickly and positively without the slightest sign of brake lock up.
While performance is great in on-road driving once the hot Scirocco is up to speed we found it painful in slow traffic at times. The combination of a DSG that was sometimes slow on take-up and turbo lag means the Volkswagen’s not-a-happy-chappy at times. Handling is neat and nimble, with the gorgeous little coupe coping with all we threw at it, both during our extended road test, as well as on the icy roads we encountered at the vehicle’s launch in Tasmania a few weeks back.

The hot variant we’ve just spent a week reviewing is a super machine that provides performance and enjoyment in spades. But it’s your move on price, Mr Volkswagen…
Volkswagen Scirocco R 2.0-litre
Price: $47,490 (manual) and $49,990 (DSG)
Warranty: three years roadside assist
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder, 188kW/330Nm
Weight: 1371kg
Transmission: six-speed manual or sports automatic dual clutch, front wheel drive
Thirst: 8.1l/100km, 192CO2 emissions


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