Sleek and powerful, the Scirocco R is an athletic beast.
Sleek and powerful, the Scirocco R is an athletic beast.

Enjoy a truly intoxicating ride

ISN'T it nice to be pleasantly surprised? In our house it's those simple things - enough milk in the bottle for my morning coffee, the toddler making it through a day of toilet training without any accidents, finding the TV remote where you left it - that are enough to get us busting a few happy dance moves.

Throw in an electricity bill that doesn't trouble $400, an unexpected discount on six bottles of your favourite tipple and fitting into those jeans from your 20s and the dance really gets cranking.

There's frenetic jumping, excited hand waving and extreme bottom shaking to accompany the whoops of delight, sometimes even a breakdance slide thrown in for good measure.

Yes, it is nice to be pleasantly surprised.

There was some happy dancing going on when we picked up the Scirocco R too - thankfully on the inside.

The Scirocco R is so stylishly different from anything else that bears the VW badge that it is hard to see why this European favourite has taken so long to grace our shores.

Volkswagen, it seems, was afraid the Scirocco would grab sales from the Golf R but the latter is no longer on sale here and the coupe now has a chance to do a happy dance of its own.

 

Comfort

The outside of the Scirocco is so refreshingly different that it is a little disappointing to see the characteristically dark VW tones splashed across the interior.

Still, a flash of brushed metal and those bright blue speedo needles add a hint of danger while the triangular door handles and performance steering weigh in with a touch of personality.

VW has opted for moulded two-tone micro-fibre seats in lieu of leather and they have done jolly well. They are comfortable and supportive and pretty easy to enter and exit.

The front seats slide and tilt to allow access to the rear where legroom is pretty good but taller passengers may battle to avoid brushing the sloping roof.

The boot is surprisingly deep but the small opening makes it difficult to load anything with bulk.

The dash is nicely laid out and the buttons and dials of a quality that befits the price tag.

On the road

Turn on the Scirocco R and feel the tingle down your spine, the throaty purr and underlying zing giving a small indication of the exciting ride that lies ahead.

Official figures have the Scirocco covering 100kmh sprint in six seconds but it feels faster, much faster. Under the hood is the reliable 2.0-litre turbo that serves the Golfs so well and pushes out 188kW of power and 330Nm of torque.

It is an impressive work centre with an excellent mid-range that keeps the oomph especially up steep hills and around hairpin bends.

This is a car that goes pretty much where you point it but in a way that is far from boring.

It responds quickly to the right foot, keeps its line even when pushed through corners and flies around without raising a sweat.

You would think the Scirocco would struggle to control all that power with the front wheels alone but the extended electronic differential lock, which is integrated into the ESP system helps keep the car in hand with excellent traction control and minimum torque steer.

Adaptive chassis control changes the damping of the suspension with Sport mode producing more zip while Comfort mode offers a smoother ride.

What do you get?

Europeans expect a lot in an inclusions list and it is hardly surprising that the Scirocco, which has found such favour on the continent, is happy to oblige.

Standard features include 19-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, bi-xenon headlights, dual-zone climate control, touch-screen sat nav, iPod connectivity, rear sensors and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.

Safety systems include six airbags for front and rear passengers, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist, traction control and stability control.

Other contenders

Competition is pretty lean with the Renault Megane RS 250($46,990), Ford Focus RS ($42,990), Mini Cooper S ($40,700) and Volvo C30 T5 ($39,490) the front runners with the Audi TTS ($98,900) thrown in at the high end of the mix.

The lowdown

With the interest our test car garnered from colleagues, neighbours and passers-by in just one week, one has the feeling that VW may regret not bringing the Scirocco R to Australian shores earlier.

The performance and sport feel it delivers is rare sub $50,000 so all bets are that it will certainly make up for lost time.

 

VITAL STATISTICS

Model: VW Scirocco R.

Details: Three-door front-wheel drive coupe.

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol generating maximum power of 188kW @ 6000rpm and peak torque of 330Nm @ 2500rpm.

Transmission: Six-speed double-clutch automatic.

Consumption: 8.2 litres/100km (combined average).

Bottom line: from $47,490

 

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