19 Oct 2010

Roc goes HARDCORE: Volkswagen Scirocco R

Volkswagen lets its hair down and goes chasing for driving fun with the new Scirocco R. Will the most potent variant yet of the coupé-hatchback thrill? 

Make: Volkswagen

Model: Scirocco R

Release Date: September 2010

Price: S$170,800

Eschewing  the concept of a classic coupé has not prevented the Volkswagen Scirocco from being a sales success, myself included has been seduced into an ownership of this sexed-up hatchback. Despite the immense popularity of the coupé-hatchback, this Scirocco R will probably remain a rare sight on our roads due to the S$40,000 premium it asks for over the base model.

Disco's back...on the roads. Note those Donna Summer approved LED day running lights.

The hardcore R-badged Scirocco is dressed with niceties like gloss black finished door mirrors, grille and rear diffuser, and as expected, the Donna Summer approved LED day running lights are included as well. With an enlarged roof spoiler, steroids-induced bodykit and wide-set twin exhaust, the Scirocco R is clearly loaded with details to remind everyone of its potential and that this is top end model.

The most potent variant of the firm’s Golf-based coupé is equipped with a highly tuned 2.0 turbocharged engine (shared with the Audi S3 and VW Golf R) that puts out 256bhp and 330Nm of torque; all of which are channeled through the front wheels only.

This marks the first time a VW R model does without four-wheel drive and those hopping for some 80’s mad torque-steer will be disappointed as VW has installed a gate-keeper called the XDS, an electronic differential system that keeps the front wheels in orderly fashion.

Perhaps the R stands for raucous, as the soundtrack from the turbocharged four-pot is burbly and in particular, above 3000rpm there is a spine-tinkling sensational sound bursting from the fat exhaust. Coupled with a seemingly never-ending wave of torque, the Scirocco R is always game for more speed, as long as you can find the roads for it.

The hard work at gym has paid off.  

Guess this is a rare moment where the Germans let their hair down and allow the Scirocco R to go without a 4wd system, or is this for the sake of product differentiation? Decide for yourselves but the end result is a product with a non-intrusive nanny device and a much livelier drive compared to the Golf R without have to lug an extra 102kg.

Perhaps the most impressive bit of the hardcore Scirocco is that despite the ultra aggressive 19-inch rubber, there is a well modulated ride. Bear in mind that the three-way selective adaptive dampers, allowing Comfort and Sport modes are even more aggressive than the standard car. In fact, leagues ahead of its mechanical cousin the Audi S3.

Dancing blue dials distracts an otherwise bland interior. 
If there is a downside to confining the Scirocco R to front wheel drive, it could be the rare occasion of wheel spin and a 0.3 seconds deficit in getting from 0-100km/h compared to the Golf R. At 6.0 seconds, it’s respectable but the fun is in its in-gear acceleration.

In the end, the hot Scirocco does enough to continue Volkswagen’s run of excellent budget sports cars. The gym sessions at Wolfsburg have given the coupé-hatchback buffed up looks, grin-inducing dynamics and performance.

At a reasonable S$170,800 the Scirocco R might distract some from an Audi TT. It’s that good.

Engine 1,984cc turbocharged inline 4
Transmission 6-speed dual-clutch
Wheels Driven front
Max. Power 256bhp @ 6,000rpm
Max. Torque 330Nm @ 2,400-5,200rpm
0-100 km/h 6 seconds
Top speed 250km/h (limited)
Fuel Economy 12.5km/L
CO2 Emissions n.a
Dimensions (L x W x H) / Weight 4,248mmX1,820mmX1,394mm / 1,364kg
Price with COE* S$170,800