Certain cars look good in just about any colour. ViperGrün (or ViperGreen in regular English) happens to be the colour of our Scirocco R test car and I’ve got to say, it is looking pretty sweet. No, this is not a colour that just any car can pull off; imagine any other car within the VW family (or any other car for that matter) in this particular shade and I can imagine myself turning a little green already.
Several weeks back, we tested the VW Golf R, and having picked up the keys to the Scirocco R, I was interested to see how it would stack up against its R sibling. Essentially, almost every component from the Golf R has been shoehorned into the sleek, sexy profile of the Scirocco. Oh, but minus two driven wheels.
There no question about the aesthetic appeal of the Scirocco; it is undoubtedly the looker in the entire VW line-up. Parked under my porch, I noticed my neighbours, out for their morning walks, pointing and talking about the green car. Similar treatment was given to the Scirocco to make it visually more aggressive – front bumper has been restyled with larger air intakes and has a pair of integrated DRLs, there’s also new side skirts, a rear diffuser, and tailpipes on each corner on its rear. All these external changes brings a mean stance to the car, and distinctly marks the R apart from its TSI brothers.
Similar treatment has been dished out to the interior; leather wrapped, three-spoke, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, RNS510 navigational head-unit, blue needles in the gauges, and leather and suede wrapped semi-bucket seats up front. While all these extras are well received, the sports seats do make accessibility to the rear a little more challenging. Of course, this should prove to be little issue if you’re the type who doesn’t fancy extra baggage.
Power figures in this car are unchanged from the Golf R; you get the same de-tuned 2.0-litre four pot turbo that churns out 255PS and 330Nm from as low as 2,400rpm. Acceleration, depending on how much pressure is applied on the pedal, can be very rapid. Zerotohundred sprint is dispatched in 6.0 seconds and while this is a fraction slower than the Golf R (5.7 seconds), you have to bear in mind that the Scirocco makes do without the 4MOTION AWD system.
Plant your foot in the throttle (and I found this to be rather addictive) and there’s a whiff of wheelspin as the tyres up front work hard to cope with the surge of power and torque. The R’s electronic differential does an admirable job with keeping torque steer at bay, and alleviating unwanted mishaps. The best part? I had a silly smile on my face every time I pushed the Scirocco hard. The engine’s soundtrack isn’t the most impressive (let’s be honest, four cylinder engines don’t sound all that good anyway), but there’s enough sporty raspiness with an addictive whump at every gearchange.
Because there’s no AWD system, the Scirocco R actually weighs almost 125kgs lighter than the Golf R. This pared off fat gives the Scirocco an advantage in agility. Not just that; the Scirocco R also has a wider rear track and lower roofline which improve on the car’s center of gravity and dynamics over the Golf R. Attack apexes aggressively and you’ll be amazed at just how much speed, and confidence, the car can carry in, and out, or a corner – lithe and nimble, with plenty of pace on the straights. There’s decent feedback from the electromechanical steering too; a little artificial granted, but well weighted and does the job well enough to inspire confidence.
Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) comes as standard with this car, and offers the choice of three damper settings are available – Comfort, Normal, and Sport. In both Normal and Sport, I found ride to be a little too harsh (especially given the amount of pot-holes we have here). You have to remember; the Scirocco R rides on 19-inch alloys wrapped in low-profile rubbers. Yes, I’ll admit it; I left the car in Comfort mode most of the time (firm ride, and good balance). The brakes on this car worked brilliantly as well – 345mm front discs and 310mm on the rear; the pedals were firm with plenty of stopping power.
If I had to pick one between the two (Scirocco and Golf, that is), it is likely that I’d have gone with the ‘Roc. Less practical, yes… but the Scirocco is more visceral, more aggressive; you’re seated lower into the car and for whatever reason, the exhaust note is actually better sounding. And, despite the slower numbers, the Scirocco is the more engaging ‘R’ car here. Oh, did I also mention how it looks much better?
Unfortunately, every rose has its thorn and the Scirocco R is no different. Perhaps the biggest issue is its price; at RM280k, the ‘Roc is RM10k dearer than the Golf equivalent, which essentially is packing more tech (4MOTION AWD). In Europe, the Golf R is actually priced about 10% higher than the Scirocco R and sits higher up in the VW hierarchy. Sadly, that’s just the way our cars here are taxed. In terms of outright performance, the ‘Roc also loses to its closest rival. On my last night with the ‘Roc, I came across an RS250 and engaged it for a short, spirited drive. The stark reality is: the ‘Roc is unable to outrun, or chase, the RS250. This is difficult to ignore, especially when you factor in the RS250’s much cheaper asking price.
At the end of the day, the Scirocco R is an absolutely brilliant car, one that is just about the perfect package. It isn’t the quickest off the line, or the fastest hot-hatch around, but then there are few rival manufacturers with cars this well put together. Admittedly, the Golf R is cheaper and more practical, but hey – if you can already afford the Golf’s sticker price, what’s an extra RM10k spent for an extra dose of fun? This is a classic battle between want or need, and I will say this – those who want will be well rewarded.
Driven: Volkswagen Scirocco R – YouTube
To view/download hi-res pictures of the Scirocco R, click here.
Volkswagen Scirocco R
• Zerotohundred: 6.0secs
• Top Speed: 250km/h (claimed)
• Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo
• Power: 255PS / 6,000 rpm
• Torque: 330Nm / 2,400 – 5,200 rpm
• Weight: 1,439kg (kerb weight)
• Fuel Economy: 8.0L/100km (claimed)
• Wheels: 8J x 19
• Tyres: 235/35 R19
• Price: RM279,888 (OTR excluding road tax and insurance)
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