When the VW Scirocco first broke cover last year, I was far from enamoured with it. I really couldn't understand why motoring journalists were all cooing over it, and was equally stumped as to why it was being called a coupe, when it looked (to me at least) like a hatchback. Personally I preferred the Golf GTi on which the Scirocco was based, feeling that the latter was more contrived than stylish.
Now, anyone who knows me will be aware that I'm not the type to easily admit that I was wrong, but in the case of the Scirocco, I was! Having spent a while driving a Scirocco GT every day, my opinion hasn't so much changed, as turned on its head. To cut a long story short, I absolutely love this car, and I will be very, very sad to see it go back to VW.
The Scirocco is definitely a car that you need to see first hand because the photos simply don't do it justice. Even in the somewhat garish green of the test car (although I kind of like the colour), the Scirocco looks sleek and stylish. And yes, the rear end still shouts hatchback to me, but the front three quarters are every inch a coupe. The rake of the windscreen, the long stretch of glass as the front windows melt into the rears and of course the frameless nature of the front windows all make this car feel more coupe than hatch. It's also pretty low compared to any current hatchback, giving it a far sportier look than most.
The test car that VW sent me is the range topping 2.0l TSi model which sports the same turbocharged engine as the MkV Golf GTi and pumps out just under 200bhp. But don't let that fool you into thinking that the Scirocco is some kind of performance hooligan, because it isn't. In fact this is an incredibly refined vehicle that just oozes build quality - yes my Clio 197 F1 produces the same amount of power and is a fair bit quicker, but when it comes to day to day comfort, the Scirocco is in another league. Even more impressive is that VW has managed to keep CO2 emissions down to 179g/km, meaning that the Scirocco falls into the £170 per annum Road Tax bracket!
Other engine options include a 1.4l TSi petrol lump which still produces an impressive 160bhp and raises combined fuel economy from 37.2mpg to 42.8mpg. Of course if fuel economy is paramount to you, but you still like the looks of the Scirocco, you could go for the 2.0l diesel option. This will put out around 140bhp while returning a wallet friendly 55.4mpg.
If there's a downside to the Scirocco's undeniable refinement, it's that it isn't as sporty to drive as its looks suggest. That's not to suggest that getting behind the wheel of this car isn't fun, because it is, but if you're looking for a hardcore driver's machine, there are better options out there. But that's not really what the Scirocco is all about, and despite the fact that I always buy my cars based on dynamic ability and performance, I could happily live with this car as my daily drive.
Of course what we're really here to talk about is the technology that VW has endowed the Scirocco with, and in this department it's no less impressive. This test car isn't quite stuffed to the gills with options, but what's there is very good indeed. So, if you've been won over by VW's baby coupe (as I have) and are wondering which option boxes to tick, read on…