2012 VW Scirocco R Review

By on May 4, 2012
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The hottest hatch of them all?

Good: Great performance in Sports mode, very deep exhaust note, stylistic improvements in body design, XDS system makes the car stick to corners.
Bad: Performance under normal "D" mode feels inadequate, not much visual distinction from regular Scirocco, "tuner" feeling isn't something everyone may enjoy.
Price: AED 125,600 (base), AED 149,000 (as tested)
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

The only reason you’d want to own the Scirocco R is for the power. The 255HP (slightly de-tuned from 261HP of normal “R” version to take into account the summer heat of this region) @ 6,000 RPM and 350Nm @ 2,500 to 5,000 RPM torque is good enough to propel the small hatch from 0 to 100kmph in 5.8 seconds.


Keeping in mind that the Scirocco R’s engine is based on a 2.0 Liter in-line 4 cylinders, during the normal driving mode, when the 6-speed DSG gearbox is set to “D”, the ramp up in power is fairly slow. You won’t feel that you have such a powerful engine until you press the accelerator beyond 2/3rd of the way in.

This behavior is actually very welcome during traffic, but otherwise it just feels like the Scirocco R is an impotent sports car. Once you put the gearbox in “S”, however, things take a dramatic shift into sheer excitement. Whether you’re starting from a standstill, or trying to overtake someone on the highway, the Sports mode really awakens the Scirocco R in the small beast that it is. Of course, this means you’re destroying any benefit that small 2.0 liter engine had on your fuel consumption from 9 liters/ 100km to over 17 liters /100km. Still, who can deny this much fun?!

I was initially worried that without the all-wheel drive system like in the Golf R, the Scirocco R’s power might be too much to handle on the corners. However, the tuned suspension with the XDS (and enhanced version of Electronic Differential Lock) in tandem with the ESP braking system made sure that I was sticking to every corner without losing traction. I’m sure the Pirelli P Zero tires also helped make sure I was stuck on the roads around high speed corners. The downside is that the suspension is rather stiff, great for when you want to feel the road through the steering wheel, but not so much fun for passengers who’ll also feel every bump on the road pronounced.

Starting at AED 125K the Scirocco R presents an interesting challenge to most V6 coupes in the market, so the Mustang, Camaro and Genesis Coupe certainly feel the heat. Where those cars are encroaching on muscle territory with their 300HP engines and smooth sounding V6s, the Scirocco R’s deep and bassy exhaust note and powerful engine is more than enough to keep with the best of these cars.

It’s good to know that there is a very worthy alternative to these bulky cars, especially one that looks as gorgeous as the Scirocco R. If you can live with the tight suspension, road noise and a rather simplistic (yet elegant) design, the Scirocco R is a definite contender to be your next sports car.


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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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