What is it?
The Volkswagen Scirocco R-line. It’s a trim line in the same mindset as an S-line Audi or M Sport BMW, with prices starting at £26,485 if you opt for a diesel-powered BlueMotion model, like the one tested here.
R-line treatment is purely skin-deep, adding a bodykit (with inevitable hints of the Scirocco R about it), standard 19in ‘Lugano’ alloy wheels and a host of ‘R’ badges adorning the kick plates, black leather sports seats and multifunction steering wheel. Subtler than the full-strength R, it’s arguably the Scirocco looking its best.
The BlueMotion badge of our test car means a 138bhp 2-litre turbodiesel engine with stop/start technology and battery regeneration under braking, the result being a claimed 62.8mpg and 118g/km.
As with other Sciroccos, Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) – with Sport, Normal and Comfort settings for the dampers – and an electronic differential lock are standard, as is a six-speed manual gearbox, with a six-speed DSG twin-clutch transmission a £1400 option.
What’s it like to drive?
Just like the Scirocco BlueMotion it’s based upon, which means rather good. The engine doesn’t scream sports car, of course – its torque-band can be frustratingly narrow if you’re pushing on and while it does sound decent for a four-cylinder diesel, the noises it makes are hardly scintillating.
But at more moderate pace the engine’s power is useable and accessible, and around town the BlueMotion boasts the low-rev punch of the best modern turbodiesels. And our 49.9mpg indicated average over 1000 miles of mixed but enthusiastic driving is impressive.
Overall, the Scirocco is a polished car to drive. Ultimately it won’t thrill on trackdays, yet the steering, gearchange and pedals all operate slickly and lend it precise and satisfying dynamics. The ‘Rocco surrenders to understeer sooner with the heavier TDI engine up front, so for the keenest of drivers, the petrol-powered TSI remains the recommendation.
How does it compare?
The Scirocco has been out four years now, yet it still looks fresh and turns plenty of heads, despite competition from bolder cars such as the Peugeot RCZ and Hyundai Veloster, which are inferior dynamically. The extra £1500 you’ll pay for R-line trim does price the Scirocco higher than a well-equipped Renaultsport Megane 265, mind. That’s a car that operates on a much higher level dynamically.
Anything else I need to know?
R-line treatment can also be applied to a 175bhp diesel (without the eco-minded tech) and the 207bhp 2-litre TSI petrol Scirocco – our pick of the range. The latter costs £960 more to buy than the BlueMotion, and over 12,000 miles will use around £500 more in fuel. But then it’s 69bhp healthier and nearly 3sec quicker to 60mph, too.