Good: good looks, drives well
Not so good: limited interior space, lacks any additional performance
The Scirocco has won many admirers since this generation's introduction in 2008, but the one thing it has never quite had was a bolder performance streak (expensive R model aside). Volkswagen has now introduced this new GTS version of the Scirocco. The GTS is styled with broad coloured stripes running the length of the car and eye-catching cherry red door mirrors. Polished 18-inch alloy wheels with black inserts help to complete a look that makes the Scirocco stand out that bit more on the street.
In contrast to the sporting appearance, this particular Scirocco GTS is actually powered by a 2.0-litre 177hp TDI diesel engine, although there is the option of a 2.0-litre TSI petrol version, which produces 209hp. You can also opt for the very capable DSG automatic gearbox, but the manual gearbox in this test car suits it better if you ask us.
Only when the engine is first started and cold are you reminded that you’re driving a diesel. Once on the road, the combination of decent noise insulation and a sound symposer allows a nicer engine note to resonate though the cabin. That diesel engine does pull well, especially in second and third gears, and does encourage you to run each gear all the way out before upshifting. The gear change is notch-like, but in a solid, mechanical sense.
The steering is well-weighted and although it doesn’t give you Lotus-like levels of steering feedback, you do get more than enough for everyday driving, as well as for the occasional Sunday morning blast. The ride is firm in the GTS, but it never feels overly sprung and across a variety of different road surfaces tends to feel well damped. This is certainly a suspension set-up that you could live with on a daily basis.
Despite sitting low in the cabin, the view out is good thanks to a sizeable windscreen, but rearward visibility is very limited. The rest of the interior is a fairly familiar Volkswagen affair except for some nicely finished sports seats, which are surprisingly comfortable even over a long journey. Practicality isn’t high up on the Scirocco’s list of priorities, the rear seats - of which there are strictly two - are cramped for anyone over five-foot in height while the boot is less than generous.
Some of the new styling add-ons may not be to everyone’s taste, but personally I think they give the car a good look - though I didn’t have to live with it for a prolonged period of time. It may have less practicality than most but buyers who are in the market for a car like this will easily see past such details.