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THE WINDS OF CHANGE (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 61
The improved post-2014 version of Volkswagen's modern-era Scirocco coupe is the beautifully designed, solidly built and super-stylish affordable coupe it always was. Crucially though, the enhanced facelifted version we're going to look at here as a used buy featured a more efficient range of more powerful engines, along with some subtle changes that lifted its desirability up a notch or two.
Modelsword count: 9
3dr Coupe (1.4 TSI, 2.0 TSI, 2.0 TDI [GT,GTS,R])
Historyword count: 413
In launching the original version of its Scirocco coupe, Volkswagen was said to have 'democratised the sportscar'. When in 2014, it introduced the improved third generation version were going to look at here, the brand hoped to have redefined that original recipe. The name refers to a hot wind that blows from the Sahara desert to the Mediterranean and designates a model line actually pre-dating that of the Golf, with a history stretching all the way back to 1974 when this car marked a new era for front-engined, front-wheel drive Volkswagens in Europe. It was certainly very different from the rear-driven boxer-engined Karmann Ghia model it replaced, though not much faster, early versions offered with as little as 60bhp. The iconically-wedgy Giugiaro styling looked good though, which was all most buyers cared about. Less memorable was the second generation version launched in 1981, though at least by now, more powerful engines were featuring beneath the bonnet. The launch of the smaller Corrado coupe in 1989 spelt the end of the first phase of Scirocco history but loyal owners never forgot it and in 2008, the badge was back on the pretty tailgate of the third generation version we're looking at here. This time round, style really was mixed with substance, the shape based on an 'Iroc'-badged concept car that had wowed the crowds at the Paris Motor Show a couple of years before. Like its predecessors, this Scirocco was Golf-based - or more specifically, Golf GTI-based, given that early models could only be ordered with the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine from that car. In time though, the range gained more affordable petrol versions, a selection of diesels and, in 2009, a potent 265PS flagship 'R'-badged variant that at launch, was one of the fastest contenders in its class. All of that was enough to keep Volkswagen well-placed in the affordable coupe segment for some time, but by 2014, this MK3 model was at last beginning to show its age. Not in terms of its looks - the shape still turns heads. When it came to technology and efficiency though, an update was clearly needed to keep the car current in the face of competition from rivals like Peugeot's RCZ, Vauxhall's Astra GTC and the Volkswagen Group's other contender in this sector, the SEAT Leon SC. Hence the higher trim levels and lower running costs of this updated version, a car also improved with a subtle restyle. It sold until late 2017 and wasn't replaced.
What You Getword count: 208
Barstool experts not seduced by this car's fashionable finery will be quick to dismiss it as a Golf in a cocktail dress, but that's a simplistic summary given that a Scirocco is 93mm shorter, 11mm wider and sits 52mm lower. It's also got a much wider track, a significantly lower centre of gravity and a substantially different suspension set-up. Yes, the engine range is largely shared, but in almost every other respect, this Volkswagen coupe is very much its own car. Raise the hatch and a 312-litre cargo area is revealed, 30% more than you'd get in a Toyota GT86 for instance and a decent amount for a car that looks as stylish as a coupe should. Up-front, not was done with this facelifted car to update the driving environment, which might make it feel a little dated to those familiar with one of the Volkswagen Group's more recent designs. Probably the biggest change up-front with this facelifted version was the addition of a pod on top of the dash, apparently an aesthetic reference to the similar set-up used in sporty versions of the first generation Scirocco model. It certainly makes the cockpit feel a little more purposeful, briefing you on oil temperature, turbo boost and chronometer functions.
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