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2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R First Impressions

Napa Valley, CA - Us Canadian journalists often complain and whine that we’re missing out on some pretty cool stuff that’s only available all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. Well, I can no longer complain as loudly since I recently had the opportunity to drive a European car I’ve been dying to get my grubby little fingers on: the Volkswagen Scirocco R.

For those who don’t know what a Scirocco is, think GTI on speed with an inferiority complex and you’ve got it just about right.

Sadly, it’s doubtful the Scirocco will ever come to North America (shed a silent tear for that), but I couldn’t very well pass up the opportunity to drive it and tell all you lovely readers all about the experience.

What is a Volkswagen Scirocco R?
Besides being a badass hot hatch, the Scirocco has been Volkswagen’s sporty coupe since it was first released in the 1970s. Even back then it was all about being sleeker and sportier than the Golf and Jetta models.

The Volkswagen Scirocco R didn’t appear until 2009 (in the vehicle’s third generation of existence), offering up more power under the hood as well as sportier body and wheels.

The 3rd generation Scirocco is not available in North America for fear of hurting GTI sales and at a price point that would be much too high, making the business case rather unintelligent. However, that won’t stop me from bugging VAG about it. Every. Single. Day.

2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R Price and Specs
With a base price of €29,039 in Germany, it would be approximately $39,000 here. Now, let me draw your attention to the juicy performance numbers this glorious little hatchback pumps out.

The 2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R houses the 2.0L inline 4-cylinder turbocharged TSI engine beneath its hood. Despite being the same engine found in the GTI, different engine mapping means this little hatch is good for 265 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Yup, that’s 40 more horses than the Mk VII GTI. While the Scirocco is actually a bit heavier than the 2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI, it somehow manages to feel much, much faster.

Controlling that pumped up 2.0L TSI is Volkswagen’s fantastic dual-clutch 6-speed DSG automatic transmission that drives the front wheels. Now about that control…

Driving the 2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R
I made sure to drive the 2014 Volkswagen GTI and 2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R back-to-back. I wanted to see the real differences between the two -- and, boy, are there ever differences.

With only a limited amount of time behind the wheel of the Scirocco R, I had to use it wisely. Twisties it was; and what a glorious time I had behind the wheel.

Steering in the 2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R is sharp, precise and to the point. The small, flat-bottom steering wheel made the GTI’s feel like a bus-wheel in comparison. The Scirocco seemed to go where I wanted before I even made a motion with my arms.

Throttle response was just as precise, as the 2.0L TSI happily revved to redline on straights, farting out glorious exhaust barks and burbles via the dual pipes in the rear. Again, my time was so limited in the 2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R that I didn’t get as much of a feel for the vehicle as I would have liked, but first impressions tell me I like it -- and I like it a lot.

Inside and Out of the 2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R
That rear, though… Sorry, I got distracted. There’s something alluring about the Volkswagen Scirocco R, but not in the usual sensual, smooth way of most supercars. Instead it’s all about a rugged sex appeal that exudes the kind of confidence you’d hope to find in a long-term partner because you know they’d keep things interesting no matter how long you stayed together.

Wait, I got distracted again.

The 2013 Volkswagen Sicorocco R might not look the part to everyone; it is, after all a two-door hatchback with beefy haunches and an aggressive front nose. Some might think it’s not forceful enough for an R, but I think Volkswagen did it just right with subtle skirts and body flares here and there.

Inside, the sporty nature of the Scirocco R is ever more evident with the gray cross-stitched sport seats wearing “R” logos, the R Design steering wheel and white backlit gauges with blue pointers. It’s all very posh (in terms of hot-hatch posh) and very race-y.

Comparing the 2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R
Let’s imagine for a blissful moment that Volkswagen did plan on bringing the Scirocco R to North America… Oh to dream. If they did, then the Scirocco R would be up against the likes of the MINI John Cooper Works and the MAZDASPEED3.

Do we really need another hot hatch in North America, though? Good God, yes. Just do it Volkswagen.


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