WIND BENEATH OUR WINGS
HOT NEW VW ANSWERS THE NEED FOR SPEED
THE sirocco is a hot Mediterranean wind that can reach hurricane speeds in North Africa and southern Europe.
Scirocco is the name of a hot sporty VW, the third generation of which is heading to Australia early next year, and it too is capable of hurricane speeds.
Essentially a low-slung threedoor version of the Golf GTI, the Scirocco coming our way is the ‘R’, an upmarket stylised car with movie star looks and a lot of good bits, including a sports suspension, an electronic differential and some serious stopping power.
The price has not yet been fixed, but we reckon it will be in the mid to late 40K range, slotting in between the GTI and allwheel-drive Golf R.
The ’Roc has a 188kW/330Nm 2.0litre direct-injection turbo engine, driving the front wheels through a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed DSC.
It runs on 19-inch alloy wheels with (very) lo-pro tyres and has an interior to please any redblooded driver.
Some overseas markets get a 206kW version, but 188 was deemed better for hot climates and it provides more than enough punch.
Changes to the new one are quite subtle, with LED taillights and daytime running lights, a reprofiled rear bumper with black diffuser and a pair of big-calibre chromed oval exhaust pipes, those huge new wheels and an aggressive-looking face.
Inside, there are wellbolstered sports seats, a switch for the adaptive chassis control, a new flat-bottomed R-spec steering wheel , a multi-function computer and a trio of dashtop gauges for oil temperature, stopwatch and turbo boost pressure.
The updates also include satnav, a rear view camera and front and rear parking sensors.
We drove both the manual and double-clutch versions on some of the Yarra Valley's fine roads and preferred the manual for the twisty bits, but the fastshifting DSG was a boon in traffic.
It’s also marginally quicker and lighter on fuel.
The engine has a lovely bark as it pulls the car to 100km/h in 6.0 seconds, and its low centre of gravity, steering and macstrut and multi-link suspension give it superb accuracy and adhesion through corners.
It's a joyous thing on a twisty road, never short on back-shoving pep and its big discs bring it to a quick, sure stop.
But the wheel package, which has tyres with a miniscule 35cm aspect ratio, can jar on bumps.
It's practical too, being a genuine four-seater, rather than a squishy two-plus-two, and the rear seats have a 50/50 split to offer up to 1006 litres of cargo space.
Of course, it has the obligatory Bluetooth and associated stuff, but real drivers don't worry about that. It's all in the drive, and the Scirocco R provides that in spades.
Economy? The official figure is 8.0 litres/100km.
One of the best drives we've had in a while. As a real driver's car, we'd pick the manual version.