Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Driveway - Bill Buys

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.

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