By BRENWIN NAIDU
WITH great power, comes great responsibility. Sage advice from Spiderman’s uncle, Ben – and words to remember when you’re behind the wheel of something as powerful as the Scirocco R.
When Volkswagen’s friendly fleet manager, Athol Van Heerden gave me a buzz to let me know that he had one available, I supressed my urge to shriek with joy, like a little girl. After seeing its striking figure grace the motoring pages of various magazines and newspapers, sampling this fast Volkswagen is something I added to my wish list.
Let me assure you, dear reader, the Scirocco R is a bona fide, high-performance beast. If you have a family, it might be a little harder to justify buying one – but you can still have your fix of R magic with the Golf variant, and it might be easier to convince the family, since the Golf has the practicality of two more doors than its coupe counterpart, and a decent-sized boot.
No, the Scirocco R is ideal for a bachelor, one who has no obligations and one who has no need for pragmatic virtues in a car – like rear leg room, or volumes of luggage space. You had better be supple and fit too if you plan to use the Scirocco R as your daily vehicle. I’ve gained a few kilogrammes following a visit to Durban – indulging in cakes and other kinds of delightful food. A decision I regretted each time I tried to squeeze myself in and out of the R’s tight cabin.
When you’re in there, snugly held in place by the racing-type seats, it is quite cosy. I think I should just keep a generic sentence to cut and paste into to every Volkswagen review, when it comes to the matter of interiors. Every new Volkswagen we’ve featured in Sports Focus has impressed with a top-class interior. The Scirocco R is no disappointment, of course. Surface materials have a premium feel to them, trim on the dashboard and doors add a smart touch. The doors on the R are really heavy, I imagine closing and opening a bank vault would feel similar.
Our test vehicle was equipped with Volkswagen’s semi-automatic DSG system, but you can have a traditional six-speed manual transmission if you prefer. The DSG ‘box makes sense if you’ll be spending a great deal of time in traffic – I certainly didn’t miss the constant action of putting the handbrake up, getting clutch control, and tiring my left foot.
When you do decide to exploit the Scirocco’s immense power, best find an empty road – or better yet, see if you can get yourself use of a proper track. Because you can swiftly find yourself entering those fine-worthy three-digit speeds when you’re liberal with the acceleration pedal.
You have 188-kilowatts on tap, and 350 Newton-metres of torque, produced by a 2-litre 4-cylinder powerplant. The acceleration is addictive: out your foot down, hear the turbocharger whistle like a strong wind, and off you go.
We were enamoured by the Scirocco R during its time in our test garage. If I really have to nit-pick, I’d say that it’s a little too flashy, especially in that gleaming blue paintwork. But some people like that – and those who have the means to fork out the R403 355 needed for a Scirocco R, would probably want their fellow road users to know it.