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First look: Scirocco gets the R treatment

Say R: The hottest Scirocco gets a probable ticket to Australia.

VW's Scirocco R is on Australia’s radar as the German giant’s next R-car

25 May 2009

THIS is the Scirocco that Volkswagen Group Australia has been waiting for.

The quickest, most powerful and most focussed version of Volkswagen’s small three-door ‘coupe’ made its global public debut last weekend at the Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race, in which five Scirocco GT24 race cars battled for 2.0-litre turbo-class honours.

It was the first time the production version of the Scirocco Studie R concept, which premiered at the Bologna motor show in December, has appeared in public and confirmation it will go on sale in the UK in right-hand drive guise by the end of this year all but confirms it will also be sold in Australia.

Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) has consistently ruled out a local release of regular versions of the third-generation Scirocco, which went on sale in Germany and the UK in August 2008 and is now powered by 103kW and 125kW TDI turbo-diesel engines as well as 90kW, 118kW and, in hitherto range-topping GT guise, 147kW TSI turbo-petrol engines.

Because of the Golf GTI’s popularity in Australia, where the GTI comprises an unprecedented 25 per cent of Golf sales, VGA fears the Scirocco GT, which is powered by a similar engine to the Golf GTI and is priced within $200 of it in Europe, would undermine its lucrative Golf GTI business.

But VGA managing director Jutta Dierks is on record as saying that if a right-hand drive production version of the Studie R became available, it would be a shoe-in for Australia, where it would presumably priced well above the Golf GTI – the latest MkVI iteration of which is expected on sale here in October.

3 center imageNonetheless, Volkswagen remains non-committal on the prospects of the Scirocco R being sold here, at least officially.

“We will re-evaluate the Scirocco’s potential for release in Australia in light of the R version’s appearance, but at this stage there are no plans to make the Scirocco available here,” said VGA general manager for press and PR Karl Gehling.

If given the green light for sale here, the Scirocco R would not be seen in Australian Volkswagen dealerships until well into 2010, after its European release in October this year.

Powered by a highly modified, direct-injection version of the previous-generation (MkV) Golf GTI’s turbocharged (147kW) 2.0-litre four-cylinder EA113 engine – rather than the EA888 engine found in the Scirocco GT and new Golf GTI – the Scirocco R develops 195kW and 350Nm of torque between 2500rpm and 5000rpm.

Chosen because it was easier and less costly to modify than the newer 2.0 TSI engine, VW’s latest R engine features a reinforced cylinder block and new cylinder-head with higher compression ratio, plus upgraded pistons and conrods, higher-pressure injectors and a different intercooler to deal with increased boost pressure of 1.2 bar.

Expect the same engine, which delivers considerably more performance than the both the Golf GTI (154kW) and the current V6-powered Golf R32, to replace the 184kW/320Nm 3.2-litre six-cylinder for the next generation of the latter, as Volkswagen continues on a path towards simpler, lighter performance vehicles powered by smaller, more fuel-efficient forced-induction engines.

Of course, the Scirocco R engine also out-performs the 188kW/330Nm turbo-four found in Audi’s Golf-based S3, which is priced from $66,403 and can be had in both three and five-door guises, but the forthcoming TT-RS will rectify that with a new turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine that produces 250kW and 450Nm.

The existing (MkV) Golf R32 will remain on sale in both three-door ($55,490) and five-door ($56,990) body styles in Australia until then, and the naming convention of its successor continues to be the subject of both intense media speculation and discussion at Volkswagen AG.

The front-drive Scirocco R will join the all-wheel drive Passat R36 and Touareg R50 in Volkswagen’s existing R-car range, but its simplified model designation suggests Volkswagen will move away from an engine capacity-based numeric name for the Golf R32’s replacement too.

The R-badged Scirocco will be available with both six-speed manual and twin-clutch automated manual (DSG) transmissions. Weighing in at a respective 1333kg and 1353kg, it will be considerably lighter than both the R32 and its chief rival in Ford’s Focus RS.

As such, it sprints to 100km/h in a claimed 6.4 seconds, making its quicker than both the R32 and the new Golf GTI, which officially completes the 0-100km/h dash in 7.2 seconds as a manual and 6.9 seconds in DSG form. Despite the ability to do so, CO2 emissions are also vastly reduced over the R32, at 192g/km.

Away from the engine-room, the Scirocco R chassis is said to be based on the GT24 racer and features a lower ride height, specific dampers and new springs, plus revised versions of both Volkswagen’s Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) system and the GTI’s ‘XDS’ electronic differential.

Visually, there are more aggressive new front and rear bumpers (with larger air intake and black diffuser respectively), bi-Xenon headlights, new side skirts and a new grille, plus tinted tail-light lenses, a unique rear roof spoiler, chromed dual exhaust outlets and specific 18-inch ‘Talladega’ alloy wheels (with 19-inch available).

The garden-variety Scirocco’s badge and engine designation are deleted from the R version, while inside are a pair of new sports front seats with R logos, a gloss black centre console finish that extends to the door trims, white backlit instrument dials with R-specific blue needles and a new three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel clad in black leather with contrasting white stitching.

Read more:

Bologna show: Scirocco gets serious

First look: GT24 treatment graces Scirocco

Scirocco no Oz shoe-in

Geneva show: VW goes troppo with Scirocco

The Road to Recovery podcast series

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