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Volkswagen begins Scirocco countdown

Ahhh: Scirocco R is just six months away from Aussie shores, priced under $50,000.

Sleek Scirocco R formally confirmed for early 2012 in Oz as VW readies local debut

22 Jun 2011

VOLKSWAGEN has begun counting down to the long-awaited Australian release of its sleek Scirocco R coupe early next year, in the lead up to its local debut at next week’s Melbourne motor show.

The German giant revealed at the launch of the third-generation Passat in April that it had finally established a business case to import the flagship Scirocco R to Australia, and now it has announced details of the version Australians will finally have access to in about six months.

Volkswagen has not ruled out the release of lesser versions of the Scirocco, which went on sale in Europe in August 2008 but has so far been off-limits in the US and Australia due to fears it would undermine sales of the Golf GTI, which carries a similar price in Europe and accounts for up to a quarter of all Golfs sold here.

For now, however, Volkswagen Group Australia has confirmed the range-topping Scirocco R – released in Europe in October 2009 – will become available in early 2012 with the choice of six-speed manual and DSG automatic transmissions.

As with the Golf R, the Scirocco R’s turbocharged 2.0-litre TSI four-cylinder petrol engine will produce 188kW at 6000rpm and 330Nm of torque between 2500 and 5000rpm in Australia, where our ‘hot climate’ status precludes the full-house 195kW/350Nm engine offered in Europe.

Standard equipment for the four-seat Golf V-based Scirocco three-door will include a specially tuned sports chassis and Extended Electronic Differential Lock (XDL) cross-axle traction control system.

Also seen in the 155kW Golf GTI, the latter is an extension of the Golf’s Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), which employs the electronic stability control system to reduce traction loss.

3 center imageAlso standard on the Scirocco R in Australia will be Adaptive Chassis Control, which continually adjusts damping at all four corners of the car according to data from three body sensors and displacement sensors at each wheel.

Featuring Normal, Sport and Comfort modes, the switchable damping system is claimed to automatically adjust to road conditions and to vary the vehicle’s dynamics during acceleration, braking and steering.

All Australian Scirocco Rs will ride on milled and polished 19-inch ‘Talladega’ alloy wheels shod with 235/35-section tyres (optional in Europe), with braking via a 17-inch disc brake set-up comprising gloss black-painted callipers with R logos.

Inside, the VW coupe features sports seats, 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.

Volkswagen Group Australia’s detailed explanation of the Scirocco R’s specific design cues – including customised louvres within its three large front air intakes, a large rear roof spoiler, beefier side skirts, twin chromed outboard exhaust outlets and a prominent gloss black rear diffuser – indicates the Scirocco R will not be facelifted before it arrives here next year.

As we’ve reported, the Scirocco R will effectively replace the three-door Golf R, which is currently priced at $48,490 plus on-road costs in Australia - $1500 less than the five-door Golf R, which will continue on sale.

Therefore expect a price tag between the Golf GTI ($38,990 three-door, $40,490 five-door) and the Golf R five-door ($49,990), which unlike downstream Golf models and all Scirocco models is slightly heavier because it incorporates VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

Despite being slightly lighter (1298kg) and more nimble as a result, according to official VW figures the Scirocco R accelerates more slowly than the AWD Golf R, with a 0-100km/h time of 6.4 seconds.

In Europe, the Sirocco – which measures 4256mm long, 1810mm wide and 1404mm high - is available with four petrol and two diesel engines, including a BlueMotion variant that sips just 4.2L/100km.

Other overseas engine choices include 103kW and 125kW TDI turbo-diesel engines, plus 90kW, 118kW and, in hitherto range-topping GT guise, 147kW TSI turbo-petrol engines.

The third-generation Scirocco is produced in Volkswagen’s Autoeuropa plant in Palmela, Portugal, alongside the Sharan people-mover, Eos coupe-convertible, and Seat Alhambra.

The born-again Scirocco follows the first two generations of the nameplate sold overseas between 1974 and 1992, when 795,650 examples were sold. Last August VW celebrated the 100,000th MkIII Scirocco being built at Palmela.

Like many long-standing VW nameplates, the Scirocco is named after a prominent wind – in this case being derived from the Italian word for the Sirocco wind. Other examples include Passat (after the German word for trade wind), Golf (Gulf Stream), Bora (Bora), Polo (Polar winds) and Jetta (Jet stream).

The Scirocco’s local release will follow a year in which Volkswagen averages a new model release every month in 2011. So far this year VW has launched the Amarok dual-cab ute, the MkIII Passat range, upgraded Passat CC, Golf BlueMotion and facelifted Eos CC.

Next up will be the all-new Touareg luxury SUV, followed by a facelifted Tiguan compact SUV and redesigned Jetta medium sedan, all of which are also expected to make their local debuts at the Australian International Motor Show on July 1.

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