Volkswagen Scirocco GT TDI 170November 23, 2010
Volkswagen Scirocco GT TDI 170
Model/Engine size: 2.0 GT TDI 170 6-speed DSG
Fuel economy combined: 50.4 mpg
Beating Spirit rating: 9/10
The Volkswagen Scirocco in 140 PS TDI form is one of the class-leaders for efficiency in the sports car category; the 170 PS version is almost as economical, but has more performance, and we rate it as one of the best cars we’ve driven all year.
Firstly, we’ll admit that your preference is likely to be for a petrol-powered sports car, and this rule would apply equally to the Scirocco. However, if you want to combine the virtues of a sports car with the potential economy of an efficient diesel, then the TDI is an excellent choice.
This Scirocco came with a 6-speed DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox), which is a brilliant bit of technology. Because diesels have a narrower power band than petrol engines, enthusiastic negotiation of obstacles such as roundabouts on fast A-roads may actually require a couple of gearchanges in the TDI, and this is something that is done marginally quicker with a DSG box than a manual.
We’re certainly not fans of the majority of automatic transmissions, however the DSG box, with its steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, is excellent. Gear changes are rapid, and you certainly feel in more control than with an automatic, although there was the odd occasion when the DSG gearbox was caught out when changing down. Yet if you want to laze around in fully auto mode, for example in a traffic jam, then you can also do that.
One point to note is that although the DSG box is excellent, it reduces fuel economy – without the DSG transmission the 170 PS engine can manage 53.3 mpg and 139 g/km CO2, compared to 50.4 mpg and 147 g/km for the DSG option.??And of course we’ve already established that the 170 PS engine is less economical than the 140 PS – the lesser-powered unit can achieve 55.4 mpg and 134 g/km CO2.
Volkswagen has in fact just announced that all entry-level Scirocco and GT trim models with the 2.0-litre 140 PS TDI engine will now feature BlueMotion Technology modifications.
The models, available with a six-speed manual or optional six-speed DSG gearbox, offer savings through increased fuel economy, improved from 55.4 mpg to 62.8 mpg on the combined cycle (51.4 mpg to 57.6 mpg with the DSG option), and lower emissions, down from 134 g/km to 118 g/km (145 to 129 with DSG).
Even the 2.0-litre TDI 170 PS engine fitted to the Scirocco GT, as tested, will now improve, resulting in fuel economy figures improving to 55.4 mpg from 53.3 mpg (50.4 mpg to 51.4 mpg with DSG) and CO2 emissions reducing from 139 to 134 g/km (147 to 144 for DSG).
Despite all the pros and cons about green credentials, the Scirocco is supposed to be a sports car, so we’d recommend the 170 PS with DSG, as it has enough power to come close to providing a great sports car experience, but it can still average 50 mpg on a long run, and that is a pretty impressive combination in our view. The diesel engine even sounds good – something that is important for a car that has sporty pretentions.
It’s not just the engine and gearbox combination that works well, the chassis also does a great job of achieving a good balance between comfort and sporty handling, and the car feels planted and stable at all times. You can in fact choose between Sport, Normal or Comfort suspension settings, as all Sciroccos come with Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) as standard, which allows three damper, steering and throttle response settings to be selected.
The result is an overall driving experience that is extremely refined. With this class of car we would go for rear-wheel drive over front-wheel drive in virtually all cases, however you really don’t feel that front-wheel drive spoils the Scirocco driving experience.
The interior is an extremely pleasant place to be; it’s well designed, it feels extremely classy, and the build quality feels bomb-proof. The seats are excellent, and the chunky, flat-bottomed leather steering wheel feels superb.
Standard equipment on the Scirocco is good, and in addition the test car came with leather trim and touch-screen satellite-navigation, which is an excellent system, allowing an easy swap between map or 3D view, and different scales. The car also has an easy connection to play an iPhone through the stereo.
The Scirocco even manages to combine an impressive balance between good levels of interior space and sporty exterior coupe looks. To prove the point, we even managed to fit in two adults and one toddler plus all the required gear for a camping weekend. Split flat-folding rear seats certainly help in accommodating extra luggage. And unlike many cars, fitting an Isofix child seat was straightforward, although, as with any two or three-door coupe, accessing the rear seats isn’t that easy.
Which brings us to the Scirocco’s exterior. The car does appear somewhat squashed, with big wide rear arches, and some people seem to love it, while others aren’t as keen. We don’t think it looks that great in some colours, but we have to say that it looks absolutely fantastic in the bright ‘Viper’ metallic green of the test car, and the alloy wheels certainly help to finish the car off.
The Scirocco can offer a lot of car for the money, however this test car was priced at £24,755, plus £1715 for satnav, leather upholstery at £1685, metallic paint at £430, rear parking sensors at £355 and mats at £75 – which comes to a grand total of £29,015. Suddenly not so cheap.
The Scirocco has everything. It’s a refined and practical sports coupe that is also excellent to drive. It has good performance yet on a long run you can extract a decent amount of economy, and the DSG gearbox is excellent. It has a respectable amount of space for a coupe, and in metallic green it looks great. We were tempted to give the Scirocco a Beating Spirit rating of 10 out of 10, but as all our road tests must have a focus on green credentials, we’ll have to give it a 9 out of 10.
The view from the Energy Saving Trust
VW knows a thing or two about producing highly fuel-efficient cars. Its BlueMotion range is class-leading in terms of emissions. The Scirocco brings to the market a blend of coupe style with everyday usability. In diesel form the Scirocco’s CO2 emissions point to VW’s underlying commitment to producing fuel-efficient cars that have more general appeal. In this they have succeeded with a car that looks great, is good to drive and can be fuel-efficient. Of course there is the driver to consider and in this kind of car it may be that drivers are more inclined to drive more quickly. If that’s the case, then all of VW’s hard work is wasted as more fuel is consumed because of the heavy right foot.
Consumer Transport Manager
Energy Saving Trust
Fuel economy extra urban: 60.1 mpg
Fuel economy urban: 38.7 mpg
CO2 emissions: 147 g/km
Green rating: VED band F – first year £125
Weight: 1395 Kg
Company car tax liability (2010/11): 21%
Price: £24,755 (From £18,860 – £29,805)
Insurance group: 26E
Power: 170 bhp
Max speed: 136 mph
0-62 mph: 8.1 seconds
Keywords: Volkswagen Scirocco TDI review, Volkswagen Scirocco TDI road test