Volkswagen Scirocco GTS

“I didn’t dare touch the Sport button; this one’s a bit oomphy “says the delivery driver before handing over the keys to the Scirocco GTS. Then he adds “Still, the paint job tells you all you need to know”

Ah yes, the paint job. Let’s deal with that first shall we?

It’s thirty years (more or less) since the launch of the first VW Scirocco GTS at the Leipzig Motorshow, and, to mark the occasion Volkswagen have decided to launch a new limited edition Scirocco ,also tagged GTS. To distinguish it from the rest of the range it’s been given some less than discreet Cobra/GT40-esque go-faster strips that run the full length of the bodywork – from bonnet to boot lid – as well as contrasting coloured mirror caps, a panoramic sunroof, and some glossy black door handles. Opt for a red car and you’ll get black stripes and white mirrors; white cars get red mirrors and black stripes; on black cars the stripes are white and the mirrors red, and on the final of the four colour options available: grey, the mirror caps are red and the stripes black. Whatever you’re your choice subtlety isn’t an option.

Personally I’d have preferred it if VW had of decided to not to go for the stripes at all, and instead stuck to just fitting the simple and quite elegant GTS badges on the front wings and boot lid. Personally I think the 18 inch black “Thunder” alloys look a tad “after-market” too. But I guess you can’t please everyone, and even now five years after we first clapped eyes on it, the Scirocco’s styling, stripes or no stripes, still splits opinion. Still, I wonder if there’s a stripe delete option.

Once inside, the GTS logos continue, in the red stitching on the beautifully comfortable and supportive black leather seats, and on the bottom of the multifunction steering wheel. The Scirroco GTS also gets a golf-ball style gear-knob, triangular shaped door pulls, some unique floor mats and extra black and red trim on the gear lever gaiter and on the seatbelts. Otherwise inside it is VW business as usual – as black as an undertaker’s sock drawer and as tough as a bank vault. Every switch and button feels solid and precisely engineered, and everything’s been clearly and sensibly laid out. The boot is a good size; four people will fit comfortably, although I’m told the rear seats are very upright, and the driving position is just about spot-on. Plus of course… when you are inside the Scirocco GTS you can’t see those blasted stripes.

Power-wise things have been untouched. You can pick from either a 175bhp diesel or a 207bhp petrol unit; both are turbo-charged, and either can be had with the option of a six-speed manual or a six speed DSG transmission.

In this case the car in question arrived with the petrol engine and the auto ‘box, which I have to say make a rather satisfying combination. In town you can leave the cog-swapping down to the car and cruise around using the engines surprising low-down torque. Once out in the open, paddles behind the steering wheel allow you the opportunity to hold on the gears for longer, spin the engine up to its redline, and revel how well the Scirocco grips, corners, accelerates and brakes. VW’s little coupe proves itself to be surprising agile. Oomphy in fact sums it rather nicely.

If there’s a downside, it’s the way the Scirocco rides. Even with its adaptive dampers set to the softest of their three settings- Comfort, Normal, and Sport - there’s still a tendency for things to feel a tad too taut, potholes and broken surfaces unsettle things all too easily. In its defence though, let’s remember the Scirocco still uses the Golf 6 chassis rather than VW’s all–new and ultra-versatile MQB platform, and all things considered it’s still doing a sterling job.

Hard ride and visual appendages aside, it’s hard not to like the Scirocco GTS, but there’s not getting away from the fact that at £30,190 it is expensive, and its modifications are merely cosmetic. In fact, it’s also more expensive than Volkswagen’s very own Golf GTi which is more modern, more practical, and even a bit more oomphy.

You might like to know, there are no stripes on the Golf GTi either.

Volkswagen Beetle Scirocco GTS 2.0 TSi  6spd DSG

Engine: 1984cc 4Cyl 16V petrol turbo
Transmission: 6 speed DSG Auto, Front wheel drive.
Power:  207 bhp @ 5300 – 6200 rpm
Torque: 207 lbft @ 1750 - 5200rpm
0-62MPH: 6.9 Sec
Max Speed: 148 mph
CO2: 174 g/km
MPG: 37.7 combined
Price: from £30,190

Many thanks to Volkswagen’s UK press office for the loan of their Scirocco GTS



Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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