2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R: Track Tested
Testing a Hot Hatch You Can't Buy in the U.S.
Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Edmunds Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.
Simmer down. Don't get your hopes up. The 2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R is not coming to the United States and there is no indication that Volkswagen is going to change its mind. So go ahead, call VW a colossal tease for letting us test one, because as the numbers below indicate, this would be a hell of a hatch to have in the States.
Confused as to what the heck a Scirocco is? From the photos you can at least tell that it's a high-style, perhaps a tad funky hatchback unlike anything Volkswagen currently sells in the U.S. of A. Beyond that, however, the Scirocco is essentially a more interesting-looking Volkswagen Golf/GTI (think of the similarities between CC and old Passat), which has been on sale in Europe since 2008.
Much as with the Golf/GTI, different gasoline and diesel powertrains are available, with the Scirocco R being the top-of-the-line model. Don't confuse it with the Golf R, however. The 2013 Volkwagen Scirocco has more power and torque, but shunts it through the front wheels instead of all four. It's also quicker and handles better.
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: Not for sale in the United States
Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed auto-clutch manual
Engine Type: Turbocharged inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,984/121
Redline (rpm): 6,750
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 261 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 258 @ 2,500
Brake Type (front): Ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated discs with single-piston sliding caliper
Tire Size (front): 235/40ZR18 95Y
Tire Size (rear): 235/40ZR18 95Y
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiSportContact 5P MO
Tire Type: Summer
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,089
0-30 (sec): 2.4 (2.7 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 3.7 (4.2 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 5.4 (6.1 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.1 (6.1 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 7.6 (8.6 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 13.7 @ 102.9 (14.2 @ 101.1 w/ TC on)
30-0 (ft): 27
60-0 (ft): 109
Slalom (mph): 70.7 (70.2 w/ ESC on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.97 (0.96 w/ ESC on)
RPM @ 70: 2,800
Comments: Whoa, this doesn't sound like any VW 2.0L turbo I've ever heard. And even with the "lazy" non-launch, it comes on strong from about 2,500 rpm up to (and even past) the indicated redline. Shifts are quick but smooth and I like the between-gear burp from the exhaust. Subtle, and it wouldn't get annoying on a long drive. Since the owner's manual was in German, it took awhile to decipher if/how launch control worked. I found it: Sport Drive, traction control off, and both pedals in. The engine initially revs to +/- 3,500 rpm, then settles to about 3,250. I tried a couple different rpm while releasing the brake pedal, and it was 3,250 that worked best. Pretty generous wheelspin (felt managed) throughout 1st gear, then it cracked off upshifts even quicker and more harshly than in default mode(s). Pretty darned impressive and the car withstood seven passes and trap speeds remained steady, showing ample cooling.
Braking: It was a bit of a surprise that the first stop was the longest, and the shortest stop came on the fifth of six total. These brakes work better with a little heat in them, clearly. Pedal is on the firm, reactive side, but it also offers some useful feel for good modulation. Straight, good stability and very little dive.
Slalom: It took a couple passes to learn that there's a small, ancillary digital speedo (in mph) in the instrument panel, so selecting a familiar entry speed grew easier. I found out later, however, that that speedometer is highly optimistic and that my indicated 76-mph entry speed was truly about 72 mph, but still! A front-driver that goes through our slalom course at over 70 mph might be a record. The car turns in crisply, holds a line like a sports car, and even in the firmest suspension setting (of three), it didn't get upset with the dip/hop at cone No. 3. I found it interesting that the 2013 Volkswagen Scirocco R even rotates slightly at the limit, allowing the rear of the car to slide gently while passing each cone. Such a rarity for not just a front-drive car, but most modern cars in general. It seems this car was built for true enthusiasts who don't care which wheels are driven. I could also detect the trick differential doing its job: First while making the U-turn to start the run up to speed (I heard/felt it click/clunk), then later at the exit I could mat the throttle without a hint of wheelspin and point the car with the steering wheel. What a terrific and tremendously capable car.
Skid pad: Again, the rear of the car steps out slightly at the limit, but never, ever threatens to spin. I could edge closer or farther from the painted line simply with the throttle. It was also a bit of a surprise that the throttle response was so good that it could manage these incremental inputs and keep up with what I was asking in real time. Steering weight increases with speed, but it never grows ponderous and artificially heavy. Just right.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds with this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.