Volkswagen lets the Scirocco blow away
Named for a hurricane wind, VW’s coupe is confirmed as no more in the week a real hurricane hits Ireland
VW’s Scirocco: For all its plain-ness, it was a proper, pukka, precise drivers’ tool. It’s gone now. I shall miss it.
The VW Scirocco is no more. It has passed on. It has rung down the curtain and gone to join the choir invisible. It is an ex-coupe.
Cars go in and out of production all the time, of course, and to become mournful about one or the other is rather like getting sniffly because your washing machine has been replaced, but even so, I’m more than a little sad to see VW’s subtly-styled coupe go.
A Golf in a fancy shirt and jacket, it was increasingly unloved by those who clamour only for SUVs and crossovers.
VW’s website now simply says that “the Scirocco cannot be ordered with individual specifications anymore. But you can purchase vehicles already built.”
That really is just a little sad. Not least because this week also sees the first test drives of the new T-Roc compact SUV, a car that lifts a little of the Scirocco’s name. The T-Roc has the potential to become at least as big a seller as the mighty Golf, at least in the current car market, yet the Scirocco has sunk without trace.
Which is more than a little unfair. Here’s an anecdote – once, several years ago, I lived in Galway, in a small house just off the Cregmore Road. To get to the house from Dublin, as I had to a few times a week, the best route was to go out the back way from Ballinasloe and cross country, on a route that had more in common with the Nurburgring (assuming that you find wandering tractors and local buses on the ‘Ring) than with a motorway (which, west of Kilbeggan, didn’t exist at that point).
Late one night, coming back from an event where I’d been driving the then-latest Porsche Cayman (I know, jammy bugger and all that) some kind soul had left a new Scirocco 2.0 TSI and its keys at Dublin Airport for me. I settled quickly into the comfy seat of the dark blue coupe, and headed off down the M4.
Now, the Scirocco was never anything but unassuming, at least in looks. It was a good-looking car, right enough, but the hatchback shape was fairly generic, and the cabin simply took that of the plain-and-simple MkV Golf and reused basically all of it bar a couple of air vents and some nice bucket seats in the front.
The upside of all of this was that you had a coupe that was still practical. The rear seats were generous in their space (try packing four people into a TT. Now try it in a Scirocco…) and the boot was perfectly decent. You could, pretty much, use a Scirocco as easily day-to-day as a three-door Golf.
The magic lay underneath. The combination of the Scirocco’s slightly stiffer structure, and a slightly more aggressive tune for the chassis meant that it could take the same mechanical package as the mighty Golf GTI (including its 200hp 2.0 TSI engine although 1.4 turbo and 2.0 TDI diesels were also available) and make it… more fun.
The differences were fractional, at best (and that slim subjective gap between the Scirocco and the Golf GTI has doubtless also contributed to its demise) but on the road, the coupe was massively good fun to drive.
Almost all the way home, I hit the final, twistiest section of road that ran around the back of Athenry and eventually down to my driveway. It was late now, and the road was quiet, so the Scirocco and I could have some fun. And we did. The steering was amazingly sharp and fluid at the same time, and the chassis found grip and poise where others would run out of ideas very quickly.
Better yet, the springs and dampers, thought sporty in intent, were just soft enough to be able to cope easily with the pitted, cracked Galway road surfaces.
Finally we arrived home, the subtle coupe and me, and as I switched off the engine and began to try and get inside the house without waking spouse, I thought “that drive would not have been any more fun in the Porsche I was driving earlier. Not much faster either, if at all. And the Porsche is twice the price.”
That was the magic of the Scirocco. For all its plain-ness, it was a proper, pukka, precise drivers’ tool. It’s gone now. I shall miss it. VW isn’t planning a successor, just more SUVs.