In theory the 2.0 TSI four-pot Volkswagen Scirocco should hold a performance advantage over the higher and, officially at least, 30kg heavier Golf.

And it does indeed command a small advantage in claimed fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. But VW draws little distinction in straight-line terms, claiming with broadly similar performance figures for both.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The diesels aren’t especially swift, but possess impressive torque

The 123bhp 1.4 is more about style than speed, as a 0-62mph time of 9.7 secs proves. Given its relatively low asking price and decent economy, it is a sensible choice for someone who wants this car's looks more than performance.

The standard 2.0-litre model records a sub seven second 0-62mph time. This is an outstanding performance and fully competitive with selected rivals, like the BMW 225i coupé. Bear in mind, too, that if the Scirocco were rear rather than front-wheel drive, as are the Mercedes C-Class Coupé and BMW 2 Series coupé, it would be even faster.

As far as the R is concerned, don’t get hung up on the 0-60mph time. Admittedly our recorded time of 5.7sec doesn’t look hugely impressive, but there are a few things you need to understand before dismissing the Scirocco R. First, it faced the worst possible conditions for acceleration runs: not fully wet, but greasy. Second, the Scirocco R tags the limiter in second at 58mph.

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It is fast, but also flexible. Compared with the regular 2.0-litre TSI Scirocco, which is remarkably linear for a turbocharged engine, there is more a pronounced power band. 

The diesels aren’t especially swift, but they’re not slow either. Due to their immense torque (the flagship diesel offers 258lb ft) the Scirocco diesels are best approached as GT cars rather than sports models, as you don't have to chase every engine revolution to eke out excellent performance.

Should you wish to, however, the 178bhp 2.0 TDI can cover the benchmark sprint to 62mph in 8.1secs. For the 148bhp model, this time increases to 9.3secs. As you would expect both offer impressive in-gear performance. They’re pleasantly refined, too. Of course, the real benefit to opting for one of the diesels is the economy; all the diesels offer a combined mpg figure of 51 or more, whilst the Bluemotion ups that figure to a remarkable 62.8.

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