2016 Volkswagen Scirocco GTS first drive review
We drive the Scirocco GTS, one of the sportiest versions of VW's likeable coupe - does it still have what it take to take on modern coupes and hot hatches? We test it to find out.
- Top-spec Scirocco GTS features 80s styling and lots of kit
- Has the same 217bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine as Golf GTI
- On sale now, priced from £28,500 for manual version
Apparently inspired by the 1982 original, this new model can be separated from the rest of the range in two simple ways. Firstly, it has a set of contrasting matte and red pinstripes that run from the low nose right back to the boot lid, and secondly, it’s the only Scirocco to get the same 2.0-litre 217bhp engine as the Golf GTI.
There are visual tweaks inside and out, too, but with a price that puts it dangerously close to some of the latest and greatest hot hatches of the moment, is this gracefully ageing coupe still worthy of your attention?
The driving experience feels dated, too, which we discover is actually a blessing and a curse. Just a few years ago, the GTS would have been close to the pinnacle of the hot hatch world. It’s 217bhp output, eager 2.0-litre engine, and a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds would have been respectable, if not class-leading. In a world where 300bhp+ is now the norm, though, it’s left for dead.
However, this relative lack of performance won’t stop you enjoying yourself. This engine is still really eager to rev, the turbo kicks in nice and early, around 2,000rpm, so throttle response is keen, and the exhaust burble rises as you steadily pile on speed.
The steering is a little slow, and the ride – even with the optional (£830) adaptive dampers fitted to our test model – is a little firm, so the Scirocco can get rather unsettled on bumpy roads, but it grips strongly, resisting body roll well and keeping the driver involved.
As for the rest of the GTS, it has the same feel-good factor as any other Scirocco. The four individual seats offer plenty of support and look fab, the driving position is inch-perfect, and although no longer as plush as newer rivals, the interior is solid and well-made.
With room for adults in the back, and a boot that’ll swallow over 300 litres of stuff, it’s one of the most practical coupes around, too. The GTS comes with everything you could want fitted as standard, with an excellent touch-screen sat-nav, DAB radio, heated front seats, two-zone climate control, and all the ‘go faster’ sporty bits dotted around the cabin included in that £28,500 asking price.
If you can do without the boisterous racing stripes and hot hatch-baiting power, lesser versions of the Scirocco are just as sweet to drive, good to look at, practical and well finished as this car. And, while the retro touches give the GTS bags of charm, we suspect their novelty would wear a little thin over time.
- Model: VW Scirocco GTS 2.0-litre TSI 220 manual
- Price: £28,500
- Engine: 2.0-litre petrol turbo, six-speed manual
- Power/Torque: 217bhp, 258lb ft
- 0-62mph: 6.5secs
- Top speed: 153mph
- Economy: 46.3mpg
- CO2/BIK tax liability: 142g/km / 25 %
- Boot space seats up/down: 312/1006 litres
Faster, sharper, and more unruly, the ST is a brilliant hot hatch, it’s not as easy to live with or plush inside, but is a lot cheaper.
Renaultsport Megane 275 Cup-S
Striking coupe looks, a sublime chassis, and raucous engine all make the Megane RS a great alternative to the pricey GTS.
Seat Leon Cupra 290 SC
Another talented, good looking three-door rival, the Seat is faster, a shade more modern inside, and rides better than the Scirocco.