By Jon Barlow

VW Scirocco – Back For Good?

Most people know that the word Scirocco derives from the Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara desert you did know that didn’t you? Did you also know that the last Scirocco’s finally rolled off the production line as far back as 1989?

Well after a nineteen year or so absence the Scirocco is back some say by popular demand others say that car manufacturers’ attempts at recycling has started with just the names! Whatever your view on the matter I think the consensus of opinion is that the return of this sporty hatchback is all together a welcome one.

The origins of the Scirocco go back to the early seventies when VW realised they would have to replace the beautiful but rather ageing Karmann Ghia. For this they enlisted the help of the Italian styling guru Giorgetto Giugiaro and so the Scirocco or Type 53 as it was affectionately referred to internally was born.

First appearing in 1974 the Scirocco was a three door sports hatch and was fairly popular selling around 500,000 units by 1981. A few subtle changes were made during the first years of production but it was not until the second generation model arrived in 1982 that the car improved significantly with engine power output and torque up rated and a revised interior. The unique at the time spoiler mounted to the rear window became synonymous with the Scirocco appearance.


Production continued until around 1989 by which time a further 290,000 were produced whilst sales continued to around 1992 until the Scirocco had been replaced by the Corrado. Many Scirocco enthusiasts remain however and there is a thriving owner’s network especially in the UK.

After much press speculation in 2006 VW unveiled the concept version of the Scirocco known as the Iroc at the 2006 Paris Motor Show and it attracted a huge amount of attention.

The Scirocco went on sale in March 2008 and has already divided opinion but it is too early to say whether the lovers of the old Scirocco will embrace the new model.

The Scirocco GT is a three door sports coupe with a 2 litre turbocharged petrol engine developing 200 PS. Acceleration from 0-62 is 7.5 seconds with a top speed of 146mph for the manual version although the automatic is only a second slower. A six-speed auto or manual gearbox is available.

The Scirocco comes with ACC (Adaptive Chassis Control) this allows the driver to adjust the suspension settings to suit conditions and ESP (Electronic Stability Programme). Safety features include all-round disc brakes with ABS and a multi-point airbag system including driver and passenger plus front seats and also curtain airbags.

Options include cruise control and hill hold control. The Scirocco comes with 18′ Alloys as standard but 19′ are an available extra should you want to really look the business. 2009 should see the arrival of a less potent 1.4 petrol version together with a diesel.

Early reviews of the GT have proclaimed that the handling of the car is exceptional especially at higher speeds with low wind noise and precise cornering. The interior has a high quality feel as you would expect from VW. Fuel economy is better than expected unless you drive the car really hard.

Apparently the Vice-President of VW USA announced that he did not want the Scirocco to go on sale in America as it would clash with sales of the Golf GTI a claim that was later disputed by the CEO of VW who said the final decision rested with him!

Overall residual value should be maintained due to the interest in the Scirocco so it just remains to be seen if the new Scirocco is as popular as its predecessor but I have a more than sneaky feeling that it will.

About the Author: Jon Barlow looks at the new VW Scirocco at his local Bristol VW Dealer


Permanent Link: