The Scirocco’s back. Beneath striking new styling lies the most dynamic and technologically advanced production coupe Volkswagen has ever built.

The essence of the original Scirocco is apparent in its modern day successor. The mix of distinctive coupe styling, a practical hatchback boot, a transversely mounted four-cylinder engine channelling drive through the front wheels and sharp, responsive dynamics that made the Scirocco such a success at launch in 1974 remains. Yet every element of the new vehicle’s construction belongs firmly in the present day.

Styled by a team led by Klaus Bischoff, Chief Designer at Volkswagen, the Scirocco draws inspiration from the Iroc Concept, unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 2006. Deep front airdams and a razor-thin grille element are framed by twin-lens headlight units. In a rare departure the Volkswagen roundel has been moved from the grille to the bonnet. Further back, pronounced haunches that sweep over the rear wheel arches are accentuated by a tapered sill line that pinches around the middle of the vehicle mimicking the look of the original Iroc Concept car. The haunches flow into the slim high intensity rear light units and a wide, practical hatchback boot, on top of which is a subtle aerodynamic wing.

The aggressive yet cohesive design of the exterior runs into the new Scirocco’s interior. The driver is placed in a highly supportive front seat beside which are beautifully crafted triangular grab handles. A contoured, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel frames dials that glow white at night. The interior is airy and light, while the option of an electrically-operated panoramic sunroof further emphasises the feeling of spaciousness.

Despite the focus on style and dynamics the Scirocco remains practical. The wide boot aperture leads to a 292 litre luggage space that can expand, via the split folding rear seats, to 755 litres.

The new Scirocco features four, individual sculpted seats finished in a choice of either cloth or leather. The sports seats aren’t just restricted to those up front – the contoured rear seats feature integrated headrests to offer plenty of support. Despite the sweeping roofline all four occupants of the Scirocco benefit from extensive headroom.

Proportions for the new Scirocco are classic coupe – short, low and wide. A long wheelbase measuring 2,578 mm brings with it stability and packaging benefits. The vehicle measures 4,256 mm long, 1,404 mm high and 1,810 mm wide. Compare this with the Golf GTI which has the same length wheelbase and dimensions of 4,216 mm long, 1,469 mm high and 1,759 mm wide.

Key to the advances made by the Scirocco are the new dynamic aids. All models feature advanced adaptive chassis control offering three driver-selected settings – comfort, normal and sport – allowing a balance between sharp responses and comfortable everyday accessibility. The system’s influence extends to the steering system: should ‘sport’ be selected the steering firms up to provide more feel while ‘comfort’ mode makes the steering lighter and easier to operate at low speeds or around town.

The Scirocco’s sharp dynamics are linked to a range of powerful yet efficient petrol and diesel engines. The new model will be launched in the UK fitted with a 2.0-litre T-FSI four-cylinder engine developing 200 PS and driving through the front wheels via a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed DSG gearboxes. A range of TSI and common rail TDI engines will also be offered linked to six-speed manual and seven-speed DSG gearboxes, from the end of the year.

A comprehensive range of safety features is fitted to the Scirocco as standard. These include six airbags, Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) and ABS with Hydraulic Brake Assist.

Full UK specification and pricing will be announced in June when the car will be opened for ordering, prior to the first UK deliveries in September. Prices for the launch model are expected to start at around £20,000.

The origins of the Volkswagen coupe

Styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro and assembled by Karmann in Osnabruck, Germany, the original Scirocco coupe arrived in the UK along with the iconic Golf GTI in 1974.

The engine line-up started with the modest 1.3-litre, four cylinder unit developing 60 bhp. By the time the model ceased production in 1993 it was topped by a 1.8-litre 16v engine developing a more substantial 139 bhp to raise the top speed to 129 mph and drop the 0 to 62 mph dash to 8.1 seconds.

The Mk I Scirocco marked the debut of the iconic wedge shape that would be carried over in slightly smoothed off form – dropping the coefficient of drag from 0.42 to 0.38 in the process – for the Mk II vehicle which broke cover in 1981. Despite the visual similarities the Mk II Scirocco featured an all-new chassis as well as an updated interior and engines.

Over two generations and 19 years, a total of 77,460 Sciroccos were sold in the UK alone. In this time various special editions and performance models were offered including the GLI, GTI, the Storm in 1984 and the 16V GTX in 1985.

In 1989 the Corrado model was introduced. Sitting above the Scirocco range the Corrado adopted its wedge styling in a completely new chassis featuring active aerodynamics in the form of a rear wing that rose at speeds of over 45 mph. Featuring a choice of three new engines topped by the 2.9-litre 190 bhp VR6 unit the Corrado went on to replace the Scirocco in 1993 as the coupe in the Volkswagen range when sales ceased.

The UK market accounted for 10,155 sales of the Corrado between 1989 and 1996.

Scirocco
engine range (1974 – 1993)

Engine

Power, bhp

Top speed, mph

0-62 mph, secs

1.3-litre

60

97

14.8

1.3-litre

70

102

13.2

1.6-litre

85

108

11.8

1.6-litre (GTI)

110

118

9.5

1.8-litre (Storm)

112

118

8.3

1.8-litre 16V

129

124

8.6

1.8-litre 16V

139

129

8.1

Corrado
engine range (1989 – 1996)

Engine

Power, bhp

Top speed, mph

0-62 mph, secs

2.0-litre 16V

136

130

9.3

1.8-litre G60

160

140

8.5

2.9-litre VR6

190

146

6.9

Timing

  • Scirocco breaks cover at Geneva Motor Show as the most eagerly anticipated of four world debuts by Volkswagen
  • Based on Iroc Concept car shown at Paris Motor Show in 2006
  • European sales set to start late summer
  • Car opened for ordering in the UK in June; UK sales start in September 2008
  • First-generation Scirocco was also unveiled at Geneva, 34 years ago

Key facts

  • Two-door, four-seat sports coupe; front engined and front wheel drive
  • Most dynamic and technologically advanced production coupe Volkswagen has ever built
  • Styled by a team led by Klaus Bischoff, Chief Designer at Volkswagen
  • Distinctive design draws inspiration from the Iroc Concept, with pronounced haunches that sweep over the rear wheel arches and are accentuated by a tapered sill line that pinches around the middle of the vehicle
  • Haunches flow into the slim high intensity rear light units and a wide, practical hatchback boot, on top of which is a subtle aerodynamic wing
  • Airy and light interior with optional panoramic sunroof to emphasise feeling of spaciousness
  • Classic coupe proportions mean the Scirocco is low and wide. A long wheelbase measuring 2,578 mm brings with it stability and packaging benefits. The vehicle measures 4,256 mm long, 1,404 mm high and 1,810 mm wide. (Golf GTI has the same length wheelbase and dimensions of 4,216 mm long, 1,469 mm high and 1,759 mm wide)
  • Wide boot aperture leads to a 292 litre luggage space that can expand, via the split folding rear seats, to 755 litres to boost practicality
  • All models feature an advanced adaptive chassis control system offering three driver-selected settings – comfort, normal and sport. This affects damper settings as well as altering the ‘feel’ of the electro-mechanical steering
  • At launch, the Scirocco will be offered with one engine: a 2.0-litre T-FSI developing 200 PS with a choice of six-speed manual or DSG gearboxes
  • Two further TSI units as well as a common rail diesel engine will become available later. Volkswagen’s new seven-speed DSG gearbox will also be on sale linked to selected engines from the end of the year
  • A comprehensive range of safety features is fitted to the Scirocco as standard. These include six airbags, Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) and ABS with Hydraulic Brake Assist
  • Full UK specification and pricing will be announced in June; prices for the launch model are expected to start at around £20,500

Volkswagen anticipates UK sales of around 3,000 in 2008, rising to 9,000 vehicles in 2009.