Volkswagen Scirocco R

Volkswagen Scirocco R

It was a case of car yum cha German style recently when Volkswagen wheeled out a tasty trolley load of its updated models for the Australian motoring media to nibble.

The ‘Deutsche degustation’ consisted of the Tiguan SUV, classic town-and-country fare; members of the a la carte R-Line, including Golf, Beetle and Touareg; the Touareg R, a hearty piece of beef; and a sweet and spicy dessert, the Scirocco R, which will hit the Aussie automobile table sometime in the new year.

Since its introduction in 2008, Volkswagen has considered the Tiguan the essence of the sports utility range and has now updated it accordingly, adding a more powerful diesel engine, while launching a new flagship.

Volkswagen Scirocco R

Volkswagen Scirocco R

With four engines on offer – three petrol and one diesel – the new 130 kW 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel is 27 kW more powerful than the unit it replaces and offers an easily accessible 380 Nm of torque between 1750 and 2500 rpm.

Making use of BlueMotion technology and VW 4Motion all-wheel drive, mated to a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission, VW Tiguan is capable of fuel consumption of 6.2 litres per 100 kilometres according to official measurements.

On a launch drive through the Melbourne suburbs and countryside beyond, taking in bitumen and non-too difficult dirt road, a test Tiguan recorded 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres.

Passenger protection is in the hands of ABS anti-skid braking with Auto Hold Function, Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Anti-Slip Regulation, Electronic Differential Lock, Electronic Stabilisation Program and Engine Braking Control.

Six airbags and safety optimised front headrests complete the picture, while daytime running lights increase the vehicle’s visibility to other road users and pedestrians.

The cherry on top of the cake is the fact that all models come with rearview camera, 6.5-inch colour touch screen, leather-bound multi-function steering wheel, multifunction display and fatigue detection system, the latter monitors driving style and warns of changes due to tiredness.

The new flagship model is where the Volkswagen R-Line really comes into play. The 155TSI R-Line is powered by the high performance petrol engine carried over from the previous model and scores additional features such as 18-inch Mallory alloy wheels, adaptive chassis control, Vienna leather seats and satellite navigation.

At the other end of the scale is the six-speed manual 118 kW 1.4-litre TSI, carried over as a two-wheel drive model, while all other Tiguans take the 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

Tiguan prices range from $28,990, plus on-road costs, for the 118TSI six-speed manual to $44,990 for the 155TSI R-Line seven-speed DSG automatic. Tiguan is not the only model to be added to the R-Line. The Golf Wagon has taken on the R-Line mantle.

This means Golf, Golf Wagon, Beetle and Tiguan, now have access to an R-Line package as an option on specific models within the range, while Tiguan and Touareg ranges are standalone R-Line models, offering enhanced performance with higher-output engines – a 155 kW TSI engine in the Tiguan, and a 250 kW V8 TDI in the Touareg.

It was the R-Line Golf Wagon that turned out to be most impressive on launch. Already beneficiaries of high levels of standard equipment of the Highline Golf models (103TSI and 110TDI) with the inclusion of unique 18-inch ‘Salvador’ alloy wheels, R-Line steering wheel with paddle shifters, R-Line interior trim complete with sport seats with R-Line badging, stainless steel pedals and sports suspension. Both hatch and wagon models also receive R-Line exterior body styling including rear spoiler, front and rear bumpers and side sills.

Progressive steering is another feature of the Golf and Golf Wagon R-Line models, offering a more direct and agile steering response in dynamic driving situations. In fact the ride and handling in general, plus the interior comfort, of the 110TDI Highline DSG automatic wagon with R-Line package went far beyond that expected of a $38,540 priced vehicle.

The 118TSI Beetle with R-Line package was less impressive. Even so, the classic shape takes on unique front and rear bumpers, 18-inch Twister alloy wheels and R-Line badging.

Inside are steering wheel gearshift paddles on DSG models, sports instrumentation on top of the dashboard displaying boost pressure, oil temperature and including a stopwatch, to add a further unique touch.

As with all R-Line models, the Beetle also comes with tinted rear glass, all this for a few grand over the standard $30,290 Beetle price.

Like the Tiguan, the Touareg is a standalone R-Line model, offering enhanced performance with a higher output diesel engine – a 250 kW 4.2-litre V8 TDI – the big wagon turning out to be deceptively quick, gobbling up the country kilometres on the launch run.

A more dynamic exterior with unique R-Line design bumpers and oval tailpipes, as well as R-Line logo on the front stainless steel door sill plates and the heated leather rimmed multifunction steering wheel with gear shift paddles, stainless steel pedals and a leather gear shift knob with aluminium inserts spruik the wagon’s performance credentials.

Loaded up with Comfort Package and Driver Assistance Package (except Lane Assist), as well as nine airbags, ASR, EDL and ESP with active rollover protection function, EBC and Off-road Function with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS Plus) and Hill Decent Assist the V8 Touareg offers class-leading safety for $114,990, plus on-roads.

Because we’d mostly been good boys and eaten up our ‘greens’ on the R-Line menu, VW produced a sweet treat with a touch of spice – the Scirocco R – an updated version of the third generation of the sports coupe.

Sitting between the five-door Golf GTI and five-door Golf R, the standalone Scirocco has been modernised inside and out, the standalone Scirocco R now comes with its own exterior styling of matte chrome-look door mirror caps; Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights; 19-inch Cadiz alloy wheels; black brake calipers with ‘R’ logo; sports suspension; adaptive chassis control; XDL electronic differential; R-specific sports seats; and a multifunction trip computer.

The 188 kW TSI engine makes its return to the updated Scirocco R, combining the efficiency of direct-injection with the power of turbocharging. The 1984 cc 16-valve, four-cylinder engine develops a maximum power at 6000 rpm and Its maximum torque of 330 Nm across a wide range of engine speeds, from 2400 to 5200 rpm, the latter shown to great effect in a short but testing loop in the Yarra Valley of Victoria..

It was the icing on an a la carte menu to get the taste buds tingling. Pricing will be announced when the Scirocco R goes on sale in Australia in the new year. In the meantime, take the figure of $47,990 for the present Scirocco R as a guide.

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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