Volkswagen Scirocco

Wildest version of VW’s brand new Scirocco coupe, the race-bred GT24 gives a taste of hot things to come

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

We love the latest incarnation of the Scirocco, and this model proves we have got even more to look forward to with the hot version. Its looks are simply stunning, and judging by the crowds it drew in the paddock at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed, we’re not the only ones to think so. Here’s hoping that VW sticks to the recipe of building a stunning eye-catcher with superb race car-like performance.

Here's a Scirocco that will really put the wind up rivals! It’s the first version of Volkswagen’s all-new coupé to appear on our shores. And fittingly for a nation of performance car lovers, it also shows what the hot R variant of the newcomer will look like when it’s launched in 2010.

Called the GT24, our test car is actually a road-going version of the racer that VW used to prove the coupé’s blend of speed and reliability at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Officially, the German firm has yet to decide on an engine for the Scirocco R, but as it has given the GT24 the same four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo as is used in the Audi S3, it’s a fair bet that a finished R will use the same motor.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the VW Scirocco

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To ensure performance meets expectations, the engine is far from standard; it now kicks out a neck-snapping 325bhp thanks to increased turbo boost pressure. And that isn’t the only thing to separate it from the hot Audi because, unlike the four-wheel-drive S3, the GT24’s power is directed solely to the front wheels, as it will be in the finished car.

Fat low-profile rubber on 18-inch grey alloys ensures this isn’t quite the torque-steering nightmare its vital statistics suggest. Nonetheless, it still squirms under acceleration as it transmits all that power to the tarmac. The sense of urgency is heightened by the noise from a single tailpipe poking out from the centre of the rear diffuser. While the sound is slightly dulled inside the cockpit, outside it’s racer-raw.

The GT24’s reactions are finely honed like a racing car’s, too, thanks to the extreme diet it’s been on. Tipping the scales at 1,100kg, it’s nearly half-a-tonne lighter than a similarly fuelled-up standard Scirocco. This is thanks to bulbous bodywork which, although 20mm wider than on the regular car, has been sculpted from lightweight carbon fibre.

While clearly a Scirocco, the GT24’s back diffuser, racy rear wing and deep front splitter give it a far more purposeful appearance than the regular road-going machines. Aggressively lowered suspension sets things off. From the leather and Alcantara-clad bucket seat, the driving position is a compromise between visibility and low-slung sportiness.

Press the red starter button, select first gear and the initial impression is of beautifully direct steering through the little squared-off wheel. The second is of the incredibly tight lock that makes low-speed manoeuvres a touch on the tricky side. But then, this car has been built for high speed.

Pull back on the wheel-mounted levers to change up below 2,500rpm and the engine gurgles and grumbles. Flick the paddle at 6,000rpm without backing off the throttle and the GT24 lurches forwards with an appreciative bellow. If the road-going version is half as poised, VW will be on to a winner.

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