VW Scirocco RC280

We preview official R-car with this UK version

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

If you can’t wait for the upcoming Volkswagen Scirocco R flagship, or feel as if your standard 2.0 TSI needs a performance boost, this RC280 model could be just what you’re looking for. Unlike many modified cars, it doesn’t go for huge power at the expense of driveability, and the suspension tweaks are very effective, too. If the firm toned down the styling, it would have got five stars.

BMW has proved there’s room for improvement in the 3-Series – and it seems the same may be true of VW’s Scirocco. Yet performance, not economy, is the name of the game with this mean-looking model: the RC280.

VW’s official Scirocco R isn’t due until next year, so this car – from UK tuner Niche Conversions – gives a peek at the potential of the 2.0 TSI variant. And it will also interest owners keen to upgrade their existing models.

Thanks to a host of engine mods, including a remapped ECU and stainless steel exhaust, Niche has summoned an extra 89bhp and 90Nm. That takes power to 286bhp at 6,450rpm and torque to 371Nm at 3,100rpm – which is 25bhp and 21Nm more than in the upcoming R.

The extra punch translates to a 5.7-second 0-62mph time (1.5 seconds quicker than the standard 2.0 TSI). Top speed is 19mph higher, at 165mph. And due to the well judged traction control system, the RC280 has no problems transferring these mighty outputs on to the road.

Meanwhile, the powerplant proves tractable on the move. Plus, there’s extra feel to the steering, as the car rides 25mm lower than standard and wears 19-inch alloys, which stiffen everything up. The bodykit is a matter of taste, but the RC280 is still a very good package.

Rival: Focus ST Mountune

With ‘only’ 256bhp, the hot Ford isn’t quite as fast as the Scirocco RC280. However, it’s still great fun to drive, with a characterful engine and fine handling balance.

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