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Volkswagen Dealers Host the Return of an Icon

Sep 13, 2008
Volkswagen dealers must be feeling rather nostalgic this year with the return of their prodigal son - the Scirocco. There's something special about the return of an icon that tugs at the heartstrings of the human race. As a child I remember watching my beloved Manchester United tear apart teams in an era when football had just become big business at the dawn of the English Premiership. At this time I recall seeing Eric Cantona lash out at an opposing 'fan' with a kung-fu kick that equalled a nine month suspension. For all the uproar, the media backlash and preaching, his return against Liverpool was a modern-day resurrection.

When a band reforms for a tour you know that 99 percent of the time it's because someone's money has been blown on private jets and glamour models and a new tour will keep them in paradise for another few years. Regardless of this fact, we all clamour to see true greatness one 'last' time, so we go wild at the prospect of seeing the Police, Sex Pistols and um the Spice Girls and pray for a glimpse of their former glory.

The Scirocco was a legend in its own lifetime before it went on hiatus. These days an affordable sports coupe comes with front wheel drive, it's an accepted fact. Back in the late 70's when the Scirocco was born this was seen as a bit lightweight and flighty. The car initially was underpowered and wasn't handsome but pretty, making it impossible for any man to be taken seriously amongst their mates. Soon after its launch however, the Scirocco was fitted with the same 1.6 litre engine found in the Golf GTi and suddenly the pretty car had balls of steel.

Thus it became a legend. Women loved its prettiness and men loved telling the women they owned one. It was in many ways the most successful 'bird puller' ever. Unfortunately I don't have the exact statistics to back up this claim. It didn't drive particularly well but it looked the part upon arrival and that in a sports coupe is priority one.

As I've already established true icons have a second coming and Volkswagen dealers will be reintroducing the new Scirocco into the wild a full 34 years after the original. History has repeated itself as the new car shares the same platform as the Gold GTi, beneath its sleek exterior. I'm a big fan of the latest GTi which is a welcome return to form after the disappointing Mk3 and 4 variants, but it looks like an old lady next to the Scirocco.

Designed by Giorgetto Guigiaro, the Scirocco is longer, wider and lower than the Golf which gives it an aggressive stance whilst avoiding boy racer comparisons. The Volkswagen brand is built upon bullet proof reliability and practicality. The Scirocco takes these elements and wraps them in the finest cashmere coat and suddenly everyone stops and stares. The Volkswagen badge is pushed up onto the bonnet allowing the narrower grill to give the bonnet a frown that neatly marries up with the headlights.

The doors are pillar-less and gigantic, meaning that side-on the VW looks like one beautiful sweeping sheet of glass. The driving position is low slung and comfortable thanks to big fat seats. All this style and comfort is predictably to the detriment of rear passenger space and visibility. My repost would be that if you buy a Scirocco for these two features you shouldn't be allowed out in polite society anyway.

Currently Volkswagen dealers offer the car with a 197bhp, 2.0 litre turbocharged engine. Early 2009 will see the arrival of 1.4 litre petrol and 2.0 litre diesel engines, all with the option of Volkswagen's DSG dual clutch auto-gearbox with F1 style paddle shifters. As seems to be the way these days, the car has different modes depending on driving conditions, in this case 'Sport' and 'Comfort'. More importantly, the Scirocco has a lower centre of gravity than the Golf GTi thanks to a wider track and as a result it's a very able car through the twisty stuff. The steering felt slightly uninvolved despite the car being beautifully balanced and handling corners with ease, but this is a personal preference and not a major issue, particularly when you switch to 'Sport'.

With a price tag starting at 22,000, it's not going to pension off the Golf GTi but should happily run alongside its brother in the Volkswagen family. The best thing about the latest Scirocco is that it retains the most important feature of the original model. It doesn't matter how you got to your destination, sport mode or not, it's how you look when you get there that counts. I don't have my statistics book to hand but I reckon the Scirocco will have men telling women everywhere they own one.
About the Author
Mark Creese welcomes the long awaited return of the Volkswagen Scirocco at Heritage VW
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