Volkswagen Scirocco – which version should you buy?

  • Volkswagen's sporty Scirocco under the microscope 
  • Offers coupe looks with Golf underpinnings
  • But which version and engine is best?

The Volkswagen Scirocco is a coupe version of the ubiquitous Golf hatchback. It is only available as a three-door, and has less space in the boot and back seats. As a trade-off you get a much sleeker and sportier-looking car.

If that appeals, but you don’t know which combination of engine and trim is best, in this article we’ve set out in detail exactly what you get and can expect from each.

To find a Scirocco in your area visit our Cars for Sale page, and don’t forget to get a valuation on your current car, too. Finally, head over to the Finance Section for information on how to fund your purchase.

VW Scirocco alloy wheels

Volkswagen Scirocco specification

The line-up sounds complicated but it’s really quite simple. There are three trim levels with lots of engine choice – standard, GT and R-Line, and then two sporty versions with one engine each – GTS and R. You can also add the Black Edition cosmetic upgrade to GT and R-Line cars.

Standard range

Starting off with the base-spec car, things are pretty sparse. You get:

  • Touchscreen CD/radio system
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Air-con
  • Automatic lights and wipers
  • Multifunction leather steering wheel

Moving up to GT brings plenty of kit, including:

  •  Sat-nav
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Sport seats with black cloth and Alcantara
  • Front fog lights

VW Scirocco dials

GT Black builds on this spec with a black painted roof, rear spoiler and door mirrors, and 18-inch black alloy wheels.

Next up is the sportier-looking R-Line, which adds:

  • 19-inch alloys
  • Heated ‘R-Line’ leather sport seats 
  • Rear tinted windows
  • R-Line Styling pack and badging

Again, R-Line Black gets you a black painted contrast roof, rear spoiler and door mirrors, plus 19-inch alloy wheels in black. This time though you also get darker tinted rear windows.

GTS and R

These models are trims in their own right and come with specific engine and equipment levels.

The GTS gets a whole host of kit and special cosmetic changes inside and out, most notably the lairy racing stripe across the top of the car. It also includes:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Red brake calipers
  • Black door mirrors
  • GTS badging front and rear
  • Chrome GTS scuff plates
  • Vienna leather upholstery with red stitch detail and GTS branding
  • GTS stripe decals on bonnet, roof and rear tailgate
  • Tinted rear windows
  • Leather wheel with red stitch detail and GTS badge

VW Scirocco seats

Finally there’s the Scirocco R that comes with its own unique suspension, with a 10mm drop. You also get:

  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • R badges on the interior and exterior
  • Unique R styling pack – uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers, radiator grille and side skirts
  • Leather R steering wheel with paddle shift (auto only)
  • Rear tinted windows
  • Dynamic chassis control


The Scirocco exclusively uses four-cylinder engines, with a mix of petrol and diesel. All (with one exception) are 2-litres in displacement and can be fitted with a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

There are two petrols and two diesels in the main line-up, plus two special units for the GTS and R models.

Standard range

First up is the entry-level 1.4-litre petrol (the exception) which is manual only, and can’t be picked with R Line. It has 123bhp and 200Nm of torque for a 9.3 second 0-62mph time, and promises 52.3mpg and 125g/km of CO2. If you only do short journeys and few miles per year then it’s a good choice, but otherwise there are better options.

The next three engines can be had across the range, including standard, GT and R Line. Miles per gallon and CO2 figures are given for manual and (automatic)versions.

VW Scirocco TDI

Things start with a larger and considerably more potent petrol engine, packing 178bhp and 280Nm of torque, to the benchmark sprint in 7.4 seconds. It claims 46.3(44.1)mpg and 142(148)g/km of CO2. It’s marginally faster than the diesels but less punchy in gear, plus it doesn’t offer anything like the economy.

The entry diesel has 148bhp and 340Nm of torque, and performance-wise sits between the two petrols with a 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds. This is the best choice for company car drivers on a budget, producing 109(119)g/km of CO2 and a claimed economy of 67.2(62.8)mpg.

Finally there’s a 181bhp diesel, which is the gem of the Scirocco range. It’s the most powerful standard engine, only beaten by the GTS and R cars, yet has more torque than both with 380Nm. This makes it very flexible indeed and easy to drive, with a 7.5 second benchmark sprint. Best of all, you can aim for 60.1(58.9)mpg and 124(125)g/km of CO2. It even sounds good, with a deep and bassy roar from the exhaust.

GTS and R

We’ve separated these two-litre petrol engines out from the others because each one can only be selected with its corresponding trim level.

The GTS is powered by a 217bhp unit similar to the one found in the Golf GTI. It’s our favourite petrol, and arguably the best all-round Scirocco performance engine thanks to its everyday affability combined with fierce pace when the opportunity to use it arises. Expect a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds and economy of 46.3/(44.1)mpg and 142(148)g/km of CO2.

VW Scirocco boot

If only the fastest Scirocco will do then you’ll want the R, which features a more powerful 276bhp version of the above. It shares its 350Nm of torque with the GTS, but is quite a bit faster.

While all other Scirocco versions have identical 0-62mph times whether you choose manual or automatic, the DSG in the R gets there two tenths quicker in 5.5 seconds.

Economy figures are pretty much identical too, with 35.3(35.8)mpg and 187(185)g/km of CO2. While it’s undeniably quick, this top engine feels a bit highly strung and is not as happy to drive slowly as the less powerful GTS.


This current Scirocco has been around for a while now and is not actually based on the new Golf, which we think is a better car to drive. Plus it’s more practical, with more space in the back seats and boot.

The option to combine those stand-out coupe looks with a low running-cost diesel engine means the Scirocco is still desirable if you don’t need to carry passengers or bulky cargo often.

That’s where our money would go – the more powerful 181bhp diesel in R-Line trim as it’s a superb all-rounder.

However, if you want petrol performance then the GTS offers all the comfort and usability of the standard car with a cracking engine and sharper looks.

Need more help finding your next car? Maybe the below articles can help 

Why you should buy a 16-plate car

Off-road but in budget: 10 cheap 4x4s

Nissan Juke: which version should you buy?

Dawn of the SUV age: is it game over for hatchbacks?

Our favourite deals this week