Very few things in life are easy. Take the process of applying for a visa for example. You’d think that miserable European country on the brink of financial bailout would welcome your Rands and Cents but instead the swine make it as difficult as possible.
Yep, like some keen Interpol detective with a very strong case of megalomania, you have to open your own personal police docket; stand in a queue for 40 hours and then, just as you think you’re in the bureaucratic clear, get turned away at the last minute because the photographs of your face aren’t quite at the right angle. Excruciating.
For us guys, pulling girls is on the same scale. Be too nice and they’ll ignore you. Be too arrogant and they’ll hate you. But be yourself, however, and they’ll overlook you for the next randy male who displays any one of the two qualities mentioned before.
I could go on but it’s all very perverse and just makes me wonder why, with all these things that should, on paper, be so simple, I haven’t volunteered to work within the quiet, isolatative bliss of the International Space Station. At least if any complications do arise up there, the frustration will quickly quelled by a violent but very swift death.
Whatever. Until that day happens I’ll just have to find some solace in the fact that there are a couple of things that don’t necessitate rabid forms of tail chasing. One is getting into trouble and the other is driving, all too effortlessly, at very high speeds.
Indeed, more than ever before, modern cars are proving that you don’t need an overly large chin or lots of expensive carbon fibre to whippet across the tarmac like a nitro-blooded demigod. Just take the swanky new VW Scirocco R as a perfect case in point.
Cooked up in a cauldron of Wolfsburg fury, this saucy coupé exists solely to take on the two-door might of BMW, Ford and Renault. From a distance it may look like a regular Scirocco but walk a little closer and you’ll notice it wears, like a stripe of war paint on a mercenary’s face, clues that allude to a life more focused, more hardcore.
From planet-sized ‘Talladega’ alloy wheels (19-inches is enough to make even Dirk Diggler feel emasculated) and double, chrome-kissed exhaust pipes to those bespoke bumpers and LED daytime running lights, the full ‘R’ makeover has massaged this car into a veritable shrine to speed. And that’s even before you slither into that cool, aluminium-laced cabin, strap into that Vienna leather seat and twist the ignition.
You see going on those badass looks alone, simple logic dictates that the Scirocco R should intimidate like a Green Street Hooligan. Instead, and from the moment you go nuclear down a deserted strip of bitumen, the process of building and maintaining furious levels of forward momentum becomes almost laughably straightforward.
Screw the consulate – you now own it. And all those girls who were giving you the cold-shoulder? They’re now 10 alco-pops down and begging for your attention.
It’s a biblical performance and one that can be attributed to the Scirocco R’s trick new engine. Nicked from the recently released Golf R, VAG’s familiar two-litre four-pot now features special ingredients like a strengthened and lightweight cylinder head; uprated pistons; beefier conrods and some extra high pressure fuel injectors.
Finished off with 1.2 bars worth of turbo boost pressure, the sum of all these parts culminate in brutal ‘choke-on-your-tongue’ acceleration. Turbine smooth straight out of the blocks, it doesn’t stop pulling until that tachometer needle hits the red paint either.
Aurally it isn’t all that special (think Darth Vader breathing behind a pillow) but if you specify the optional six-speed DSG gearbox, you do get a hair-raising ‘belch’ thundering through the exhaust system on every supersonic up-shift.
This may add lots to the car’s character but, personally, I’d plum for the long-throw six-speed manual. It’s not the slickest of ‘boxes but it does make the R a little more engaging; particularly when faced with Rally-spec Mountain passes like we were on the launch.
A pace master, the Scirocco R knows how to handle too. Blessed with a wide track (1561mm front, 1553mm rear) and riding atop enormous 235/35 tyres, the way it bonds to tarmac is remarkable.
For even though it forgoes the all-wheel drive system native to the Golf R, you never get a sense that you’re ever running out of traction. And although that chassis generally feels as neutral as Switzerland, you can still initiate some degree of lift-off oversteer through tighter corners, that rump stepping out nicely. Even more so if you’ve got those electronically adjustable dampers dialled into extra firm Sport Mode on the optional Dynamic Chassis Control system.
Further enhanced by a well-weighted steering setup that telegraphs a decent amount of feedback, you also get VW’s electronic differential lock (EDL) that limits the amount of inside wheel spin through tight, high-speed kinks. In practice it works a treat and makes this range-topping Scirocco feel infallible when driven on the limit. Seriously, I drove this car damn hard and not once was I ever frustrated by excess understeer – quite a feat for such well-endowed FWD.
To be honest though, this unshakeable amount of latent talent will make VW’s latest R model seem a little too safe and sterile to enthusiasts who still like their motoring thrills sliced with a raggedy edge. But for those who just simply want get it and go flat-out with minimal fuss and bother, then this hot new ‘Roc is the only way to roll.
VW Scirocco R at a Glance:
Engine: 1984cc four-cylinder turbo
Power: 188kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 350Nm @ 2500 – 5000rpm
0-100km/h: 6.0 seconds (manual), 5.8 seconds (DSG)
Top Speed: 250km/h (claimed)
Fuel Consumption: 8.1l/100km (combined manual), 8.0l/100km (combined DSG)
CO2: 189g/km (manual), 187g/km (DSG)
Price: From R403 355 (manual), R417 855 (DSG)
Very easy to drive quickly
Nimble, steadfast handling
Engine needs more sonic character
Manual version is thirsty
Might be too refined for some