Speed dating: 48 hours with the Volkswagen Scirocco R
It's been a quarter century since the Volkswagen Scirocco was readily available for mass consumption in North America, and for good reason. Volkswagen began Scirocco production back in 1974 and supplied the United States with copies up until 1988. By that time, the Volkswagen Golf (which also began production in 1974) was nearing the end of its second-generation run and was firmly entrenched in the U.S. The Scirocco quietly bowed out of the North American market while the GTI and Golf R have gone on to become halo cars for the brand. Nevertheless, Volkswagen enthusiasts continue to clamor for the return of the Scirocco to the United States. Volkswagen recently handed us the keys to the only Scirocco R in North America at the moment so we could see if this hype was misplaced or not. What would follow next was nothing short of unexpected but it did make a strong case for VW to bring the Scirocco back to the North American market. Here's what we learned.
From inside, you'll be hard pressed to tell the difference between the Volkswagen Golf R available here in the United States and its Europe-only cousin, the Scirocco R. The Scirocco's cloth bucket seats and rear headrests create some daylight between the two but that's about it. It's how the Scirocco's sheet metal falls that really make those in the know yearn for the Scirocco R to come stateside again. Volkswagen enthusiasts are itching for the Scirocco to return and when we were caught out in the wild with the only third-generation example in North America, people noticed.
Case in point: getting on the freeway for the commute home the first evening, a Volkswagen CC came right up behind the Scirocco and the front passenger began enthusiastically pointing and snapping pictures with their phone. This lasted about for 9 miles before the CC peeled off and exited the freeway. No sooner had we attempted to blend back in with traffic when a street bike pulled up alongside the Scirocco. Again, the passenger bravely pulled out their phone and began taking a few photos before they realized, as rare as the Scirocco is in America, their life wasn't worth the risk. This all happened within the first 30 minutes of the commute home.
With all that said, should Volkswagen bring the Scirocco back to the states? We reached out to Volkswagen to get the official word on why the Scirocco isn't currently available in the United States and, as expected, the fear of cannibalizing GTI sales is very real. There's also the problem that the current Scirocco sits on a dying platform and is set to go away in the next few years.
Hold on though Scirocco fans. That's not to say the Scirocco will never return to the U.S. The next-generation Golf and GTI will utilize the MQB platform, which will also underpin the fourth-gen Scirocco. However, this MQB platform isn't set to arrive for a few more years and Volkswagen says that if the Scirocco does return to the states, it wouldn't be for several years after that. So, while we enjoyed our time with the Scirocco, we understand Volkswagen's thinking. Besides, the next Golf R is set to arrive in 2015 with 285 horsepower - 20 more than the current Scirocco-and just like that, we're back to square one again.
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