With the Scirocco R's low roofline, front-wheel-drive architecture, and turbocharged engine, Volkswagen shows Europe, but not the US, what a hot hatch should be.
Volkswagen gave CNET some wheel time in its Sirocco R, a model not sold in or destined for the US market. And that is a shame because the car looks sportier than anything in its US lineup, a car that really defines the phrase "hot hatchback."
In many ways, the Scirocco R is similar to the Golf R. Both are high performance variations on existing hatchback models and use very similar drivetrains. The Golf R has more practical body styling, but the Scirocco R will turn more heads. Under the hood, both cars feature a turbocharged 2-liter engine, although the Scirocco R gets a slight output bump, up to 261 horsepower.
This model included a navigation system, but, loaded with European maps, it was not of any use in the US. In other ways, this head unit was basically the same as one the company offers in other US models.
Volkswagen's DSG automated manual transmission has six gears and two computer-controlled clutches. Instead of the driver pushing a clutch pedal, the engine engages and disengages clutches depending on its programming or driver selection.