By Pradeep Paul
PARDON me if you're confused by that phrase "fast speed". But that's the only way to describe the sensation of piloting the Volkswagen Scirocco R. And I mean pilot... not drive.
Reason: The car's so fast, it could use full-on safety harnesses like those worn by pilots, not mere three-point seat belts.
The Scirocco R doesn't just hit a high top speed - a lot of cars can do that - it gets to that top speed insanely fast. One minute you're sitting at a traffic light, 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine burbling with promise, and the next you notice items in your rear view mirror rapidly diminishing in size even as your ears lap up the intoxicating growl of the six-speed gearbox shifting cogs.
Good thing the car has a squat posture, almost like an athlete poised in the starting blocks, hind quarters bulging with muscles capable of making full use of the 256bhp and 330Nm churned out by the engine. Shod with 19-inch wheels and low-profile tyres, the front-wheel-drive car hits the three-figure mark in just six seconds... even with four comfortably- seated people on board.
That's only part of the Scirocco R story though. It's the surefooted way it delivers that speed, even when you're negotiating bends in the road, that really gets your heart pumping. Equipped with electronic differential lock - it brakes the inside front wheel during cornering - and dynamic chassis control, the car makes you feel like a Formula One driver by providing great turn-in characteristics with minimal understeer.
|VW SCIROCCO R
|Price: $158,300 with COE
Engine: 1,984cc 16-valve inline-4 turbocharged
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch with paddle shift
0-100kmh: 6 seconds
Top speed: 250kmh
Fuel consumption: 8 litres/100km (city-highway)
Agent: Volkswagen Centre Singapore
However, the thing that really put a smile on my face was the guttural bark from the specially tuned exhaust system every time I flicked the paddle-shifter at high revs. This car doesn't just growl a little louder with each downshift, it barks with pleasure every time you upshift at speed.
No wonder F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg, who drove one of the Williams cars at last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, has picked the Scirocco R as his mode of transportation when he's doing groceries. Of course, being a total petrol-head, he's opted for the manual.
This article was first published in tabla!