Steering Column 15.05.09

All things bright and beautiful

Volkswagen has just started taking orders for what is possibly my absolute dream road car. It’s the latest version of the new Scirocco, the company’s sleek and tough looking little coupe.

The thing has all the presence and elegance of the finely sculpted beast we’re starting to get familiar with, yet it comes with a performance engine that’ll give you a 0-62mph sprint time of just over eight seconds and an official average fuel consumption of (get this) over 53mpg.

The Volkswagen/Audi Group is a master of turning oil-burners into performance cars, so it should be no surprise that this Scirocco has a two-litre turbo-charged diesel engine that will pump out 168bhp and 258lb.ft of torque. The press release says it mixes style, economy and sharp dynamics and although you’ll hear that often in official promo blurb, on this occasion it’s absolutely true.

It only comes in the top end GT trim level which means it has a six-CD auto-changer, rain and dusk sensors for the wipers and lights, a trip computer, his and hers air conditioning and a huge rake of active and passive safety kit. Basically it’s pretty well ap­pointed.

It has the company’s Adaptive Chassis Control which lets the driver switch between normal, comfort and sport modes for the suspension and steering. It also offers the option of some incredibly gorgeous 19-inch spoked alloy wheels with low-profile tyres.

If you want one with a six-speed manual gearbox, it will cost you £21,755, or with a DSG automatic box it will be £23,060. I can but dream of the day I can afford either, but if you have the cash, a grain of aesthetic sensibility and the desire for guilt-free performance motor­ing, it’s all here for you.

The Professionals’ choice

The first generation Scirocco was in competition for a while with a car that’s just celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The Ford Capri, which for my generation will always be remembered for its links with The Professionals on the telly, was an iconic vehicle and a true object of dream and desire.

The coupe offered power, sex-appeal, brute masculinity and square-jawed honest heroism and we loved it, especially with the round lights at the front.

Truth is though, it was rubbish.

Some years ago I actually drove the last Capri to come off the production line, and therefore what should have been the ultimate expression of Capridom. It was a 2.8 limited edition Brooklands, built in 1986. My memory is of it having spongy and wallowy suspension, a vague and dithering gear selection and a steering wheel that did little more positive than nudge the front wheels into line.

The handling was quite frankly frightening and the very average Focus family hatchback I drove at the same event was a vastly superior beast in almost every single way – I say almost because it didn’t look anywhere near as sexy as the Capri.

I’ve driven literally thousands of cars since I took up motoring writing close on 20 years ago and I’ve thrown away almost all the photos I took on launch events or test drives. However, there is still one picture I refuse to part with. It’s me, with shaggy hair, a big jumper and an ill-judged beard, grinning like a loon by the open door of that ‘86 Capri.

Happy 40th birthday. Missing you.

Mike Grundon


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