Steering Column

Nice Rs

Volkswagen is now taking orders for the quickest versions of its Golf and Scirocco cars ever built, a pair of cars proudly bearing the R badge.

You can book a Golf R from just under £29,000 or the Golf-based coupe, the Scirocco R, from just under £27,000.

Interestingly enough, the hatch­back Golf wrings a little more power and a bit better acceleration from the same engine as the sportier looking Scirocco coupe.

Both have a two-litre TSI four-cylinder engine and a six speed manual gearbox as standard but the Golf turns out 268bhp, around five bhp more than the Scirocco. Torque figures are identical at 258lb.ft.

On the road or track that translates into a 0.3 second difference in the sprint time. The Golf R, with three or five doors and a manual gearbox, will leap to 62mph in 5.7 seconds.

The Scirocco R takes six seconds, though the six-speed DSG automatic gearbox will allegedly pare that down to 5.8 seconds. The same gearbox on the Golf drops the sprint to 5.5 seconds. The Golf R is now officially the fastest accelerating production Volkswagen ever.

The Golf also has the advantage of the 4MOTION four-wheel-drive system to get the best grip under extreme acceleration while the Scirocco has to make do with traction control on just two driven wheels at the front.

Amazingly enough, the Golf R can still drive an average of 33.2 miles on a gallon of fuel.

Visually you will recognise these special cars by the styling extras which include spoilers on the roof, twin exhaust ports, LED running lights and a rake of airdams all round the skirts. Alternatively you could just keep an eye out for the R badges that subtly adorn the tasty beasts.

Personally I wish the upgraded traction system was available on the sleek and sexy Scirocco, even though the Golf R is the more practical vehicle.

Both cars will be in showrooms by February of next year.

More sense

Meanwhile, three manufacturers with local outlets are celebrating the more frugal virtues of their new additions.

Citroën has a new C3 Picasso with reduced carbon dioxide emissions, Suzuki is trumpeting an Alto hatchback that’s achieved over 70mpg on an economy run in Australia, and Vauxhall is launching a super-clean version of the little Corsa.

Citroën’s little multi-purpose vehicle is now available with a 1.6-litre diesel engine turning out 90bhp and pumping out less than 120g of carbon dioxide per km, meaning it’s available with road tax of just £35 a year.

The Alto took part in the 1,900 mile Darwin to Adelaide Global Green challenge run. Over seven days it used only 123 litres of fuel which works out at an impressive 72mpg fuel consumption.

The three-door Corsa ecoFLEX will turn out 98g/km of the greenhouse gas and so is exempt from road tax. It has a 1.3-litre turbocharged diesel engine turning out 94bhp and a built in particulate filter to take smoke particles out of the exhaust.

It’s being flagged up as the most efficient Vauxhall ever built and it can give you an average fuel consumption of over 76mpg. It’s not available yet but you can order in January when the prices are announced.

Mike Grundon


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