The Scirocco has been on sale in the UK since 2008 but it took Volkswagen another year to produce the ultimate R version and we've just spent a week discovering its charms.
Basically a road going version of the Nürburgring 24 Hours class-winning GT24, the car comes fitted with a 261bhp 2.0-turbocharged engine, a top speed of 155mph and scorches its way to 60mph in just 6.4 seconds.
It certainly felt fast enough, but in the interests of keeping a clean licence, having my eight-week old son aboard most of the time and the fact that our test car was delivered with less than 1,000 miles on it; I can't verify these figures.
Like the exterior, changes for the interior are subtle but well executed. Build quality is excellent and I particularly liked the special brushed metal touches for the R that included the pedals, dash trim and door kick plates. There's also the usual flat-bottomed steering wheel and other gloss black touches to distinguish the R from a standard car.
The driving position is low and comfortable in the front. At a push, there's room for two in the back too. But, my wife found the upswept rear windows make the rear cabin feel claustrophobic and getting a baby seat in and out of the back seats was hard work. Still I guess most people who buy this car will be singletons. Finally, the boot is a deep, practical size but is let down by the high loading lip.
So what's it like to drive? Well the engine is a cracker, developed from the Golf GTi's unit and acceleration seems almost instantaneous. Grip is excellent so there's no wheel spin at all and it has a snarly soundtrack. Our test car was fitted with slick six-speed manual transmission, but six-speed twin-clutch DSG is available as a £1,300 option.
The Scirocco's lower centre of gravity and wider track really help with the handling, as the R corners flat and fast with virtually no torque steer, and the ride is good considering it's a performance car on low profile tyres. As with all Sciroccos, the R is fitted with Adaptive Chassis Control (ACC) as standard; this allows you to adjust the dampers, steering weight and throttle response. There are Comfort, Normal and Sports modes with Normal or Comfort best for motorway work while sport suits B road fun.
To sum up, the Scirocco R has the performance to match its seductive looks. Wth a £26,945 price tag it's not a cheap option, but thankfully the R performance add-ons haven't compromised its everyday usability.