A Brief History of the Volkswagen Scirocco

The Dark Horse of Volkswagen

2y ago

The Volkswagen Scirocco has always been a car I have admired. It's a sibling of the Golf but nowhere near as popular or as well known.

Volkswagen Scirocco MK I (1974-1981)

Volkswagen introduced the Scirocco in the 70s as a replacement for the Karmann Ghia. It was meant to be a sporty and sleek hatchback to produce alongside the Golf. It is fundamentally based on a Golf (sharing the same chassis and similar engines). You may notice that the MK I Golf was also introduced in the same year. VW released the Scirocco 6 months earlier to test the waters. It initially went up for sale in Europe then in America in 1975. These 4 cylinder engines were available in 1.1L through to 1.6L and also a 1.7L which was only available in America.

These were vastly popular in North America despite a few issues with regulations to begin with. Initially the Scirocco didn't come with A/C until it was introduced in 1975. As the popularity increased, so did the development of the Scirocco. VW slowly started to add more optional extras such as more colour options, the 'champagne edition' paint, sunroof, chrome and so on. As time went on, for emission reasons, America banned the 1.6L and only supplied the 1.5L as the most powerful option. But due to popular demand, they brought the 1.6L back towards the 80s which unleashed a whopping 78 bhp.

Volkswagen Scirocco MK II (1981-1992)

As you can see, Volkswagen didn't waste any time between generations and jumped straight into the MK II. It was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 1981. There were quite a few changes in this model including, added front and rear headroom, more luggage space, and a more streamlined body shape (and of course the all important addition of a rear spoiler). It seems to me that VW were competing against themselves to produce the best hatchback. This generation saw the addition of a 1.8L engine which produced around 110 bhp and the 16 valve engines putting out around 140 bhp. That's some serious power!

There were a vast variety of trim levels to choose from with the MK II Scirocco. I'll list all of them from all the different markets L, CL, GL, SL, GLS, GLI, GT, GTI, GTL, GTS, GTX, GT MK II, Scala, GT 16V and GTX 16V. There were also some special editions, with some rather cool names such as the Storm, White cat, Tropic and Slegato. A lot of variations which I had never heard of before, resulting i'm sure in a lot of work for the VW production team.

Volkswagen Scirocco MK III (2008-2017)

As you can see, there was quite a significant gap between the MK II and MK III Scirocco. In the summer of 2006, VW announced the imminent return of the Scirocco to their line up. In terms of safety, the Scirocco performed amazingly and received a 5 star rating from Euro NCAP, despite the test dummy hitting the steering wheel when the airbag didn't deploy. The MK III Scirocco came with either a 1.4L or 2.0L petrol engine as well as a 2.0L diesel. In 2014, VW announced the facelift of the 2008 model which just included LED daytime running headlights, new grille etc. It was a great car but nowhere near as good as the Golf and sadly in 2017, VW discontinued the Scirocco.

The Scirocco R in 2009 was a great success and proved to be very popular for the younger folk. It featured the same engine from the Golf R and it looked much better and had a lot more road presence than the 'stock' Scirocco.

My favourite of the Scirocco line up was the MK II as it reminds me so much of the Corrado which was a fantastic car from VW and looks really sporty.

What is your favourite generation of the Scirocco?

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Comments (7)

  • Love the mk1 even with only 85hp

      2 years ago
  • I used to car pool with a friend from Heathrow to Gatwick everyday in his MK2 Scirocco. I loved it unless I was relinquished to the back seat which was very cramped compared to my MK2 Golf GTi at the same time.

      2 years ago
  • The third generation is my favourite because it looks great.

      2 years ago
    • I agree. I was really young when it came out. It never made it to India but I dreamt of owning one.

        1 year ago
  • My dad had a Mk1 from new as a company car, it was a cool car.

      2 years ago
  • Gimme that Mk I. All day

      2 years ago