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It's a VW Scirocco, what?
That is usually the first reaction when one mentions the new kid at Volkswagen SA.
Pronounced "Shiroko", the new model is set to hold its own.
According to the VW folk, the Scirocco makes for the perfect niche vehicle.
Launched in KwaZulu-Natal last week, it is indeed a different breed in terms of design, with nothing suggesting the VW tradition. But it does have some resemblance to the Alfa Romeo Brera and Opel GTC.
Asked if the Scirocco was not going to destabilise the sales of the VW Golf, VWSA's Bill Stephens said the Scirocco was a car in its own niche and would not affect Golf sales.
Meanwhile, the sixth-generation Golf will be launched at the end of April.
But the GTi will only be available around July this year.
In 1974 Volkswagen introduced the new Scirocco to the market just a few months before the debut of the first-generation Golf. The sports car was a sensation, since it not only replaced the rear-engine Karmann Ghia, but also initiated - after the Passat was presented before it - a whole new era of design.
The fact is that the original Scirocco, designed by Italian Giorgio Giugiaro (Italdesign), offered an early glimpse of the future Golf, drawn up at Italdesign.
Thirty-four years later, this history is now repeating itself in some aspects. Now, tell me if you are surprised by the Brera resemblance?
This third-generation Scirocco is the first Volkswagen to exhibit the new front-end design for a new era.
Distinctive characteristics are its chrome headlamp bodies and the high-sheen black inside surfaces of the headlamp housings that are joined by a radiator grille cross bar, which is also in high-sheen black.
On this sports car, the VW emblem is not integrated with the radiator grille, rather it is mounted on the engine hood.
The Scirocco exhibits very crisp proportions, especially when viewed from the rear, and it immediately becomes clear that the 1,80m-long roof, together with the lateral lines of the windows, stand on very broad and powerful shoulder sections. So the Scirocco's design is based on flawless sports car fundamentals.
The Scirocco's front end exhibits, as already described, a completely new Volkswagen design language. On the one hand, it preserves historical elements, yet at the same time it takes a great leap forward. The radiator grille and bumpers are characterised by a timelessly impressive dynamism.
We only had the 2,0 TSI DSG on launch, the other two derivatives will be available in the third quarter of this year.