If there was a prize for an understated high performance car, Volkswagen’s Scirocco would be up there on the podium.

It carries no flashy spoilers or distinctive body stripes to catch your attention. Instead it relies on stunning timeless lines with its classic wedge shaped front, sharply angled roof and distinctive wide rear end.

Even the blisteringly quick flagship R model doesn’t shout about its prowess. There’s just a simple R on the grille.

Admittedly this version has sporting side skirts and deep air scoops beneath the bumper but nothing really over the top.

And in some ways that’s part of its attraction. No one unfamiliar with the model would suspect just how well this car can perform.

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This is a coupe crossed with a hot rod, and driving it you have to keep a constant watch on the speedometer or its points not prizes you will be getting.

The Scirocco R is powered by a 280bhp, 2.0-litre engine but it’s a power plant which feels much, much bigger.

Mated to a DSG gearbox it propels the car to 62 miles per hour in just 5.5 seconds before reaching a top speed of 155 miles per hour. This is not a hot hatch – it’s a molten lava one.

And the nice thing is all that power is delivered so smoothly as the six-speed auto box zips seamlessly from one to six.

And while the exterior of the car doesn’t shout about the performance it can deliver the twin exhaust pies do, roaring out a note that sends a tingle down your spine.

Volkswagen Scirocco R
Volkswagen Scirocco R

The Scirocco was born in 1974 and the latest is the fourth incarnation of a car which has always been much loved by British drivers. In fact in the UK we buy more Sciroccos than any other country in the world except China.

The latest version, which is built in Portugal, has a more refined and modern shape with new headlights and tail lights as well as new look bumpers with “blades“ on the outer sections like the VW Golf GTI.

Inside there is a new look dashboard and, in homage to the original models, a retro look bank of three dials - a chronometer, turbo boost and oil pressure gauge - situated on top of the centre console.

It’s a car that is very well equipped and boasts full leather upholstery and heated front seats.

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The R gives you a option of setting the ride to suit you, with a choice of comfort, normal and sport. Sport can be a little on the firm side for some but the harsher ride is more than made up for by the superb handling it offers.

On the more practical side getting into the back in a car without rear doors can be a little awkward but once in there is plenty of room thanks to the low slung, sculptured rear seats.

And the boot’s not bad, offering 312 litres of space rising to 1006 litres with the rear seat backs folded down.

There is a wide range of Scirocco models to choose from but if it’s breathtaking performance you are seeking the R model is the one for you.

Fast Facts

Model: Volkswagen Scirocco R

Price: £34,335

Mechanical: 1,984cc, 280 bhp four cylinder petrol engine driving front wheels via sixspeed DSG gearbox.

Max speed: 155 mph

0-62mph: 5.5 secs

Combined mpg: 35.8

CO2 emissions: 185 g/km

Insurance: 39

BiK: 32 %

Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles