Volkswagen Scirocco Mk2 review: reliable, sprite performance

Volkswagen Scirocco Mk2 (1981 - 1992)

The Volkswagen Scirocco Mk2 makes eminent sense as a bargain daily classic, offering both Teutonic reliability and sprite performance.

The Volkswagen Scirocco Mk2 was launched in 1974, six months before the Golf. Karmann built the Giugiaro-penned coupé, though the underpinnings were almost pure Golf. A major overhaul in 1981 (1982 in the UK) saw the Scirocco grow a little larger, though it retained the Mk1 Golf underpinnings. The Mk2 had engines stretching from a 75bhp 1595cc carburettor unit through to a 129bhp 1781cc fuel-injected engine.


Volkswagen Scirocco Mk2

Volkswagen Scirocco GTII 1.8i

Engine 1781cc/4-cyl/OHC

Power [email protected]

Torque 103lb [email protected]

Top Speed 109mph

0-60mph 10.7sec


Gearbox 5-speed manual



Corrosion is not such a menace on the Mk2 (unlike the Mk1). Check the fuel filler neck, as problems here could suggest problems elsewhere. If it’s badly corroded, rusty flakes and water can get into the fuel tank (which also rots) and cause fuel injection problems. Rot strikes in many places, but few are as important as the rear suspension mountings – visible from underneath. Rust also affects the floorpans and sills, and can cost thousands of pounds to eradicate. Check the wheelarches, door bottoms, around all fixed windows and the leading edge of the bonnet. In the engine bay, check around the suspension and engine mountings. Check under the bodykit trim, including the valances front and rear and the lower quarters at the back, where the bumper wraps around.

Engine & Gearbox

The engines are generally robust, but do watch out for blue exhaust smoke suggesting a rebuild is on the cards. When well serviced, 150,000 miles is not a problem. Pierburg carburettors with automatic chokes can be troublesome, so are often replaced with Weber carbs and manual choke kits. The Bosch fuel injection systems are generally OK, but won’t tolerate fuel contaminated by water or corrosion. Parts are generally plentiful as the engines were shared with so many other VAG cars. Gearboxes are tough, but snatchy synchromesh when cold can suggest wear – more so if gears still crunch when warm. Floppy gear linkage bushes can make a gearbox feel more tired than it is.

Volkswagen Scirocco Mk2

Rebuild bush kits are cheap and plentiful.

Running Gear

The brakes use a remote servo, located on the passenger side. It’s sensible to change the fluid every two years. The suspension is simple but watch out for corroded coil springs, worn dampers and ill-advised ride height changes.
Interior and electrics Finding the right seat material is tricky, so don’t turn a blind eye to a worn interior. Electrics are generally sound, while dim headlamps can be cured by fitting relays.


The Volkswagen Scirocco Mk2 is in theory better than the legendary Golf GTi on which is it based, but it somehow lacks that car’s following. The theory is nothing new – make a sporty coupé out of humble family car underpinnings – but the benefits remain. Great fun to drive but cheap and simple to run. You can have a laugh on the B-roads, but it’ll be robust enough to handle daily driving. Rarity is fast becoming a factor, which has already pushed up prices for the very best. Don’t miss out.