Thursday 8th November 2012


Wake up and smell the ... derv? Dan defends opting for the black pump

Now, clearly if you're a red-blooded PHer you don't get out of bed for anything less a five-litre engine and/or 500hp. All the same, the reaction to the Blood Brothers piece comparing the TDI Scirocco and TT was a little shocking! Nobody was actually forced to read it at gunpoint, at least as far as I'm aware, but that didn't stop a few carrying on as if they had.

It'll have you in the twisties, etc...
It'll have you in the twisties, etc...
The case for the defence follows! I've spent a bit of time in the 170hp Scirocco like the one we featured and actually survived the experience with my humour and lust for life intact. OK, so it fuels from the black pump. But once you're over that prejudice it's actually quite a weapon, with a pleasing sense that it's got just a little bit too much torque for the chassis to stand so making neat, tidy and rapid progress demands more interaction than the point and squirt stereotype some may assume.

The one I drove was a DSG and it demolished the roundabouts of Milton Keynes in an enjoyable sequence of understeer-quelling left-foot braking, rapid-fire shifts and suitably muscular mid-range that carried over to the real world of B-roads and corners too. He said, belatedly realising that selling the diesel dream was going to require something more emotive than recalling a drive around Milton Keynes in a VW TDI...

I'm not done yet though!

Renaultsport Megane diesel proves the point
Renaultsport Megane diesel proves the point
I'll shortly be in need a 'proper' car with a back seat and everything. Musing on it had me recalling some fun on-track experiences in a Renaultsport Megane. The dCi 175, no less. The Renault guys had brought the entire range to one of their track days and while everyone fought over the R26, 197 Cup and Twingo there in the corner sat a silver diesel Megane, unloved, undriven and standing idle. So I took it out for a spin. Cadwell, if I recall correctly. And what an absolute weapon it was. There's some manner of geekery I forget the precise details of but it involves something about the rear subframe settings being the same as the R26 to offset the additional weight of the engine - the kind of attention to detail you can't help but admire - and on track the thing was incredible.

The almost complete lack of noise was surreal, constantly hitting the rev limiter the only real issue, but with the torque to deal with Cadwell's inclines, the chassis to carry the speed around its corners and the same burly brakes as the other Renaultsport Meganes the diesel was soon passing any number of 888-shod Clios in almost spooky serenity.

PH editor endorses diesel hatch shocker
PH editor endorses diesel hatch shocker
So I want one. Silver, five-door with a Cup chassis please. I'll be lucky, given how rare they are. Indeed, according to Renault's sales stats I'll be hunting down one of five cars sold with this combination. I've got slightly better odds if I go for a black one - there were 13 of them! But I've always enjoyed a Q-car and they don't get much more stealthy than that. The only five-door dCi 175 currently in the classifieds is a more lairy blue but I'll be keeping my eyes peeled.

Now, time to start work on that PH Heroes piece on the Prius...



Author: Dan Trent
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