PH Blog: diesel do nicely

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...



Comments (238) Join the discussion on the forum

  • toppstuff 08 Nov 2012

    Oh for gods sake.

    First we have an article suggesting that two diesel VAG Golf derivatives ( Scirocco and TT) are "two of the best exponents of the sportscar breed" and now we have an article bigging up DERV.

    I love diesels. There are two on my driveway. But only because they are expedient.

    Stop the madness now for the sake of all that is good. Please.

  • mat205125 08 Nov 2012

    That blue DCi 175 looks like a bargain at that money

  • VladD 08 Nov 2012

    Dan, I hadn't read the Blood Brothers piece, but I don't see why you're shocked by the reaction to it. There are plenty of car sites out there, but this is an enthusiasts site. People like me come here to read about exotics and budget heros, primarily to take a break form the mundaness of the working day. Talking about diesels, no matter how good, just doesn't really fit the bill for me.

    I'm sure plenty of others will disagree though.

  • griffdude 08 Nov 2012

    Good article. Another derv convert here- as with petrol cars chassis is important. I bought an Alpina D3 Touring 18 months ago & really like it, ok it's pretty modest in output terms but the handling & ride are fantastic plus it makes my other car more special when not used day to day.

    The Griffith comes out when I really feel like a blast.

  • scotty02uk 08 Nov 2012

    diesels of today are really quite good, i dont regret buying my 320d, and find it quite fun to drive after 1st gear, and my old car was a 330ci!

View all comments in the forums Make a comment