On occasion, it can be hard to imagine a performance VW landscape before the current Golf R. It has redefined expectations for fast and four-wheel drive Golfs, delivering a level of entertainment and engagement previously unknown to the flagship model. They often looked good and went well, but offered little to people who actually enjoyed driving - that changed with the current car.
After the Mk5 Golf GTI transformed the breed, the Mk6 didn't realty move things on much. This was also when the R32 became the R, losing its V6 and a big part of its appeal; that it didn't replace that with much in the way of added dynamism made it fairly forgettable.
But then there was the Scirocco, and specifically the Scirocco R. Launched in 2009, it essentially took what was good about the Mk5 Golf GTI (it being based on the same platform), added more power (265hp in total) and a shade more dynamic focus. Unsurprisingly, that proved a fairly compelling recipe: Autocar rated it as better than a Focus RS on video, and it was deemed good enough by evo magazine to make the cut for its 2009 Car of the Year - when the Audi R8 V10, Ferrari 599 HGTE and Nissan 370Z did not...
So it's always been good; very good for a decade, in fact. But the Scirocco R has assumed a new significance of late because it isn't being replaced. Such is the demand for SUVs - and a chronic lack of enthusiasm from the buying public for coupes unless they're jacked up and four-wheel drive - that the T-Roc is taking the place of the sporty option with Golf bits underneath. Therefore the de facto replacement for the Scirocco R is the T-Roc R. Automatic-only, all-wheel drive only and, while there isn't a kerbweight yet, it will surely be more than the slender 1,352kg quoted for the Scirocco at launch.
All the more reason, then, to celebrate used versions like this one. Scirocco Rs now start at around £10k; this one appeals at £15k thanks to its paltry 40k mileage, ideal spec of Rising Blue paint, 19-inch Talladega wheels and manual gearbox, plus a seemingly impressive condition.
Naturally some will question the value of jazzy Golf that's still £15k at seven years old, but sluggish depreciation of course means you'll get more of that back when selling again. And the Scirocco looks good value against similar cars: this Mk6 Golf R has 92k on it and is only £500 less, while this Mk5 Golf R is comparable on mileage and price but five years older. As for the Focus RS, you're looking at £20,000 for a standard car with 50,000 miles.
So while a Scirocco R will never be the world's most thrilling coupe, it deserves more recognition than it currently gets. Especially so, you might say, give a direct successor seems very unlikely. Or maybe, just maybe, VW will repeat its previous strategy, and bring back the Scirocco badge after a 16-year hiatus - we can but hope...
SPECIFICATION - VW SCIROCCO R
Engine: 1,984cc, 4-cyl turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 265@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 258@2,500-5,000rpm
First registered: 2012
Recorded mileage: 40,000
Price new: £26,945 (2009)
Yours for: £14,995