Launched in March 1981 in Europe and reaching the UK in mid 1982, the second generation of the Scirocco stretched the coupe with a hatchback concept further and was designed in-house by VW. The chassis was taken directly over from the Mk1 Scirocco meaning that the wheelbase and track dimensions remained the same as the outgoing model but the body was enlarged giving more room inside and increased luggage space: 14.6 cu ft with the rear seat in place, rising to 42.2 cu ft with the rear seat folded. Aerodynamic design was improved with the Mk2 Scirocco having a drag coefficiency of 0.38 (an improvement of 10% over the Mk1) with the high rear spoiler being an integral element to slippery shape. More details found in the design history article.
The Mk2 was subject to specification and trim changes regularly throughout its life but the alterations were largely cosmetic. In the UK, initially three models were offered, the CL, GL and GTi, all with single wiper and small rear spoiler.
The CL had a 1457cc capacity carburettor engine, four speed gearbox and 155×13 tyres. The CL specification included cloth interior, laminated glass, rear wash/wipe, heated rear window and three speed heater fan.
The GL was powered by a 1588cc 70bhp carburettor engine with a 4+E (E for ‘economy’) and 175/70×13 tyres on 5 inch alloy wheels. In addition to the CL it was equipped with fog lamps inboard of the main headlamps, headlamp washers, seat height adjusters, internally adjustable door mirrors and velour interior.
The GTi was launched with the 1588cc 110bhp fuel injection engine with a top speed of 117mph, surpassing the contemporary Golf GTi. Standard equipment included an oil to air cooler, ventilated brake discs, anti-roll bars front and rear, five speed sporting ratio gearbox, 5.5×13 ‘nine spoke’ alloy wheels, sports seats and oil temperature gauge. Unlike the GL the inner lamps on the GTi were additional high beams, with fog lamps hung under the bumper. The GTi was also identified by the legend ‘SCIROCCO’ lettering underneath the spoiler on the rear screen.
In 1983 the Scirocco was given the new range of higher torque engines from VAG and increased specification: the CL gained the 1595cc 75bhp engine, 4+E gearbox and 175/70 tyres; the GL the 1781cc 90bhp unit, anti-roll bars and alloy wheel width was increased to 5.5 inches; and the GTi the 1781cc 112bhp fuel injected engine. The GTi also gained a tilt/slide sunroof, split folding rear seat and MFA computer that monitored average mileage, journey time, oil temperature and external ambient temperature amongst other things. The oil temp gauge was therefore changed to a volt meter on the GTi. Late 1983 also saw the introduction of two windscreen wipers replacing the mono wiper across the entire range.
In 1984 VW UK decided to revive the Scirocco Storm trim level, continuing the tradition from the Mk1. 600 limited models were built, 300 in Cosmos Blue and 300 in Havana Brown specified with the 1781cc GTi engine, electric windows, leather interior and full carpeting (again including the boot) in either blue or tan respectively, 6×14″ alloy wheels and a larger rear spoiler and colour coded bodykit styled by Zender.
1984 was also the year when adjustments were made to the floor pan of the Scirocco and Golf Cabriolet enabling the fitment of a larger 55 litre petrol tank (replacing the 40 litre tank carried since 1974), increasing the range of the vehicles. From this point forward the spare wheel was of the space-saver type rather than a full size wheel.
The first of the model revamps were introduced in 1985. The CL became the GT and the GL the GTL, both with minor adjustments to trim and equipment and revised interior patterns. The GTi was rebranded GTX and fitted with the Storm Zender bodykit in matt black rather than colour coded, 14″ Avus wheels and darkened rear lamps. The GTX also had a spoiler that was styled by Zender, but not as big as the spoiler carried on the Storm. The GTX carried over the equipment levels from the GTi with the addition of boot wheel arch liners.
1986 witnessed the Zender bodykit in black and large rear spoiler being adopted across the range. The GT also gained 14″ steel wheels shod with 185/60 tyres, inner high beams and fog lamps. The GTX wheels were replaced with 14″ P-slot alloy wheels. The GTL was deleted.
In the same year the left hand drive only Scirocco GTX 16v was released. Ten were officially imported into the UK. This special car was fitted with then brand new 1781 139bhp 16 valve engine backed with upgraded spring and dampers, rear disc brakes and front lower strut brace, acknowledging the weak pint of the A1 chassis on which all Sciroccos and Mk1 Golf hatchbacks and Cabriolets are based. Central locking and electric windows were fitted as standard to the GTX 16v and it was identified by twin exhaust pipes and discreet 16v badging ob the B pillars, the rear hatch and glovebox lid.
The 1781cc carburettor engine was re-introduced in 1987 for the Scirocco Scala which was fitted as standard with the GTi gearbox, optional sunroof, 14″ Avus alloy wheels, and full colour coding including the bodykit, mirrors, interior and even the alloy wheel inner spokes. Initially the Scala was offered in two colours, Paprika Red or Alpine White, expanded in 1988 with Helios Blue Metallic or Sapphire Metallic, again with matching sport seat upholstery and door card inserts. The GTX, for the 1988 model year was also blessed with a colour coded bodykit and 14″ Le Castallet alloy wheels.
The Scirocco range was rationalised in 1989. The Scala moved up to replace the GTX, available in a greater range of colours and gaining the 1781cc injection engine and split/folding rear seat but not the voltmeter or the boot liners. Sunroofs and central locking were optional extras. The GT became the GT2, upped in power to the carburettor 1781cc 90bhp engine and sporting the full colour coded bodykit and mirrors and had interiors of sports seats shod in ‘designer check’ understated tartan (the Scala was also sold with this interior from 1990 onward) These two models continued by sold side by side with the new VW Corrado (the styling of which was an amalgam of both Mk1 and Mk2 Sciroccos) but demand for cleaner engines and more safety features ensured that the Mk2 would bow out shortly -the Scala was deleted in 1991 whilst the GT2 continued until the middle of 1992, the final bunch of cars carrying electric windows and central locking as standard.
Mk2 are a more refined drive in standard form than a Mk1, more of a tourer to the Mk1′s B-road cheekiness. That said, the Mk2 is no slouch either and is a more engaging drive than a contemporary Golf, particular in fuel injected form. The driving position is low down and there is plenty of room for the taller driver. All controls are easily to hand and the throttle response is light whilst the gearing is precise. Room in the back seat is limited, but the boot is fairly generous.
Headlamps can be a bit poor on dipped beam due to voltage drop but they can be improved by fitting relays to improve the voltage.