Back in the 1970s, VW named its Golf-based coupe after a Mediterranean wind out of the Sahara that reaches hurricane speeds in North Africa and Southern Europe. "Scirocco" is certainly an apt name for a car whose more powerful versions go like the wind, and the Abt interpretation has a full 240 hp to endorse its credentials. Like the VW engine family that went before, the latest 2.0 TSI direct-fuel-injection motor is very tuneable. Even in standard tune it is no slouch, with 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque.
The stock injectors and turbo have enough headroom left for Abt to squeeze another 40 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque from the motor with just a remap of the ECU's fuel, ignition, and boost curves. The distinctive angled four-pipe sport exhaust lowers back-pressure slightly, but this style of exhaust outlet can only be used with the Abt aerodynamic styling kit.
Fuel economy is unchanged in normal driving. If anything, the fatter torque curve allows you to use fewer revs to accelerate to and maintain a given speed, so it is possible that you could even improve on the standard car's economy if you drive with that in mind.
What does 240 hp and 250 lb-ft feel like in the Abt Scirocco? On paper, the new power and torque curves very closely mirror the originals, but simply ramp up faster to higher levels.
Apart from increased boost pressure, you need higher revs to achieve more power. So where the standard 2.0 TSI motor makes its 200 hp between 5100 and 6000 rpm, the 240-hp Abt version peaks at 6000 rpm. And where the factory-fresh motor's peak torque is achieved between 1700 and 5000 rpm, Abt's enhanced 250 lb-ft arrives at 2400 rpm and is maintained to 4800 rpm.
Against the stopwatch, the gains are significant. With the six-speed DSG gearbox option, zero to 62 mph drops from 7.1 seconds to 6.7, and top speed rises from 145 to 154 mph.
Numbers are one thing; how the car drives in real world conditions is quite another. While the newly invigorated power and torque curves ramp up as smoothly as the standard ones, they also rise faster for a given engine speed increment, and e-gas throttle response has also been dialed up for better throttle response. This is the 21st Century way of calibrating electronic control systems to please the true enthusiast driver. It certainly makes all the difference to the subjective feel of an engine's power and torque delivery.
On the road, all these changes are very apparent and the motor responds with a stronger pull from 2000 rpm right through to redline. More than that, it feels more lively and willing, adding more sport to the Scirocco's sport coupe heritage.
The standard suspension is very well resolved, marrying responsive handling and strong grip with a firm but supple ride. Lowering the ride height by 30mm on progressive rate springs, Abt has managed to retain a lot of that ride comfort.
The fact that the ride does not go out the window is all the more remarkable considering the 245/30ZR20 ultra-low-profile ContiSportContact 3 rubber on Abt AR style 9x20-inch alloys.
The lower center of gravity gives the Scirocco even more roll-free behavior in the bends while the sheer mechanical grip of the big rubber seems far in excess of the boosted motor's ability to overcome.
Few Abt customers are content to just uprate their engine, and the company does a roaring trade with its body styling parts as well. The Scirocco's styling kit is a bit more extrovert than most of Abt's offerings, but then the standard car's dynamic look and stance are the perfect platform for something a bit more exciting than usual.
A powerful motor, especially a turbocharged one, requires a lot of air to feed it and keep things cool. The Abt front spoiler features a massive central intake with smaller grilles next to the cornering lights for brake cooling.
If you think the black Abt Scirocco looks like a predatory sea dweller, the gill-like faux air scoops at the rear of the side sills certainly reinforce this visual impression. The two-tone effect of the metallic beige paint on the side sills and rear underbody diffuser contrasts the radical new styling additions against the black bodywork.
As an added touch, Abt has color-coded the parts of the alloy wheels, normally painted dark gray, to the sills and diffuser. The final part of the aerodynamic body kit is the rear wing on the tailgate. In the cabin, an Abt gearknob, alloy pedal set, and carpet mats are the only changes.
The total Abt conversion for the Scirocco as tested here is a well-balanced package, offering enhanced performance, better handling and grip, and real show-stopping looks.Importantly, because Abt works very closely with VW, the warranty on all the parts is cast iron, so you can get on with the best part of such a conversion, which is simply enjoying the drive.
Transverse front engine, front-wheel drive
2.0-liter I4, dohc, 16-valve, turbocharged. Abt sport exhaust, ECU remap
Six-speed DSG automated manual
Abt lowering springs
Wheels and Tires
Abt AR alloys, 9x20
Continental ContiSportContact 3, 245/30
ABT front spoiler, side skirts, rear diffuser, rear wing
Abt shift knob, alloy pedals, floormats
Peak Power: 240 hp @ 6000 rpm
Peak Torque: 250 lb-ft @ 2400 rpm
Mph: 6.7 sec.
Top Speed: 154 mph