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1 Series, Scirocco, Mégane, Focus, Mazda 3, Leon in comparison

Hans-Dieter Seufert
1 series, Scirocco and Co. in the test
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How the horsepower changes. It is as if we were still yesterday on the 110 PS of the G olf GTI intoxicated, the spiritus rector of the bullies. Now its performance has almost withered to entry-level motorization.

The compact class has grown to over 300 hp

What has the compact class got big: Your new alpha animals let loose between 250 and just over 300 hp on their bikes - and thus even the current VW Golf GTI with at least 210 PS look pale. In order to defend itself against attacks on the performance leadership, VW is therefore sending a significantly stronger representative into the ring: the Scirocco R with 265 hp from 33,475 euros.

He competes against the BMW 130i (258 PS, 34,600 euros), Ford Focus RS (305 PS, 35,900 euros), Mazda 3 MPS (260 PS, 27,490 euros), Renault Mégane Coupé RS (250 PS , 26,650 euros) and Seat León Cupra R (265 PS, 30,190 euros). Why the new head of the golf pack, the R himself not defending the honor of the ancestor GTI? He would be the only one in the field with all-wheel drive. As it is, the technically almost identical, but front-wheel drive Scirocco throws itself into a cornering pose, the Golf in a coupé dress. The fact that the Volks-Angaser has five horsepower less than the Golf R is a marginal comment. Especially since this comparison will not only be decided by non-slip tire walls and gripping braking systems.

It's about who offers sportiness at first-car level. We are looking for the automotive equivalent of the broad-shouldered dream man who looks after two small children and runs the household. So it is fitting that VW resisted the temptation, to trim the Scirocco too much in the direction of pseudo-sport. Somewhat more dominant air inlets at the front, 18-inch rims, a distinctive roof spoiler at the rear and a chrome-plated tailpipe on the left and right must suffice. Inside, the excellent sports seats and the shimmering blue needles in the instruments are particularly noticeable. The leading Scirocco is now available at a price of 33,475 euros, which is no longer that popular.

In the bodywork chapter the coupés can only lose

Due to the concept, grip was also lost a little in terms of space.After all, the VW Scirocco, like the Renault Mégane, is one of the real coupés with negative effects in the body section. Neither of them have anything to gain against the van-like, high-build Ford Focus and Seat León, especially since the Seat and the Mazda 3 MPS are entering the race as a four-door model - and therefore suitable for families.

The points that it makes up for here are losing the Mazda 3 MPS, however, is back in the safety chapter; its 320 mm brake discs at the front don't exactly bite the asphalt. The competition can do that better. The Ford is also failing because it offers neither daytime running lights nor cornering lights. When it comes to safety, the radical thinks more of Recaro seat shells with devices for harness belts.

Ford has recognized the competitive genes in Focus and has consistently trained him in the direction of motorsport. However, the RS does not wear rally insignia such as spoilers, air intakes and exhibited sills for posing, but has adopted a special stage attitude. And it rubs off as motivation - with the boost pressure the Focus boosts the driver's testosterone at the same time.

Strong as a bear Focus RS is a drunkard and an extremist

At 1.4 bar, the turbo presses 440 Nm out of the 2.5 liter and the overwhelmed passengers the air they breathe out of the lungs. It balances the optically bulky-looking focus forward, as if it were underweight. In the acceleration cycle, snappy five-cylinder boiling and the chirping of the supercharger blowing off alternate during the switching process. Here comes a berserk, who of course has his thrilling show paid for - not only with the highest admission price in the field, but also at the gas pump. Its ability to drink is also the reason why the strong Ford Focus RS did not complete the drive chapter as the best.

On the other hand, he envisions good chances in terms of driving dynamics. The Ford squeezes the maximum driving pleasure out of every street, no matter how crazy - the more abandoned and neglected, the better. There is no match for what emotion penetrates the cockpit. The high-seated driver acts with high concentration from the center of the action, doses the gas along the slip limit of the front tires, corrects the direction if the focus threatens to become idiosyncratic - and is surprised that the somewhat insensitive steering hardly twitches even under full load. And about the fact that the front axle rarely seems overwhelmed with 305 hp. However, it only offers a small steering angle and therefore a truck-like turning circle. It goes without saying that an extremist lacks the balance to do well in a comparison. Fifth place.

Front axle in the Mazda 3 MPS overwhelmed by the power offered

The Mazda 3 MPS also needs a lot for a U-turn Room,burns the fuel despite direct injection in the American big block style and appears visually extroverted. But that exhausts the similarities with the focus with which it shares the platform. Its 2.3-liter four-cylinder can be inflated by an old-school supercharger, first falls into the deep turbo lag, and then attacks the front axle so brutally that it tries to flee in all directions - the driver even preparing for a zigzag course must be.

What is positive about this Raubautz? The Mazda 3 MPS offers almost complete equipment and costs comparatively little. But not even the customer-friendly pricing saves him from last place in comparison. Especially since there is even a cheaper one: the Renault. However, he shows neither inside nor outside that this is a discount athlete. Renault has not cut back on performance either: the twin-scroll charger is up and running in no time, and the two-liter intake manifold injector explodes right up to the red area of ​​the rev counter. Arrows in the display and a beep then remind you to shift up.


The chassis of the Renault Mégane is unyielding

It lies on a perfectly flat surface Renault Mégane is exemplary calm and stable, although its steering is neither communicative nor catches up with the motivated engine - the power assistance is briefly removed when changing direction quickly. After all, despite the heavy use of the turbo, only comparatively minor drive influences are disturbing. The coupé only loses its sovereignty as soon as bumps hit the racing line. Then the unyielding chassis doesn’t keep up with the springs and the Mégane starts to buck. The long-distance comfort is hardly above that of the bone-dry Ford. Nevertheless, the Renault thanks to the extensive safety equipment, the lower consumption and the unrivaled low price. Fourth place.

The BMW 130i pampers you with comfort and economical consumption

The shows how to treat your passengers with care BMW 130i. It's easy to sit down in its comfortable seats, surprisingly even on the back seat. With classic rear-wheel drive, the 1er brings a touch Upper class in the compact environment - including numerous luxury options such as active steering and noble wood inlays.

Then there is the only naturally aspirated engine in comparison, a splendid piece of a straight six-cylinder. Just listening to the well-tempered roar of the three-liter is a pleasure. Likewise, its razor-sharp response and balanced revving. The fact that it weakens a bit in terms of pulling power without turbo support is forgiven. Especially because heuses fuel relatively sparingly despite all the emotions. It is almost a sensation that the large naturally aspirated engine is, averaged over the test, more frugal than the small turbos. The only thing that prevents the BMW from drifting away in the drive section is its gnarly and imprecise gearshift.

BMW 1 Series with poor traction despite rear-wheel drive

Included one would have expected precision here, as well as the agility. Finally, the BMW 130i with its conceptual advantage of the separation of steering and drive as well as the far set back center of gravity of the engine rolled out. But even during the driving dynamics tests, the 1 Series blundered: it staggered indifferently and its rear end seemed nervous. This characteristic increases on bad roads. The rear axle simply lacks traction, it lapses into pumping movements. As a result, the rigid traction control stifles the commitment of the six-cylinder. Despite the regulation, the driver repeatedly registers unrest in the rear. The Munich-based company does not owe it to their premium calculation alone that they only make it to third place in the end.

Seat Leon Cupra R, inconspicuously busy collecting points

Although the Seat Leon Cupra R is even more expensive to maintain, it overtakes the BMW 130i; its standard 19-inch tires and short maintenance intervals throw it back in the cost section, but before that it collects points inconspicuously but diligently. Nobody expected him in this comparison, which is why the Cupra R positions itself as an insider tip. Like the Scirocco, the León is based on the platform of the Golf. With a smoky timbre, the deeply German supercharged two-liter makes for southerners and starts with exuberant temperament - without disturbing turbo lag or tugging in the steering at full torque.

Subjectively, the Cupra R is even better than it Document measured values. And the fire of passion jumps over to the driver. It is a pure pleasure to let the direct injection march through the middle, turn it all the way to the red area and then snap in the next of the six gears with the precise transmission. Although the Seat does not manifest its sportiness in external trim, it is hardly less manageable than the extreme Ford - on the contrary: it surpasses it in steering precision, does not let itself be disturbed by load changes, always remains neutral and steers nevertheless a biting one. He gives his driver exemplary feedback. Is that what a winner looks like?

VW Scirocco R secures victory


All eyes are on the VW Scirocco R, the new curve robber from Wolfsburg. His lateral dynamic talent was already convincing in the 200 hp version. But in this comparison test, the flat roof two-door starts with a big deficit inBody section. The most relentless brakes in comparison bring it back within striking distance of the Seat Leon Cupra R, and in the driving comfort rating it even slips past - VW is the only manufacturer to offer three-way adjustable, adaptive shock absorbers (945 euros) - and ensures comfort -Mode the suspension sovereignty. In addition, driving noises in the interior of the Scirocco are a bit quieter.

And although both have the same VW unit, the Scirocco pulls a bit more harshly than the León. In the chapter on driving safety, however, there is a tie. Both offer inspiring dynamics with stability that can hardly be shaken, with the Seat juxtaposes the perfection of the VW with a touch of more tangible drama. However, he gambled away his driving fun bonus with a larger turning circle. And here the much cheaper Cupra R is initially far ahead. He would be heading straight for the podium if it weren't for the expensive maintenance mentioned above. But as it were, the Scirocco practically overtooks on the finish line. A very close result.

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