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Volkswagen Beetle 1302 TDE meets VW Scirocco R: Sporty VW models from then and now

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Volkswagen Beetle 1302 TDE meets VW Scirocco R
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E in meeting in Nice. That sounds very promising not only for lovers. German automobile journalists can also lure the prospect of a rendezvous on the Côte d‘Azur in the south of France from behind the stove at home. This is all the more true when the host lures you with such spicy specialties. Brand new and long awaits one, proud 40 years old and once dearly loved the other.

'Who can say no to that' applies here without a cherry. At least I don't. A 1972 Beetle in eggshell white - like mine. My first car that was bought before I got my driver's license. Six long weeks I had to wait and cycle constantly. Just to be able to marvel over and over again at the automobile friend waiting at the VW dealer in the local village. No question about it - the large number of rebellious or thoroughly responsive lower-school students of related tutoring had paid off. It was mine - all alone and paid for in cash. 1,900 Deutsche Mark went over the counter in 1983 for the perfectly preserved VW 1303 LS.

VW Beetle with a live weight of less than 900 kilos

No rust, no visible one anyway - nowhere. That was just as rare as the perfectly functioning heating and the luxury equipment of my Beetle, which was introduced in the 1973 model year: brown synthetic leather seats with integrated headrests, panoramic windows, tachometers and a thicker steering wheel that was close at hand, which - I hardly dare to say it - disappeared under a fluffy, soft fur wrap in winter. Well - everyone has their youthful sins. And - 50 hp. At that time, none of my Beetle-driving classmates and friends had more to offer. I was the hero, of course, especially since my 'Tobias' (old cars just need a name - that's what I still do today) consumed an average of ten liters of fuel per 100 kilometers. By the standards of the time, that was quite reasonable and remained affordable even when the liter of normal gasoline broke the magical one-mark mark.

Today the liter of unleaded costs 1.35 euros in purely numerical terms, almost three times as much. And if a 50-horsepower centrifuge with a live weight of less than 900 kilos were to tip ten liters and more behind the bandage, it would definitely be ready for the scrap press. Alternatively there would bethe basic social ostracism of the owner.

The hottest version of the recently relaunched Golf-based coupé

Volkswagen at least approves of the hottest version of the recently relaunched Golf-based coupe, the 265 hp Scirocco R, just eight liters of premium gasoline in a third mix. Even if this will hardly last in everyday life, internal combustion engines have fundamentally increased in efficiency considerably since the early 1970s. And the potential is far from exhausted. In other respects, too, the modern age has long since found its way into Volkswagen in a convincing form - which not only means the unquestionably very dynamic, powerful and aggressive shape of the Scirocco, which is consequently named after a hot desert wind.

While in 1972 it still took a tuner to compete a Beetle 1302 with the power of 135 horses, today the plant itself casually shakes 265 hp out of its sleeve. A displacement of two liters, direct petrol injection, low-friction roller finger followers in the valve train and an exhaust gas turbocharger blowing up to 1.2 bar make it possible. In addition, a manual six-speed gearbox that can be shifted perfectly or optionally, as in the test car, a dual-clutch gearbox with an identical number of gear steps - called DSG in Wolfsburg. As with the Golf GTI, the latter provides two automatic programs and a manual mode. The gear changes, accompanied by audible blow-off noises, are then carried out using paddles on the steering wheel.

ESP cannot be deactivated in the R models either

It's fun, practical and should be a piece to save that racing car flair into everyday life that the Scirocco fleet this year at 24-hour race at the Nürburgring . Alone - the Scirocco R is not quite as sharp on the road as the 300 hp GT24 that started there, because even with its sportiest compact models (the identically motorized Golf R will follow in early 2010), Volkswagen is not different from its own basically want to say goodbye to security-oriented philosophy. The electronic driving stability program ESP is always at hand, even in the R models. That doesn't bother on public roads. Even on the rather greasy roads of the cold, wet Maritime Alps on the day of the test, the electronic lifeline was seldom obliged to intervene in the lively hustle and bustle of the Scirocco R. The test will clarify at a later point in time the extent to which this also applies to the hassle of times on the racetrack.

Either way, anyone who propagates the slogan “from the track to the street” should have the courage to defend it. And racing drivers would thank them if they didwould be compulsorily incapacitated by the traction controls, which are increasingly found on board in motorsport. Where it says ESP off, it should also be ESP. But enough of the scolding. Apart from this fundamental inconsistency, the most powerful Scirocco truly makes you want more. The two-liter turbo engine hangs greedily on the gas and delivers its maximum torque of an impressive 350 Newton meters seamlessly to the driven front wheels between 2,500 and 5,000 tours. The four-seater, weighing 1,364 kilograms, follows steering commands at every word.

The noise level in the interior is low, the sports seats, which are covered with leather on request and at an additional cost, have the format and contour. So you can truly live in the new VW R model, even if the differences to the normal Scirocco - apart from the more powerful engine - are kept within bounds. The sports suspension was specifically tuned, but the axle layout itself remained at the standard version. An XDS-baptized function extension of the electronic differential lock (EDL) integrated in the ESP is responsible for the situation-appropriate torque distribution between the drive wheels. Selective braking interventions controlled by electronics replace the good old mechanical limited-slip differential.

VW 1302 sharpened by Theo Decker in Essen

Visually, the deviations of the strongest from the weaker VW Scirocco are limited to glossy black piano lacquer inserts on the multifunction steering wheel, which is flattened at the bottom, and in the center console as well as instruments with white Illumination and blue pointers. Oh yes - and the speedometer scale goes up to 300 km /h. On the outside, special LED daytime running lights and a separate black radiator grille as well as a larger roof spoiler at the rear provide accents - a case for insiders. Interestingly, the VW Scirocco R and the VW 1302, made strong by Theo Decker in Essen by means of displacement expansion, double carburetors and oil cooling, even have something in common.

Even if the engine and the drive are in one front and the other in the back and the Scirocco completely relies on the blessings of modern electronics, where the 1302 TDE (which incidentally has a mechanical differential lock and consequently perfect good for drifting) challenges the driver. When it comes to understatement, the factory-tuned Scirocco and the externally processed Beetle agree: you don't necessarily have to show what you have. Ergo, the Rundling, once fundamentally revised by cult tuner Decker, appears hardly more martial than today's factory athlete. Only the two-part EMPI aluminum 8-spoke rims in the 5.5 x 15 inch format, which were comparatively large and wide for the time, give an indication of the above-average potency of the 135 hp Beetle.

What would I have longed for such a car back then. And how do I enjoy it today - aQuarter of a century later - to have unexpectedly come so close to the dream of my youth. Straight windshield and Futura Sport V Maloya tires or not: a Beetle has something. Then I remember: I also owned a VW Scirocco once. It came later, was called Scala and had 95 hp under the hood. But that's another story.


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