This one, the last generation, got the hottest of all by adding a head with four valves per cylinder. The 1.8-liter DOHC engine cranked out "an amazing" 123 horsepower and 120 pound-feet of torque, and made this model the fastest VW to ever be sold in America; it went from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 8.5 seconds, faster than a Porsche 944. To compare vintage apples to modern ones, the New Scirocco with a 123-hp 1.4-liter TSI engine and a manual transmission takes 9.3 seconds.
We like MotorWeek's Retro Review series not only for the cars, but for how they also remind us of what we used to find important in cars. The Scirocco here gets upvoted for its throttle response and handling, downvoted for an oddly placed oil pressure gauge and lack of battery voltage meter. We can't remember the last time a voltage meter was mentioned in a review, either its presence or lack. Check out the video above for what the definition of "US hot hatch" used to be.