Volkswagen Scirocco

Difficult to buy anything these days without some sort of phony justification, isn't it? That big leather sofa you just bought? Well it was half price, so you had to. And that flatscreen telly? You'd lost the remote for your old one...

So how do you justify buying a quick petrol coupe in a high-ish tax band, at a time when the economy is flat on its arse and you can barely afford loo roll?

Easy, just put a diesel in it. Which is what VW has done with the Scirocco, therefore making it more accessible to more people. OK, so shoving a diesel in a desirable car is nothing new, but we're pleased one made it into a Scirocco - our Car of the Year 2008.

You get all the gorgeousness of the petrol version, with just a little less guilt and a few more notes in your wallet. Some might say that the 'Roc should stay pure to petrol, and that giving it a diesel somehow dilutes its brand.

It doesn't. It's obviously not as quick as the 2.0-litre TSI, which don't forget is just a Golf GTi in disguise, but it's just as sharp and certainly not slow. Throttle response is about as instant as it gets in a diesel, and it pulls quickly and cleanly through the gears - feeling more powerful than its quoted 138bhp and 236lb ft.

Yes, the driver in you will probably always want the petrol. But just remember, this one's 500 quid cheaper, two tax bands lower and cheaper to run. What more justification do you need?

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