Vauxhall Corsa VXR

Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nürburgring review


If you can't judge a book by its cover, then should you judge a car by its bodykit? On the evidence of the latest model in Vauxhall's VXR range, the Corsa Nürburgring edition, the answer is no. This hepped-up supermini might look like a boy racer's dream machine, but there's a lot more to it than a set of big wheels and some lairy spoilers.

Power comes from Vauxhall's turbocharged 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, which thanks to a sports exhaust, revised turbocharger and some ECU remapping boasts an output of 202bhp at 5,750rpm, along with 207lb ft of torque between 2,200-5,550rpm. In a machine that weighs just 1,300kg, this makes for intoxicating performance, and the bare figures of 0-62mph acceleration in 6.5sec and a 143mph top speed only tell half the story. What's more impressive is the way this Corsa picks up and pulls, charging like a bull regardless of which of the six gears you happen to be in.

The Opel Performance Centre, which developed the upgrades for this Nürburgring model, has also tinkered with the suspension, fitting Bilstein dampers and new springs tuned at the famous Nordschleife, as well as reducing the ride height by 20mm at the front and 15mm at the rear. There's also a limited-slip differential on the front axle, and the Brembo brakes are lighter than the standard Corsa VXR's, as are the forged alloy wheels.

As a result of all this, the little Corsa costs a not insignificant £22,295. Yes, you read that correctly. Throw in a couple of options, such as satnav and metallic paint, and you've got a £24,000 supermini. It's a trick that even MINI struggles to get away with, let alone Vauxhall. So, before we continue, let's get one thing straight: a Corsa can never be worth that much.

The Nürburgring is, however, a terrific, snarling beast of a hatchback. That differential provides such outstanding traction and gives the Corsa such huge amounts of grip through corners that Vauxhall has had to recalibrate the stability control system. And even though you can detect a bit of torque steer when you've got steering lock applied and accelerate hard, it's never enough to slow you down nor trigger any electronic intervention. Thankfully the snug Recaro seats do a good job of holding you in place, even if their hard plastic backing shells will leave rear seat passengers with bruised knees.


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