The VXR-badged Corsa has lurched in and out of our affections since Vauxhall introduced the model in 2007.

For a good while, it embodied the classic Vauxhall approach to hot hatches, being for the most part brash, overpowered, overpriced and a little under-talented to make a dent on a segment utterly dominated by the previous Renault Clio RS 200 and now passed on to the imperious Ford Fiesta ST.

Then, in 2011, Vauxhall – or more specifically the Opel Performance Centre – launched the Nürburgring Edition, which finally had us nodding along.

With its uprated engine, exhaust, brakes, stability management and, crucially, a standard limited-slip differential, the model suddenly had the sauce to threaten the Renault on the track.

Unfortunately, it also never made a real mark because it was several thousand pounds pricier than a Clio.

Now the VXR is back as a fully fledged part of the latest Corsa line-up, and this time Vauxhall might have got it right. The standard VXR is £50 cheaper than the equivalent Ford Fiesta ST, the car that’s replaced the Clio RS 200 as our hot supermini benchmark.

It’s more powerful than the Ford, although there has been an attempt to redress this through the ST200 (and plenty of others in this price bracket), too, a VXR trait that its customers tend to appreciate.

They’re an enthusiastic bunch, according to Vauxhall, so to better cater for their harder-core requirements from the start, many of the components from the Nürburgring Edition have been swept into a £2400 Performance Pack. That’s the version we put to the test here.

Of course, the VXR must prove not just quicker but also fundamentally better than the Fiesta ST to eclipse it in our estimations – which, for the past three years, Mini, Peugeot and Renault have all failed to do.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Top 5 Pocket rockets

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Vauxhall range

Driven this week

  • Renault Captur Dynamique S Nav dCI 110
    First Drive
    26 July 2017
    To keep pace with rivals in this increasingly competitive category, Renault's popular compact crossover has had a mild refresh both inside and out
  • Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    New top-of-the-line Porsche hybrid, though fast and flexible, is simply too heavy to strike the same sweet sporting compromise as its siblings
  • Caterham Seven 420R Donington Edition
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    Limited-edition road-legal Caterham track car is a superbly enthralling drive, with enough creature comforts to be used on the road as well. Even more addictive than most of its rangemates
  • McLaren 570S Spider
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    McLaren has created its most attainable drop-top by removing the roof from the 570S coupé, but none of the car's talent has come away with it
  • 2017 Range Rover Velar
    First Drive
    23 July 2017
    The Range Rover Velar is the most road-biased car Land Rover has made. So does it still feel like a proper part of the family?