First DriveLuton looks to a name change to stoke interest in its hottest supermini; we still like it but its silly pricing means its quality is a moot point
First DriveThis retitled hot Corsa is still very entertaining, but it’s expensive compared to newer rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST
What is it?
It's doubtful that any affordable fast car - anything short of a special edition Porsche 956, frankly - could pull off a name like 'Nurburgring'. A fast supermini would have to be very special indeed to justify being named after the most notorious motor racing circuit in the world.
Good job, then, that the new Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring Edition is exactly that sort of car.
What’s it like?
Using a regular 189bhp Corsa VXR as a departure point, Opel/Vauxhall's performance division OPC revised the turbo, fitted a new exhaust and ECU, and raised power by 13bhp to 202bhp, and torque to 207lb ft on overboost. Running on 100 octane petrol, this Corsa can even produce a class leading 207bhp.
And that's just for starters: this Corsa also gets specially selected progressive springs and inverted monotube dampers by Bilstein, and rides 20mm lower than a regular VXR at the front. It's got lightweight Brembo brakes, lightweight forged alloys, and a torque-sensing mechanical limited slip differential between its driven front wheels. It's the first Vauxhall fitted with an LSD since the 1990s Omega.
And it's fast, focused and sensationally fun to drive on track. Opel/Vauxhall took us to the Lausitzring in eastern Germany to test its new hot hatchback, and there unearthed a front driver with quite incredible traction, agility and outright pace.
The diff's the key. Turn into a corner in this car and there's grip, balance and body control to match the plentiful available performance. But pick up the throttle mid-corner and, instead of steadily nosing wide like most front drivers, the Corsa Nurburgring serves up nothing but traction and cornering yaw, hauling you further towards the apex. Both through apices and out of corners, it's unbelievably fast and composed. Even Renault's mighty Clio Cup couldn't keep up.
Should I buy one?
A question mark remains about the Corsa's road manners: our test route was exclusively on circuit, so it remains to be seen how well this thoroughly hardcore Vauxhall will ride on British roads.
That said, little except some manageable brake fade marred a first impression nothing short of stunning for this new fast hatchback. Before driving it, you might wonder how any superminis could justify a £22k pricetag - but if the likes of the Mini JCW and Citroen DS3 Racing manage it, the Corsa Nurburgring pulls it off with ease.
Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring Edition
Price: £22,295; Top speed: 143mph; 0-60mph: 6.5sec; Economy: 37.2mpg; CO2: 178g/km; Kerbweight: 1307kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbocharged petrol; Power: 202bhp at 5750rpm; Torque: 207lb ft at 2250-5500rpm (on overboost); Gearbox: 6-spd manual