Unusually fast and focused special edition Corsa is an old-fashioned thriller with considerable talents. Pricey, but worth every penny.

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Corsa VXR

The Vauxhall Corsa VXR is accomplished, refined and quick, but it can’t match the Clio’s sheer panache

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


Join the debate


6 May 2011

About bl**dy time...

I've been waiting for them to come up with a decent hot hatch since the Chevette HS.

6 May 2011

Looking good so far! I will await the definitive road test in the UK but at last Vauxhall / Opel may have done it.

I wonder how much Lotus have been involved aswell (although I guess we'll never know).

Bodes well for the up comming Astra as well.....



It's all about the twisties........

6 May 2011

another souped-up chavmaster turbo with 'Nurburgring' used for hot air in the press release AND an actual badge on the back of the car.

Poke me in the ribs if I'm snoring.


6 May 2011

Sounds promising but even though I am in their target demographic, I'm still not sure about the looks or the use of Nurburgring in the name.

[quote TegTypeR]I wonder how much Lotus have been involved aswell (although I guess we'll never know)[/quote]

Why are companies 'embarrassed' to admit that Lotus are involved in their projects ?

6 May 2011

Sounds promissing.

Also not the first Vauxhall with an LSD since the Omega. Monaro's and VXR8s have them too.

6 May 2011

[quote artill]Also not the first Vauxhall with an LSD since the Omega. Monaro's and VXR8s have them too. [/quote]

they are really Holdens :P

although i hope this will shut up the Vauxhall haters

7 May 2011

The Clio 200 cup is just brillant, if Autocar tells this edition of the VXR may even more convincing on track I am impressed...

7 May 2011

[quote VX220EDDIE]although i hope this will shut up the Vauxhall haters [/quote]


Don't like these chavtastic shopping trollys, either.

I must say I don't hate Vauxhalls, I'll just never buy one, I've hired Insignias for business trips and like it.

7 May 2011

[quote VX220EDDIE]although i hope this will shut up the Vauxhall haters[/quote] I don't hate Vauxhalls, but I loathe chavved up shopping trolleys. I'll leave this for the baseball cap and bimbo brigade. Given the choice, I'd plump for a nice old Ventora.

7 May 2011

[quote Leslie Brook] I'll leave this for the baseball cap and bimbo brigade.[/quote]

They are already very nicely catered for by DS3.


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