Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring 1.6 Turbo petrol 205PS first drive review

Friday, 30 March 2012 1:03 PM

Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring Edition

The (dirty!) 143mph Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring Edition is the fastest Corsa ever to stalk the planet. Fortunately, it has the brakes and suspension to back up the big-bhp-brawn


If this very hot Vauxhall Corsa VXR’s pulsing Lime Green paintjob doesn’t get you going, its 200bhp-shoved 62mph sprint of 6.5secs will! The fastest Vauxhall Corsa ever to hunt the B roads is this Nurburgring special edition, with big power, track-honed suspension and big Brembo brakes. Sounds like a spicy and tasty recipe to me. Let’s take her for a burn…


Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring 1.6i 16v Turbo petrol 205PS first drive review

First impressions:
There are two special Nurburgring colours to choose from; this arresting Lime Green or a less radioactive Henna Red. It’s Lime Green for me, please!

The Corsa, in my opinion, is a good-looking, chunky little chap, and these Nurburgring performance power-ups only add to the animal attraction. During my few hours with this Corsa Nurburgring I encountered many very interested 20-something faces. The Corsa has long been a staple for these younger car-lovers, and even when I told them the not insubstantial price of £22,295 they were as keen as turbocharged mustard to own one.

The Nurburgring’d Corsa gets all of the Corsa VXR’s good stuff, but with adding chassis fettling on its namesake-circuit with all the go-go-goodies to viciously attack that famously demanding German track.

Unique 18-inch 10-spoke alloys, unique deeper front splitter, unique rear diffuser with double-trouble twin-exit exhaust pipes (with reduced back pressure, don’t you know); a Drexler mechanical multi-plate limited-slip front differential, lowered Bilstein (famous German aftermarket suspension brand used by many racers) springs and inverted dampers – further dropping this Corsa 20mm closer to the deck, and, last but definitely not least; the big Brembo Italian brakes up front. Yes, £22,295 is a fair whack to pay for a hot hatch, but that’s an impressive list of top brand kit to make proper use of that 200bhp motor.

To spend this amount of cash on this kind of car you’ll know what you’re looking for and you’ve probably got a few track days in mind. The looks are almost totally secondary to performance. As long as this maxed-out Corsa goes, stops and steers like stink on rails, it’ll catch your apex-tracking eye.


Into the interior:
Greeting my excitied eyes is a pair of Recaro Nurburgring-logo’d bucket seats in full black leather with white highlight stitching. They look, feel and mean (the) business and there is every-direction adjustment to get me locked and loaded ready for some cornering Gs.

There are “VXR” and “Nurburgring” reminders all over this Corsa’s interior, and the leather-bound steering wheel is flat-bottomed and logo-rich as further reminders to let ‘er rip. In all, it’s a good quality interior set up; if a little aimed at the youngsters. But, at 38-years old, I’m still more youngster than not, right?


The drive:
The Corsa VXR Nurburgring’s tech spec reads like a who’s who track-focused tuning; all wrapped around a 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that’s good for a shade over 200bhp and 250Nm of torque from 2250rpm to 5500rpm. That’s a healthy wodge of thump in a car that weighs 1223kg, and Vauxhall know plenty about turbocharging engines for grunty fun.

On deserted and twisty back lanes, full-bore attack in the Nurburgring quickly turns into a high-speed addiction, with 62mph well gone in 6.5secs and potential for a whopping 143mph top speed. Yes, 143mph!

The mechanical front LSD works hard to get all that torque to the (mostly dry) road and it does its job well; planting the grunt cleanly and without the ditch-finding torque-steer that faster front-drivers - with less intelligent diffs - can suffer from.

I was expecting more turbo-punch from the engine, however, but found the power delivery a more linear experience. On the whole, this is better for a calmer overall driving experience, as not every day will this Corsa be tearing up the racetrack, but, for me, a harder hit as the turbo came on song would’ve further widened my wide smile.

Bilstein suspension and Brembo brakes bring grip and retardation by the bucket load, and with a snicky 6-speed manual ‘box, I found the hot Corsa very easy to drive fast. Sure, it’s firm on the ride; spongy-lovers need not apply, but I think the Vauxhall engineers actually kept things relatively restrained. But I’m used to hardcore tuner cars. I think the Nurburgring could’ve been a little louder on the back box burble.

Very fast, very grippy, and the Brembos will have you kissing the windscreen if you stand on the brake peddle; this is a fire-cracking-hot road and track package that’s earned its Nurburgring badge…


Ten second sum up:
£22,295 for a Vauxhall Corsa? Yes, indeed, but a very fast ‘n’ fun Corsa that’s got the aggressive style-encouragement, and the grunt, for serious track action. The best of big brand brakes and suspension are also there to haul that fun quickly and safely to a halt; with the driver in full control.


Prices and availability:
The Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring is priced from £22,295 OTR. Price as tested, £24,090, including optional extras of Touch and Connect sat-nav multimedia system (£750), adaptive forward lighting (£275), tinted rear glass (£275) and metallic paint (£495). Available now.

I had a lot of fun getting the Corsa VXR Nurburgring dirty!

Unique 18-inch alloys frame mega-hauling Brembo big front brakes

Pukka Recaro leather buckets

Number 3 of not very many

1600cc turbocharged motor makes a sniff over 200bhp, which is more than enough to rock out in fast style!

Pics: Daniel Anslow

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