Previous Vauxhall Corsa VXRs had a youthful image and plenty of power but struggled to find favour among motoring critics. They enjoyed the peppy drive but felt it lacked the last degree of engagement and refinement present in the very best in class. This new model seeks to rectify that.
On the face of things, it seems Vauxhall has fulfilled its brief. The 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine now pushes 202hp and 181lb ft of torque to the front wheels via an updated six-speed short-throw manual gearbox. As a result, the Corsa VXR shoots to 60mph from rest in 6.8 seconds and tops out at 143mph.
To contain all that thrust, the Corsa gets dampers from suspension experts Koni. These units can change their stiffness depending on the driving conditions allowing the car to be more controllable at higher speeds and more comfortable at lower ones. The car is also lowered by 10mm compared to the normal model.
Michelin 215-section tyres ensure there’s plenty of grip available and 308mm front brake discs bring proceedings to a halt with aplomb. The steering itself – a criticism of the previous model – has been retuned to offer more feedback to the driver while also being more direct and precise. The traction and stability controls can be deactivated for track days.
Outside, the Corsa VXR gets an aggressive bodykit with larger front air intakes and a scoop under the bonnet. Side sill extensions add visual width while the back houses a big spoiler and the exits for the twin Remus exhausts. Buyers get a choice of six exterior colours and xenon lights feature as standard.
Inside, Recaro sports seats, sports pedals, VXR-specific gearstick and instruments, and a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel all make sure the driver gets a sporty ambience. Connectivity for smartphones is standard as is a heated front windscreen.
Customers seeking the final degree of lunacy can specify the Performance pack. This comes with a Drexler limited-slip differential, 330mm brakes, larger alloys and stiffer dampers to ensure the Corsa corners as fast as it possibly can.
Want one? Corsa you do!
There’s no official word yet but £18,000 would be a good guess for the Corsa VXR‘s starting price. Models will go on sale in May but, before then, check out our reviews of the Corsa’s main rivals – the Ford Fiesta ST and the Volkswagen Polo GTI.