Corsa VXR Nürburgring
the hot n
VAUXHALL'S CORSA SUPERMINI range takes in both three- and five-door
models and offers a vast array of engine and trim choices, which helped it into
third place in the UK's Top Sellers list last year, although this was
more down to function rather than fashion…
Yes it does the job all right, functionally and in most cases frugally but,
like Tina Turner, it needed a 'hero' to inject some charisma into the Corsa's
image. MINI has already gone down that road, successfully, with their John Cooper
Works variants, as too has Renault with its RenaultSport and Cup models and
also Ford, with its ST and RS versions.
When Vauxhall introduced the 1.6 VXR Corsa it upped the Corsa range's perceived
image by a fair margin. The VXR used its 189bhp to hit 140mph and the benchmark
nought to 60mph in 6.8 seconds. While the figures impressed, the VXR was not
edgy or spicy enough for some hardcore hot-hatch enthusiasts.
satisfy the need-for-speed cognoscenti, Vauxhall has gone the extra mile and
created the VXR Nürburgring of which just 250 will be available to thrill-hungry
Vauxhall fans this year. So get your wallet out quickly and hand over the necessary
£22,295. But be warned, only talented drivers should apply…
To satisfy the need-for-
Vauxhall has gone
the extra mile
and created the VXR
Nürburgring of which
just 250 will be
available to thrill-hungry
fans this year...
Powering the Nürburgring is a reworked version of the Corsa VXR's turbocharged
1.6-litre petrol engine that now produces 202bhp, runs to 143mph and does zero
to 60mph in 6.5 seconds. For good measure, torque has also been hiked up
from a maximum in the VXR version of 196 to 206lb ft (from 2,250rpm) in the
Looked at on paper, the additional performance doesn't seem that much more for
the extra money but in terms of challenging driving pleasure the difference
is enormous. Compared to the 'standard' VXR Corsa, the Nürburgring is well
and truly de-sanitised it's now a real hot street or trackday racer.
And it can really bite back if it's not treated with respect by an over-enthusiastic
or less talented driver.
To harness the Nürburgring's extra power, Vauxhall has fitted it with a
mechanical, multi-plate limited-slip differential to make sure that its 202bhp
doesn't go up in a cloud of tyre smoke and to provide optimum traction at all
times. Understeer is reduced and quite dramatically so the more throttle
the driver applies through a bend, the more the Corsa Nürburgring grips!
My brief test drive took place on public roads littered with 50mph restrictions
and speed cameras, and the road surface was also cold, wet and very greasy
conditions that induced dramatic torque-steer on take-off although the chosen
line taken through fast corners seemed to be held without any of the notorious
front-wheel drive understeer associated with very quick superminis.
It was refreshing to drive a challenging car not sanitised by the interfering
software found in the majority of modern-day diffs and stability programmes,
and which artificially 'tame' power.
Nürburgring's chassis received its final sign-off at the Nürburgring's
notorious Nordschleife (North Loop) road-race circuit and for which Vauxhall
commissioned Bilstein to develop bespoke spring and damper units specifically
for this top-ranking VXR.
received its final sign-off
at the Nürburgrings
A visual clue of this work that allows drivers an even higher degree
of control and involvement is the reduced ride height; down by 20mm at
the front and 15mm at the rear.
A set of newly-developed Brembo brakes, 30% lighter than before and with high-performance
brake linings covering a 10% larger area, complement the chassis mods. Additionally,
the ABS, Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control systems have all
been recalibrated to take into account the Nürburgring's uprated set-up.
In addition to VXR features (honeycomb front grille and air dam/bumper, front
fog lights, side sill extensions and rear roof spoiler) a raft of bespoke visual
enhancements differentiates the Nürburgring from its less-powerful sister:
newly-designed forged aluminium 18-inch wheels finished in high-gloss grey,
a stainless steel dual exhaust, and 'Nürburgring' badging on the B-pillars
and the front spoiler lip. Two new 'can't miss me' paint colours also make sure
the Nürburgring stands out from the crowd: apple green 'Grasshopper' and
Open the door and sill plates trumpet 'Nürburgring' in black-and-red lettering.
Look further and you'll find Recaro shellback sports seats with bespoke white
stitching on the leather as well as on the handbrake and gearlever. This is
not stripped-out racer so all the usual top-of-the-range equipment is there:
air conditioning, three-spoke flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, multifunction
sound system, electrically-operated door mirrors and windows, cruise control,
and on-board computer.
include a Touch and Connect SatNav with Bluetooth connection and upgraded sound
system (£750), adaptive forward lighting (£275), dark tinted rear and rear side
windows add another £275 while metallic paint costs £495.
scorcher will average
37.2mpg; the best
I could manage on my
relatively sedate test
drive was 27.1mpg.
And in real-life it will be
even lower if the
Nürburgring is driven
in the way its designed
Although my very brief time behind the wheel was in far from ideal conditions,
it was nonetheless eye-opening it's gratifying to see a move away from
tame (but admittedly efficient) small cars.
Officially, this Nürburgring scorcher will average 37.2mpg; the best I
could manage on my relatively sedate test drive was 27.1mpg. And in real-life
the day-to-day figure will be even lower if the Nürburgring is driven in
the way it's designed to be.
At 178g/km, CO2 emissions are relatively high for a car of this size and it's
reflected in the road tax: £315 for the First Year and £210 annually thereafter.
A 34D insurance rating reflects the potential for this car not to be the ideal
choice for well-heeled young but inexperienced drivers. It will bite them; and
not just in their wallet.
Good points include the non-sanitised hot and spicy sports performance, purposeful
sporting looks, high quality interior, and edgy and challenging handling. Experienced
drivers only, please. Against: It will bite less talented and over enthusiastic
speed freak drivers.
But while this Nürburgring Corsa is nearly two and a half times the price
of the cheapest Corsa, it's at least 100 times more fun! David Miles
Corsa VXR Nürburgring | £22,295
Maximum speed: 143mph | 0-60mph: 6.5 seconds | Overall test MPG: 27.1mpg
Power: 202bhp | Torque: 206lb ft | CO2 178g/km