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The new Opel/Vauxhall Corsa's a smart-looking little hatchback that our friends in Europe and the UK get to enjoy while we watch from the sidelines. GM hasn't seen fit to send the little Fit-fighter our way, but with Saturn and Opel tied at the hip now, our hopes for such a thing seem far less unrealistic. After all, at this time last year, the idea of seeing the Astra in the US was a pipe dream -- one that's been fulfilled with the confirmation that it's headed over as a 2008 Saturn.

The latest reason to want a Corsa comes as both divisions release their performance variants. Vauxhall's just pulled the wraps off the Corsa VXR while Opel unveiled the identical Corsa OPC - a three-door pocket rocket powered by a 192-horsepower turbocharged 1.6L. Before you scoff at its 6.8-second 0-60 time as being "slow," know also that it has a top end of 140 mph and reportedly delivers a fuel economy of around 30 US miles per gallon in combined use (35.8 imperial mpg). That's a pretty good set of numbers across the board, and it sounds like the turbo Corsa wouldd make for one seriously fun commuter car.

Follow the jump for our final thoughts as well as Vauxhall's press release, and check out additional photos in our gallery.

[Source: GM (OPC photos - GM via Autoblog Spanish)]

Stylewise, the Corsa VXR/OPC doesn't disappoint in the least, with racy skirting all around, a roof spoiler, blacked-out grillework, big wheels and tires, and a very slick-looking triangular center exhaust outlet. Inside, it's very "New GM"-looking, with shiny piano black accents similar to those found in our market's Saturn Sky Redline, a VW GTI-style flat-bottomed wheel, and racy-looking sport seats. All in all: very nice.

This is the economy car we want from GM, not the Aveo! General, are you listening? Saturn Corsa Redline, anyone?



· New Corsa VXR on sale mid-March

· Lightweight turbo 1.6-litre engine producing 192PS and more than 260Nm

· Top speed of 140mph and 0-60 in 6.8 seconds

The new Corsa has already caused quite a sensation with its bold styling and impressive road manners, but now Vauxhall has pulled the wraps off the ultimate version – the long awaited VXR.

The performance flagship of the range is every inch a VXR, designed from the outset to deliver the ultimate in hot-hatch driving excitement and style.

Immediately distinguishable from other models in the new Corsa range, the three-door only VXR comes with several unique VXR styling cues. The mirrors, front foglamp surrounds and centre-exit exhaust tailpipe all have a triangular theme, while the aggressive front and rear bumpers are unique to this model.

Sweeping side skirts and an angular roof spoiler help accentuate the three-door Corsa's already muscular design, while a mesh front grille, blue-painted brake callipers and optional 18-inch alloys further set off the VXR's performance appearance.

The interior is dominated by the sculpted, shell-backed Recaro sports seats and the race-car style flat-bottomed steering wheel. Drilled alloy pedals, piano black trim on the facia and unique VXR detailing on the dials and gear lever make sure the Corsa VXR looks as special inside as it does on the outside.

Power comes from a compact 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, developing 192PS and giving Corsa VXR the ability to accelerate from 0-60mph in just 6.8 seconds, on to a top speed of 140mph. Like the Meriva VXR, it comes with an 'overboost' facility which can increase the torque output on demand to a maximum of more than 260Nm – useful for safe overtaking.

The power is kept in check with a dynamically-designed chassis including a specially-tuned ESP system, along with uprated brakes and suspension and variably-assisted power steering, which alters the weight and feel of the wheel depending on the way in which the car is driven – a feature unique in this area of the market.

Yet despite its wild performance and impressive technology, Corsa VXR promises to be an affordable car to run, with surprising fuel economy for a 140mph car. On extra-urban routes it returns 44.1mpg according to official figures and the combined fuel economy figure is 35.8mpg.

The Corsa VXR will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and will be available from Vauxhall retailers from mid-March. Prices will be announced nearer to the on-sale date.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      #23: I didn't mean the Corsa's radio was necessarily integrated with the climate control, the one in my Subaru is. Your point it good, though... as long as the car's network doesn't need the radio to be present, everything else should work with a different DIN radio in the hole as long as the network connection is blocked off in the radio connector. These days I guess it's a small thing to bitch about, many car stereos actually don't suck, have aux inputs and/or iPod integration, etc.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If GM could bring a Corsa VXR (renamed the Red Line) to the US for under $20,000, I think it would have legs. This would be the best semi-American extra-small sport compact since the old two-door SVT Focus. The VXR line is just what Saturn and Pontiac need to be big in the youth market.
      • 8 Years Ago

      I just went for a blast in some Hot Opels. Opel GT, Astra OPC and Corsa OPC.
      All of them are huge fun but the one which really stands out is the Corsa! What a sweet package!!! It really flows in every regard. Lots of useable power and it transfers to nice speed in any corner and even on bumpy and crappy surface.
      The handling is supersweet and very agile! It only weighs about 1200kgs and you can really feel it.
      You can drive plenty fast with suspention working beautifully. Whereas the Astra OPC hops, spinns and feeling too unaccessible, the Corsa is sooo confidence inspiring!!! I bet the Corsa would see off the Astra when it gets twisty.
      Honestly, one of the best cars I ever driven!!!

      Let's keep fingers crossed HSV is bringing it to Australia! The bloody current Barina is a joke! Sorry Americans some of you don't get it. It's actually roomier in the back than the Astra coupe cruises very nicely on the highway in any speed. At 200km/h we it feelt great!
      It's very economical too for the ones who cares...

      It's a bloody good car!

      Forza Corsa!

      • 8 Years Ago
      I would take a hot hatch like this over ANY high-powered sports-sedan/coupe.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Saturn is coming back to life with the Astra and Aura. Please give us the Corsa, too. Styling-wise it beats the snot out of the Fit and Versa.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I was thinking of getting a Mini turbo as a daily driver...not anymore. I'd rather have a Corsa turbo. That little car would make a great DD.

      GM...sell it here...you will have my money! Can't wait for 2009...I'll have a new Camaro and a Corsa DD.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This car is much nicer than a Cobalt because it costs 80% more.

      There is a market for fancy small cars in Europe, but that market is much smaller here, so almost all our small cars are economy cars.

      When you're ready to spend $23K on this car, it'll come here. But I would mention a Saturn Aura is only $26K, and most Americans would opt for that larger car over this one.

      Still, I love the car. I don't think I'd buy it, cause it's too small. But it's very nice.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I dunno how they did it but that dash is ridiculous video game cheesy yet cool at the same time. Id love to see a funky euro-hatch stateside and I know I'm not alone
      • 8 Years Ago
      #8, everything is 80% more in Europe... you can't do a straight conversion based on exchange rates.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Bring this over as an entry-level Saturn and I would seriously consider buying a car from the General. That's saying a lot coming from me, who, before the Sky, hadn't even looked once at a GM (or any other big 2.5) product.
      • 8 Years Ago
      if priced competativly, this would be very tempting.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sound more like a mini cooper S fighter than a Fit Fighter.

      BLS - agreed there. I was thinking of the Fit/Jazz as a similar vehicle in size & fuel economy compared to the regular Corsas. In addition to the MINI, you can throw the Ford Fiesta and the offerings from Renault and Citroen in there, too. -AN
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