Thursday 18th July 2013


Overpriced new but now available with 100 miles for £17K, the VXR 'ring looks a hot hatch bargain

Though everyone would love to buy cars purely on mechanical spec or expert reviews, price can seldom be ignored. But moreover, its influence on perceived value is significant too; what may look criminally cheap in a certain context could seem ludicrously expensive in the next.

'Discreet' and 'VXR' don't really go together
'Discreet' and 'VXR' don't really go together
How many more BRZ/GT86s would be on the roads with a price nearer £20K? Will Peugeot regret pricing the 208 GTI significantly higher than the Fiesta ST? And is an M135i still a performance bargain when it's been specced-up to £37K?

Vauxhall asked a similar question to enthusiasts in 2011 when it launched the Corsa VXR Nurburgring: though ostensibly based on a sub-£10K supermini, the Nurburgring cost £22,295. Could a Corsa, even a significantly upgraded one, ever be worth that? This nearly-new VXR Nurburgring would suggest not. A 13-plate car with just 121 miles, it's for sale at a Vauxhall main dealer in Beverley for just £17,250. Tempting, no?

The biggest hindrance to the success of all Corsa VXRs was of course the Renaultsport Clio. Whether in 197 guise or as a 200 from 2009, it simply proved the more engaging driver's car. Whilst the VXR was decent, it lacked the Clio's freakish ability and effervescent nature.

Look elsewhere for a classy cabin...
Look elsewhere for a classy cabin...
The Nurburgring was a very different prospect though. The addition of a Drexler mechanical limited slip differential, Bilstein dampers, stiffer springs, forged wheels and some upgraded brakes transformed the Corsa VXR. That there was a smidge of extra power (up to 205hp from 192) seemed almost inconsequential given the added hit of dynamism, agility and composure the Nurburgring upgrades had injected. Maybe it wasn't quite the Clio's equal, but the gap between them was.

However, there was still that price to overcome. The Nurburgring wasn't even a better car the Clio, let alone one worth £6,000 more. But a fortunate repercussion of buyers' reluctance to accept the VXR's price is used examples such as the car featured here.

... at a Polo GTI perhaps?
... at a Polo GTI perhaps?
Furthermore, with the latest breed of junior hot hatches all lacking mechanical diffs and expensive suspension components (Clio 200's hydraulic bumpstops notwithstanding), the VXR Nurburgring begins to look even greater value. Though it may be a generation older, it would be fascinating to compare the Corsa with the current crop.

Before this start to sound like a eulogy, there are other nearly-new pocket rockets to choose from, even if they don't represent quite such conspicuous value as the Corsa. This Polo GTI is around £2,500 below list, although will struggle to match the VXR for thrills. A Mini? The only JCW for less than the Corsa is a 2011 car with 20,000 miles and is being sold privately.

Let's hope the next Corsa VXR is just as much fun as the Nurburgring out of the box. But maybe a little cheaper...

Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring
1,598cc four-cylinder turbo
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Power (hp): 205@5,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 207lb ft@2,250-5,500rpm (on overboost)
MPG: 37.2
CO2: 178g/km
First registered: 2013
Recorded mileage: 121
Price new: £22,295
Yours for: £17,290

See the original advert here

Author: Matt Bird
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