Vauxhall was always very keen to play up the connection between the legendary Lotus Elise and its own VX220 – for pretty obvious reasons. The truth was always a little different, however, as although the VX220 was developed with the help of Lotus and built alongside the Elise at Hethel, the two cars actually shared only 10 per cent of their components.
The VX220 is also a less hardcore proposition than its Lotus cousin, being both longer of wheelbase and wider of track. It features such luxuries as an airbag and anti-lock brakes, too. Fancy. It’s hardly a luxury tourer, mind you – leather seats were a £1k optional extra.
Power for the initial cars comes from the slightly uninspiring 2.2-litre Ecotec engine, but given an overall weight of just 875kg (yes, heavier than an Elise), that’s still enough for a 0-62mph sprint of 5.6 seconds. From 2003 a Turbo version with 200hp was introduced, which delivered much more sparky performance – we’re talking 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds. The last hurrah for the VX220 came in the form of the VXR220, which got 220hp and 4.2-second 0-62mph performance. Only 60 of these were made, though, so they’re pretty sought after.