Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring: Spotted

On Friday we brought you news that Hyundai is as serious about its new i20 N as a heart attack. According to the execs, the brand is "aiming for leadership in this class, not just to be a close follower". Proper fighting talk, if ever we've heard it. And pointedly aimed at Ford, with its class-leading Fiesta ST.

All of us, even ST owners, should rejoice at the notion because it means we might soon have a fiercely competitive segment again - one that more closely resembles the hot hatch paradise we lived in only a few of years ago. Back when a Dieppe-built Clio was naturally-aspirated and manual and brilliant, and when there was a Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring - a car that, technically speaking, may have more in common with the i20 N than any other.

It was equipped with a blown 1.6-litre four-pot that sent 205hp and 207lb ft of torque to the front wheels through a six-speed manual but, crucially, there was a Drexler mechanical limited-slip differential on the front axle where previously there'd just been optimism. In a stroke, the standard model's chronic torque steer was mostly swept aside.

Then there were stiffer progressive-rate springs, monotube Bilstein dampers and revised bump stops, which gave the Corsa quicker responses with only a slight decrease in ride comfort. Plus, the new setup lowered the car by 20mm at the front and 15mm at the rear, so it looked more aggressive, too. To match, there were new forged wheels that were half an inch wider but weighed 200g less each. Behind them at the front were more powerful four-pot front calipers. A worthy upgrade list, by anyone's measure.

It translated into more eagerness at the nose, enhanced playfulness at the back and a generally more cohesive setup. One that was honed on the Nurburgring - hence the name - and that could genuinely give the cars from Renault and Ford an almighty scare if you were inclined to take it by the scruff of the next.

There was a problem, however. The price. At a fiver short of £23k the 'Ring VXR was three and a half grand more than the normal VXR and, compared to the Clio Cup, it was more than six grand pricier. Sure it had those enhanced mechanicals, but it was still a small Vauxhall hot hatch, which make those numbers hard to swallow.

But now, thanks to the passing of time and the corrosive effect of depreciation, the Nurburgring is much more affordable. Sure, at £7,245 and with 72,000 miles on the clock, it's not exactly peanuts, but it isn't nearly as common as a Fiesta or Clio either. This one's finished in green metallic, too, plus it's had a few upgrades that may - or may not - boost its driver appeal. In fact, its engine has received significant the attention, with upgraded injectors, a higher spec intercooler and remap, among other things. That list will either interest you more or have you turning on your heel - if it's the former, click here.

4 cyls, 1598cc, turbocharged petrol
Transmission: 6-spd manual, front-wheel drive
Power: 205hp at 5750rpm
Torque: 207lb ft at 2250-5500rpm (on overboost)
MPG: 37.2mpg
CO2: 178g/km
First registered: 2013
Recorded mileage: 72,000
Price new: £22,295
Yours for: £7,245

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (39) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Mike1990 19 May 2019

    I’am biased as i own one, and i wax lyrical about how good they..

    But that above example looks a little OTT with the add on skirts etc. You can get lower, complete standard examples for that price.

  • blade7 19 May 2019

    Great little cars, but aren't the engines a bit suspect when tuned?

  • PSB1967 19 May 2019

    The first picture in the ad is awful... First impressions etc. It looks like a boggo Astra.

  • Butter Face 19 May 2019

    PSB1967 said:
    The first picture in the ad is awful... First impressions etc. It looks like a boggo Astra.
    The front on pic of the lime green car with black vents and a massive airtec logo'd intercooler behind the front bumper? Yeah totally silly

  • A1VDY 19 May 2019

    Chav magnet, all that needs is a kev& Tracy screen logo...

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