Sunday, July 8, 2012

David Gandy drives: Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nürburgring

David Gandy drives: Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nürburgring

The male supermodel and Car Correspondent spends four days test-driving the mega hatch on some country lanes slightly closer to home.


If anyone is qualified to review a hot hatch it's surely got to be me. Boy, did I love anything with an -i suffix in my hormonal late teens. The GTi, the XSi, the SRi: I owned them all, cherished them all and usually crashed them all. Things have moved on though in the last ten years. Reading the stats of the VXR, I'm shocked that hot hatches now have over 200bhp. Back in the day, 125bhp was deemed easily sufficient - so is this more mega hatch than hot?

On first impressions, I like it. It's a coherent, muscular design, much less chav-tastic than I thought it was going to be and in the chilli orange colour - yes sir, I like it very much! But then Vauxhall doesn't get enough credit for its design. This VXR is based on a six-year-old Corsa that is holding up well against much more modern cars. The Insignia not only looks better than any Ford, but also gives Audi and Jaguar small executive cars a run for their money. The new Zafira Tourer is fun and innovative and the new Astra/GTC is just plain gorgeous.

At the end of the day though, I have to park the car in my parking space, next to some of the most expensive cars I've ever seen in London: Ferrari F40s, Aston DB4s... Not sure how the Vauxhall badge is going to hold up with the owners here? (I always think that maybe Vauxhall should change its name to Opel like it is in the rest of Europe. However, you hear Opel, you think "Fruits", which is worse.) But everyone seems to take to the VXR when I drive it and some are inquisitive and complimentary.


What on earth has this car got to do with the Nürburgring? I wish car companies would stop associating their cars with the famous ex-race track. Lotus makes arguably the best-handling cars in the world so why don't people name their cars the "Hethel Norfolk"? However, on reading the press spec sheet, the VXR turns out to be one serious bit of kit. Recaro seats, Brembo brakes, lowered Bilstein springs and inverted dampers, Drexler mechanical limited-slip differential, unique front and rear splitter and huge 18-inch Anthracite alloys. Carlsberg doesn't do after-market performance tuning, but if it did ...


Sunday & Monday ...

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