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Vauxhall Corsa VXR (2007): first official pictures

Published: 03 January 2007

Vauxhall Corsa VXR: the lowdown

Vauxhall will unleash its hottest-ever supermini in March: the 190bhp Corsa VXR. In keeping with the UK-only VXR branding, the hot hatch will be spruced up with a butch bodykit, a series of chassis tweaks and a turbocharged version of Vauxhall’s 1.6-litre engine. Vauxhall’s previous sporting superminis have left us lukewarm, but this latest one promises some fireworks in the engine department: the company quotes 0-62mph in just 6.8sec, and it tops out at 140mph.

Quite a pocket rocket then. Have they turned the Corsa into a proper hot hatch this time?

It certainly looks the part. The wedgy three-door Corsa bodystyle lends itself to the sporting treatment (the VXR won’t be available in five-door form) and the 18-inch alloys are just the start of the makeover. A deep front air dam and body-coloured V-grille make the car unmistakable from the front, while the racer-style door mirrors and sideskirts lend the car an aggressive profile. At the rear, a centre-exit, triangular exhaust, chunky diffuser and roof spoiler mean you won’t mistake the VXR for a 1.3 CDTi.

Will the Corsa VXR drive like a hot hatch?

CAR Online hasn’t driven the VXR yet, but the omens are good. The basic Corsa is a good starting point and has impressed us with its driving manners, quality and roominess. The VXR’s 1.6 is turbocharged to produce 190bhp and has a temporary overboost facility to release up to 192lb ft of torque for brief overtaking manoeuvres. Keeping all that power in check is a tuned Corsa chassis, with revised damper and spring settings, plus a new ESP system. Variably-assisted steering tweaks the weight and feel depending on speed (a unique feature in the class, Vauxhall claims). It’ll have to be good to beat our current favourites, the Renault Clio 197 and Mini Cooper S, though.

What about inside the Corsa VXR?

Roll-resisting Recaro sports seats replace cooking models’ flatter chairs, and a Golf GTI-style flat-bottomed steering wheel sets off a purposeful driving position. Metallic finishes abound in the cockpit – the pedals are drilled alloy, while the highlighted air vent surrounds and wheel trim contrast the piano black of the fascia. It should be well equipped, too, although we don’t know the final spec yet.

When can I buy a Corsa VXR?

Vauxhall and European sister company Opel will unveil the hottest Corsa at the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of March. Sales in the UK, its biggest market globally, start in March and it’s priced to undercut its main rivals: the VXR will cost £15,595 – £400 less than the Clio 197. Running costs should be reasonable, too, Vauxhall claiming a reasonably teetotal 35.8mpg on the combined cycle.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet