The return of the hot hatch in 6 speed manual trim. It’s a good sign really for the true motoring enthusiasts. Nothing beats hammering down gear changes with the aid of an additional pedal that works the normally lazy left leg. Renault had given it a go with its mini rocket in the form of the Clio RS and Ford with its larger format station wagon than the Clio, namely the Focus ST. Both use a 6 speed manual tranny, superb fun to drive and a perfect tool for the streets of Dubai or any modern urban field. This time we talk about a new kid in the Arabian block, the Opel Corsa Nürburgring Edition.
Opel Corsa OPC Nurburgring Edition Review
The Rüsselsheim based Opel and a subsidiary of the American General motors has now taken the performance route of its fellow German counterparts and have developed their own performance oriented line called the “OPC”, which stands for Opel Performance Center. Our tester is albeit different than an “OPC model”. It is a limited edition called the Corsa OPC Nürburgring Edition. Today, sadly, we don’t have vehicles like this in our market. Its closest relative would be the feisty Ford Fiesta ST and the new Renault Clio RS, which are creating frenzy amongst the automotive spectrum in Europe and USA.
As expected, this limited edition has to be more special than shall we say a regular Corsa OPC. Well it does, the 1.6 litre turbocharged engine now pumps out 207hp as compared to 189hp from a regular OPC Corsa model and with a few extra trickeries up its sleeve. The Nürburgring Edition also boasts stiffer Bilstein shocks, bigger Brembo brakes nestling behind gloss black 18 inch rims, two large round exhaust outlets at the back and a front mechanical differential.
Moving on to its interior, the Nürburgring Edition has the customary badges on the headrest of the Recaro bucket seats and on its door stills. The dashboard is simplistic; much like the Renault Clio RS, but the pièce de résistance would be its 6-speed manual tranny lever. By now, it’s quite obvious how much we love the manual tranny.
Getting on to the drive. The Corsa Nürburgring Edition sits tightly sprung, thanks to the rather stiff Bilstein suspension. Road imperfections of any degree can be felt immediately with the front end of the car rebounding hard. But that can be overlooked when the car is pushed around the bends. The torque comes pretty low in the power band which helps a lot and swinging it around in any corner entices a rather big smile thanks to its planted front end and non-noticeable body roll. You can push it harder into the oncoming bend as you gradually get comfortable with it.
It’s rather hilarious that the 1,300 kg lightweight pushed around by over 200hp of power can bring the child in you. Oversteer is minimal, in-fact we tried all sorts of stupid things for it misbehave, but apart from the tires screeching there was little else give. Around highways, the pretty little Corsa bounced happily, probably showing that it was meant for the twisties and not straight line driving. But we enjoyed it non-the-less. The throw of the gear is rather long and would do with a short shifter but we felt that the engine was mated well with the gearbox and we soon forgot about its long throw.
Ideally this car is best suited for Hatta or Jabel Hafeet twisties, that’s where the sum of all its parts comes alive. But it can also be used as a daily driver. We feel that a lot of its characteristics define the car that it really is. Otherwise they would all feel the same.
The Corsa Nürburgring Edition is a brilliant attempt by Opel to bring foot fall to its doors. It is after all a pretty special to look at. The Henna color did turn heads and we did see a lime green version sitting pretty in the showroom. Its price is AED 112k which is around AED10k more than the Focus ST and the Toyota 86, both in manual gear trim. The Corsa Nürburgring Edition is an additional alternative to those looking into buying into a manual tranny. It would come down to a matter of preference at the end really; it’s a step towards the right direction from Opel in-terms of design and mechanical package though the economics of it would have to be seen.
|2014 Opel Corsa OPC Nürburgring Edition|
|Displacement||1.6 Litre Turbocharged Engine|
|Rated Output||207hp @ 5850 rpm|
|Rated Torque||280Nm @ 2250 rpm|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||6 speed manual transmission, FWD|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||6.8 secs|
|Max Speed||230 kmph|
Images shot by myself and for a change all the post production too, a big pat on my back :