The Geneva Motor Show will see the first public sighting of the next Vauxhall Corsa VXR, hot on the heels of the latest Corsa which went on sale in the run up to Christmas.
It usually takes a couple of years before manufacturers add some sparkle to a range with a performance model, but Vauxhall are obviously keen for the Corsa to get stuck into Ford’s Fiesta ST. The Fiesta and Corsa have always been keen rivals but it’s the Ford that’s usually won over the critics. However, if the improvements in the ordinary Corsa are anything to go by it’s going to be a much closer battle this time.
One of the reasons the VXR is so quick to market becomes apparent when you look at the performance figures. It looks like Vauxhall have simply lifted the engine straight from the outgoing VXR and bolted it onto the new chassis. Power and torque are up on the standard VXR but only equal that of the Clubsport, while emissions and economy are barely unchanged.
Even if the performance figures have barely changed, it still gives the Corsa VXR The edge over rivals such as the Fiesta, Clio and 208. Also, as before, there’s an overboost facility that gives 5 second squirts of an extra 35Nm of torque, raising the total to 280Nm.
While Vauxhall might not have spent much time developing the engine there is at least more promising news in the chassis department. Vauxhall have worked with Koni to produce some special dampers for the VXR, building on the improvements already seen in the new Corsa. They’ve called their system Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) and it allows damping forces to change according to adapt to the car’s movements. The claim is that it ensures that body control is maintained when the car is driven fast, but ride quality is optimised at lower speeds.
A first for the Corsa VXR are two-stage switchable ESP and traction control systems. In Competition Mode the traction control is switched off and the ESP relaxes a little, while in Track mode both systems can be fully disabled.
There’ll be a choice of six paint colours, with the Flash Blue shown here being unique to the VXR. Inside are standard Recaro seats and the obligatory leather lined, flat-bottomed steering wheel. Creature comforts include a heated front windscreen and Intellilink connectivity for Apple and Android telephones.
For those looking for a Corsa with more of a track bias, Vauxhall will offer a Performance Package that adds some of the best bits previously seen on the Corsa Nürburgring and ClubSport. These include the Drexler limited-slip differential, larger 330mm-diameter Brembo front brake discs, 18-inch wheels and more focused FSD damper settings. Previously these special models would have included a Remus exhaust but there’s no mention of an equivalent for the new VXR … yet.
No doubt we’ll hear more about prices after the Geneva Motor Show in March.
2015 Vauxhall Corsa VXR Statistics
|Performance & Economy||2015 Corsa VXR||2014 Corsa VXR||2014 Corsa VXR Clubsport|
|Engine||1,598cc turbocharged 4-cylinder, petrol||1,598cc turbocharged 4-cylinder, petrol||1,598cc turbocharged 4-cylinder, petrol|
|Transmission||6-speed manual, front-engined, front-wheel drive||6-speed manual, front-engined, front-wheel drive||6-speed manual, front-engined, front-wheel drive|
|Power (PS / bhp)||205 / 202||192 / 189||205 / 202|
|Torque (Nm / lb.ft)||245 - 280 / 180 - 206 @ 1,900 - 5,800rpm||230 - 260 / 169 - 191||250 - 280 / 184 - 206 @ 2,250 - 5,500rpm|
|0 - 62 mph (seconds)||6.8||6.8||6.5|
|Top Speed (mph)||143||140||143|
|CO2 Emissions (g/km)||174||172||178|
|Combined Economy (mpg)||37.7||38.7||37.2|