The crazy answer
Anyone who enjoys spacious, quiet, comfortable and elegant vehicles may want to page over and skip this week’s review because it’s time for another yobbo special. If you’re into noisy, hard, cramped and nippy hatchbacks, Opel might just have the answer for you with their Corsa OPC.
The current Corsa needs no introduction and always finds favour with our staff. It’s got cheeky looks and decent spec levels, rides well and often felt like its superb chassis could handle more power. Opel’s Performance Centre came to the rescue and gave the little hatchback a few jabs of steroids.
Only available in two-door guise, the little German is now verging on vulgar with humungous wheels, ultra-low and ultra-fat rubber, flared arches, gills on every corner, roof spoiler, dark light clusters, zany mirrors, beefy brakes and suspension, deeper bumpers, rear diffuser and a flush, triangular exhaust tip.
As they were on a roll, OPC kept throwing go-faster parts at the helpless Corsa and gave it OPC door sills, branded carpets, lots of leather with contrasting stitches, tasty Recaro bucket seats, shiny pedals, a fat OPC steering wheel and an even fatter leather gear knob.
The Rüsselsheim crew will immediately defend their demented sense of dress by pointing vigorously at the Corsa OPC’s power plant. A 1,598cc 16-valve turbo-charged four-cylinder petrol engine develops 141kW (192hp) or 230Nm, easily overpowering the car’s 1,280kg weight.
0-100km/h takes 7.2 seconds (which we confirmed), top speed is 225km/h, average CO2 output is 172g/km and the crazy Corsa requests an average of 7.3L/100km from its 45L tank. Our consumption hovered around 10L/100km which is not too bad considering the fun we had.
Remember, the Corsa OPC will only be fun if you like your cars hard and fast. This little pocket rocket takes an uncompromising and eager approach to hot hatch motoring, underlined by its taught suspension, crisp controls, close 6-speed gearbox and eager-beaver drive train.
The 1.6 turbo motor is incredibly brawny from around 1,500rpm and only runs out of ideas at high speeds and/or near its red line. Keep within its mid-range power band, ignore that absolutely stupid shift light and the Corsa OPC will tear up any road of your choosing.
Gear selection and post-shift throttle take-up aren’t super-sharp but the steering and suspension are. Grip levels are incredibly high (225mm rubber on each corner) and the lenient ESP cuts in gently when you really push your luck – reigning in wheel-spin, lateral wash and the occasional hip wiggle.
Switch off the traction control and prepare to fight for your life; the Corsa OPC gladly burns rubber or wrestles you into another lane. It will also knock all your teeth out over bumpy tarmac or perform an emergency stop so violently that you’ll spend two minutes digging your house keys out from under the dash.
That’s right, this car begs to be spanked and thanks you for it with a sonorous engine growl and ferocious exhaust hiss. There is some good news though, because I found the OPC to be semi-useful in everyday traffic. If you can live with the hard ride and duidelike looks, the Corsa is a fantastic weekday commuter.
Those Recaros are amazing, the clutch is light and forgiving enough for rush hour and 240Nm of torque means that you can zip into gaps or cruise up hills without stirring around the gearbox. The boot’s a bit small but has a double floor and the rear seats fold flat to increase capacity from 285 to 700L.
It may not have a temperature gauge, spare wheel or thumping stereo, but there’s plenty of kit to keep you entertained and safe: power steering, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking, ABS, BAS, EBD, ESP, 8 airbags, ISOFIX anchors, alarm and immobiliser.
It also has radio/CD/aux/mp3 sounds, cruise control, air-con, adjustable multi-function steering wheel and lots of fog lights to annoy other road users with. Material use and finish is commendable; although not everybody approved of the shiny piano lacquer central console with its sea urchin rotary knobs.
An Opel Corsa OPC costs N$263,700 and comes with a 5-year/120,000km warranty and 3-year/60,000km service plan. That’s not exactly affordable but the Corsa OPC doesn’t have many (manual) competitors and provides the same sort of power/weight/fun ratio as the bigger, more expensive hot hatches.
0-100m: 5.6s / 86.3km/h
0-200m: 9.0s / 115.5km/h
0-300m: 11.9s / 129.9km/h
0-400m: 14.5s / 143.4km/h
1/4mile: 14.5s @ 89.3mph (143.7km/h)
Road Dry tarmac, level
Occupants Driver, no passengers
Fuel level 1/4