Anyone who is in the market for a hot-hatch is spoiled for choice at the moment. The Ford Fiesta ST provides for people who chase old-school driving thrills with its manual gearbox and lively handling, while Renault’s latest Clio RS and its dual-clutch gearbox appeals to a new generation of drivers. Opel has decided to join the battleground with its Corsa OPC, a turbocharged hot-hatch set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show.
Thanks to its four-cylinder, turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, the Corsa OPC will hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 6.8 seconds – almost identical to the times the Fiesta ST and Clio RS manage. The OPC’s impressive straight line performance comes courtesy of its healthy 152 kW (207 hp) peak power figure, as well as the 245 Nm of torque available between just 1,900 rpm and 5,800 rpm. The OPC’s ECOTEC motor will even provide an extra 35 Nm on overboost, bumping peak torque up to 280 Nm. Power is channeled to the front wheels through a short-shifting six-speed manual gearbox, with no option for an automatic.
All of the power in the world is no use if the Corsa can’t put a smile on the driver’s face on a winding road – razor-sharp handling is what hot-hatches should be all about. Opel has worked with suspension gurus Koni for the OPC’s adaptive damping system, which is designed to allow sharp handling without compromising the Corsa’s comfy ride. Koni’s suspension setup has the Corsa sitting 10 mm lower than the standard hatch, and a more lenient ESP and traction control setup will allow drivers to push the car further before it intervenes.
Reworked steering is another element of the OPC Corsa package, allowing sharper turn in and better feedback than the standard Corsa’s setup.
Is this doesn’t sound hardcore enough for you, Opel is also offering a performance package for the OPC, which swaps the standard 308 mm OPC brakes for 330 mm Brembo units, adds a Drexler locking front differential, and substitutes the car’s 245/45R17 Michelins for stickier rubber and bigger, 18-inch wheels.
On top of the car’s improved performance, Opel has put plenty of time into spicing up the Corsa’s exterior. Bigger air intakes and a subtle hood scoop combine with the OPC’s aluminum highlights to make the front-end stand out from the small-car crowd, while a rear spoiler (available in two sizes), Remus exhaust and rear diffuser help differentiate the OPC Corsa from Opel’s garden-variety hatch.
Inside, Opel has used OPC pedals, heavily bolstered Recaro seats and a flat-bottom steering wheel to make the Corsa’s cabin feel sporty and special – a must if it is to compete with the hot-hatch establishment.
The Corsa OPC will make its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
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