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Opel’s sporty Adam a riot


If you’re in the market for a small sporty hatchback, you’re quite spoilt for choice these days. All of these pint-sized brawlers are vying for sales while nestling in to their own niche markets. Take the Opel Adam S that I drove recently for example, it’s a sporty take on a cute urban runabout and despite the fact that it is priced to rival the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST, VW’s Polo GTI and Renault’s Clio RS 200 EDC, as I discovered, it’s something quite out of the ordinary.

I then thought that the little Opel has been fettled with in order to achieve what Mini did to the Cooper all those years ago by producing a Cooper S, but again I was wrong. You see, the Adam S is more of a limited run (50 or so units) locally, a performance halo car for Opel while we wait for the Corsa OPC and new Astra OPC. It’s an exciting little thing to look at; my test unit was finished in grey with a red roof, red door mirror caps, red grille inserts and even smatterings of faux carbon fibre. There are also massive 18-inch alloy wheels and a large rear spoiler which kept my inner East Rander happy.

Inside is where I became quite excited, you see, the interior is dominated by one thing, the seats. These items are from Recaro and wouldn’t look out of place in a car costing twice as much. Then there is the IntelliLink infotainment system which is easy to use and integrates with your smartphone, I had my Stitcher radio streaming app at work in the car, listening to my favourite podcasts. The interior of the car matches the exterior in terms of colour too, with the grey/black theme, which added to its appeal.

 I used the vehicle to go on a small weekend away and that’s where I hit my first snag. You, see, there is honestly no mentionable boot space, meaning the rear seats have to be folded. In my opinion Opel should have just left the rear seats out for this Adam S model, it really is targeted at single people in any case. A short drive around Johannesburg with friends in the rear demonstrated how small the rear quarters of the car are while those massive front seats don’t allow for the rear occupants to see very much.

We then get to performance where you might be surprised to find that it has a 1.4 litre turbocharged motor, seen in many General Motors product before. It produces 110kW/220Nm which means that it will get to 100 km/h in around 8.5 seconds while using 5.9 litres/100km. I did see an advantage to having the little motor at the pumps, with a figure of 7.3 litres/100km, which is more than claimed.

The problem is that this car is, wait for it, R330 000 which means that it should, for all intents and purposes stay with the ST, GTI and RS in terms of performance. Sadly this is not the case, it simply will not. In terms of handling it’s fun and predictable however,  it’s no lightweight, at close to 1200kg it may give you similar figures to a Suzuki Swift Sport, which is quite a bit cheaper but does leg behind in terms of kit and technology.

To surmise the Adam S is a fun little car that is available in very limited numbers. It is very expensive though and for the money there are options such as a Mini Cooper if you’re in to the retro funk, a Fiesta ST if you’re in to driving, a Polo GTI if you need something great to drive every day.

Article written by Sean Nurse
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