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Opel builds its own little green hell - Opel OPC


WHAT would you pay for exclusivity? How many of your hard-earned South African rands would you fork over for the privilege of owning something only a select few will have the pleasure of owning?

According to Opel, the magic figure is R54 900 (or R84 000 if you consider the competition). That’s how much the German manufacturer is charging over and above the standard Corsa OPC (and the Ford Fiesta ST and Peugeot 208 GTi) for the limited-edition Corsa OPC Nürburgring.

That’s an awful lot of cash for something so trivial. Yes, only 65 will be sold in South Africa, but only hardcore petrolheads will ever recognise just how elite your ride is. To the rest of the country, you’ll just be another boy racer with an overpriced hot hatch in a ludicrous over-the-top colour.

Is it really worth the extra cash? Well, if the changes were only cosmetic, I’d say you’d be daft to spend the premium, but it’s Opel, a manufacturer that doesn’t do mere cosmetic enhancements. If ever there were a bunch of engineers that knew how to dial hot-hatch madness to 11, it’s those zany Germans at ze Opel headquarters.

The standard Corsa OPC is already an impressive little hatch, but the additional power and tech on the Nürburgring elevate it to another level altogether. It has no direct competitor simply because Opel has taken it out of the realm of the everyday hot hatch and into the realm of the track-day special. It’s not a first or second car, but rather a toy for the die-hard petrolhead or Opel aficionado.

Developed at the infamous Nürburgring in Germany, the standard specification list of this scorching hatch reads like a petrolhead’s holiday wish list. It rides on newly developed spring and damper units by Bilstein and uses a lightweight front braking system from Brembo. It’s lower, harder and more powerful than any Corsa ever made.

Power increases from 141kW/266Nm to 154kW/280Nm thanks to modified engine management and turbocharger systems and a new sports exhaust. This increase in power has lowered the 0-100km/h time to 6.8 seconds while the top speed increased to 230km/h.

It sounds like loads of fun, but remember that all of that power has to be transferred to the road via the front wheels. To cope with the pressures of steering and transferring all that power through the front wheels, Opel has equipped the front axle with a mechanical, multi-plate limited-slip differential. On paper it seems like it’ll be a tricky little bugger to drive, but it just isn’t. It grips, corners and accelerates like a terrier chasing after a bouncy ball.

To add extra peace of mind to an already well-sorted performance car, the chassis support systems have also been upgraded. The ABS, traction control and electronic stability control systems were all recalibrated to suit the added dose of adrenaline in the Corsa Nürburgring.

Not to be outdone by the mechanics, the exterior and interior feature their own exclusive upgrades to differentiate it from the standard OPC. On the outside you get 18-inch forged aluminium wheels in a high-gloss grey, which go nicely with either one of the two over-the-top colour schemes. You also get a different front spoiler, dual stainless-steel exhausts and Nürburgring logos on the B-pillars.

The interior is spruced up with a set of Recaro seats with decorative stitching and Nürburgring logos in the seatbacks. Added extras include automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and climate control.

Is it worth it though? Is the Opel Corsa OPC Nürburgring Edition really R84 000 better than the Fiesta ST and 208 GTi? Is the added exclusivity really worth it?

It’s yes and no, I’m afraid. If you want something that’s just as entertaining and you don’t care about the exclusivity, go for the Fiesta. If, however, you want the ultimate small hatch with no regard for price, then this OPC really is in a class of its own. 

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