DRIVING IMPRESSION: Opel Corsa Sport
Once a permanent fixture on the bootlid or on the front fenders of many cars some thirty years ago, more and more manufactures have in recent years refused to add a trim level designations to distinguish their various models from each other.
While some claim that having a badge nailed to the rear rates as the easiest way of identifying the exact vehicle you might be interested in, many automakers have reacted by pointing out the various differences by virtue of visual appearances and list of standard equipment.
In addition, whereas spec descriptions such as GL, GLS and GT have strayed away from what they once actually implied, the Sport designation has become something of cult badge as it most often symbolises the defining features that sets a model apart from its lesser siblings; better looks, more equipment and a little something extra under the bonnet.
Having continued to post commendable sales since its launch earlier this year, Opel has somewhat taken many motoring scribes by surprise with the introduction of the aptly named Corsa Sport. Slotting above the Cosmo as the new flagship model in the Corsa range, the Sport also serves as a taster of what can be expected when the fire breathing OPC makes its local debut sometime next year.
Although still instantly recognisable as a Corsa, the Sport, true to its designation, features a number of styling changes to set it apart from the more luxurious Cosmo tested last month.
These include an OPC-Line bodykit comprising of flared door sills, a subtle boot spoiler and more pronounced front and rear bumpers, a black mesh grille, carbon look door mirrors, five spoke dark Titanium 17-inch alloy wheels and a chromed tipped sports exhaust.
As restrained these aesthetics enhancement might be, the Sport, especially in our test car’s Speed Yellow livery, managed to garner quite a lot of attention from fellow motorists and passer-byes during its weeklong stay.
Inside, the interior also borrows a number of cues from the OPC with the most prominent being the leather covered flat bottomed multi-function steering wheel with real aluminium insert, drilled alloy pedals, OPC gearknob and boot with white stitching, and so-called Moonray patterned cloth sport seats.
Like with the Cosmo and Enjoy previously tested, there is escaping the fact that built quality and types of materials used, rates as the best in class.
Despite its sporty credentials and above mentioned add-ons, the plastics used are still of the soft classy kind while the feel of the even chunkier sports steering wheel gives the impression that you could stick the Corsa into a corner with little worry. Cloth it might be, but the sports seats felt more than comfortable and thanks to the steering wheel being height adjustable, getting into the swing of things was easy.
As before, the standard Intellilink touch screen infotainment system proved faultless and connected with the Bluetooth on my Sony Xperia Z1 compact without so much as a few seconds wait.
In addition to the still impressive Blind Spot Detection System (BLIS) as well as front and rear parking sensors, the Sport is also the first Corsa to be fitted with a reverse camera, which came in handy a couple of times when forced to back-up in tight areas. Further standard kit includes auto on/off bi-directional xenon headlights with daytime running LED’s, one touch electric front windows, auto on/off wipers and red interior ambient lighting.
For the final, and arguably most exciting, bit of sportiness, the Sport does away with the now familiar 1.0-litre three cylinder turbocharged EcoFLEX engine, in favour of a brand new 1.4-litre four cylinder turbo unit. Part of parent company General Motors’ Small Gasoline Engine (SGE) line-up that will also debut next year in the all-new Astra, the engine is best described as astonishing.
Flex your right toe a bit, the engine immediately responds by pushing you into your seat as the turbo spools up to fire 110 kW and 220 N.m of torque at the front wheels. With hardly any turbo lag regardless of what gear you might be in, the Sport feels a lot faster on accelaration than its 0-100 km/h time of 9.4 secs suggests.
What also the surprised was the ride quality. Only offset by badly patched areas, the Sport felt comfortable and composed without the crashy sensation you would expect from the 215/45 section rims.
While its introduction might have come as a surprise, there is no doubt that the hallowed Sport designation deserves it association with Opel’s latest junior hot hatch.
|ENGINE LAYOUT||DOHC 16v Inline 4 Turbo|
|MAX POWER||110 kW @5000 rpm|
|MAX TORQUE||220 N.m @3000-4500 rpm|
|DRIVE LAYOUT||Front engine; Front-wheel drive|
|ACCELERATION [0-100 KM/H]||9.4 sec|
|TOP SPEED||220 km/h|
|FUEL CONSUMPTION||5.9 L/100 km|
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