With mean looks and great performance, the Corsa VXR is one of the fastest hot hatches on the road once tuned…
WHEELS & TYRES
As standard, the Corsa VXR came with 17in alloys and 215/45x17in tyres, with the option to upgrade to 18in rims of a similar design with 225/35x18in tyres. In truth, you don’t want to be moving too far away from either of these dimensions; both the Triple Eight and VXR-R special editions keep the 18in wheel format and it seems to be the best all-round compromise.
The real question is whether you want to tone the style of the alloys down by opting for a more classic multi-spoke, such as the Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2 or OZ Ultraleggera. In terms of tyres, 225/35x18in is again a good compromise between comfort and performance, although if you’re planning on harder driving, a set of 225/40x18in Toyo R888s will do the job nicely.
EBC discs are a common upgrade as they offer better disc and pad cooling over the standard items. Courtenay Sport also have their own 16-groove 308mm front discs with 8-groove items for the rear, which will again help eliminate brake fade. There are big brake kits on the market too, with AP Racing using 340mm discs and 4-pot calipers, while Regal have their own monster 345mm brake kit.
For basic tuning, uprated discs and pads along with upgraded brake lines should suffice as the standard VXR calipers are decent. Another cheap upgrade are Courtenay’s brake ducts, which channel air to the brakes to aid cooling to resist fade.
Even a good geometry setup can help dial out many of the compromises for broad appeal that Vauxhall designed into the chassis. It’s a relatively cheap way to reduce understeer and give the Corsa sharper turn-in through the bends. One of the criticisms of the Corsa VXR was the lack of feel through the steering for drivers, but even a set of springs with a suspension package will begin to increase feedback.
The variable electronic steering of the Corsa means you won’t ever get the same kind of feel as with older hot hatches, but a spring and damper set-up with a 40mm drop, as found on the VXR-R, certainly increases the fun factor through the bends while remaining comfortable for daily driving. Anti-roll bars combined with a suspension package will further reduce body roll, but should be one of the last things on your chassis shopping list.
All VXR models have decent traction control, but start creeping over the 200bhp mark and a Quaife ATB limited slip differential will make all the difference. Courtenay Sport can supply these for the M32 gearboxes for around £700. It may not sound particularly cheap but the gear-style design makes for a much smoother operation, eliminating the likelihood of the diff locking up, among other benefits. Compared to the standard open differential, traction is improved, wheelspin reduced and torque steer is ousted. NIce.
Extra power is readily available, but as with the Astra VXR, power delivery can be quite instant and a remap will not only smooth that out but, combined with a decent exhaust system, will boost power even further. A few tuners offer three stages of tuning with Stage Two using a remap and Milltek exhaust system to increase power by 45bhp and torque by 55 lb/ft. Stage Three adds a large front-mounted intercooler and will take a Corsa VXR to around the 250bhp mark. Decent spark plugs and a good panel filter will enhance this further, but 300bhp and more is achievable should you want it. Regal can provide a Dbilas manifold and Astra VXR K04 turbo kit for around £1,300, which is the basis for 300bhp.