The Vauxhall Corsa VXR was the marque’s first attempt at a turbocharged Corsa, and with cool styling, hip-hugging Recaro seats, an affordable price tag and that punchy 192bhp engine, it’s a real riot straight out of the box, but it’s even better when tuned…
Guide from Fast Car.
Vauxhall’s hot VXR brand has produced some stonkingly fast motors over the years, with the Astra, Vectra and Insignia all properly rapid machines, even if the handling wasn’t always as sparkling. But with the Corsa VXR, Vauxhall was much more on the money, with the hot hatch being conceived from the get go as the top of the range Corsa, rather than a boggo shopper-spec car with some tuning goodies thrown at it. The new 1.6-litre turbocharged engine made 192bhp and, like all forced induction engines, responds well to a lick of the tuning stick. The looks and handling were pretty much nailed from the factory too, although there’s little that can’t be improved with some choice aftermarket upgrades, it just depends on whether you want to take it down the show or go route, as this is one little hatch that can carry off either with ease. Here’s a few options that we reckon would turn the Vauxhall Corsa VXR into a proper show stopper!
Tarox ‘Sport Compact’ Big Brake Kit
The VXR’s beefy turbo motor puts out a torrent of torque making it one of the most rapid hatches of its time, but that potent performance can put extra pressure on the braking system and anyone looking to up the power even further should look at some upgrades. On models without the upgraded Brembo setup, we’d recommend Tarox’s Sport Compact big brake kit. Featuring six-piston calipers and 321mm drilled or grooved discs, a set of ‘Corsa’ trackday pads and braided hoses, the £1500 Sport Compact kit has got everything you need to tame that turbo’d powerplant and keep the paintwork shiny side up.
While the Corsa’s shape does lend it to being dumped on the deck via a set of air-bags, we’d probably keep things coilovers, and play to the VXR’s track credentials while still getting in those essential lows. German suspension gurus Bilstein do all manner of options for hot hatches like the Corsa, but we’d go for the awesome B14 – PSS kit, which lowers the car by up to 50mm front and rear and features specially matched springs and dampers and Triple-C-Technology surface coating for long-lasting corrosion resistance.
Bola CSR Wheels
The Corsa VXR came with some pretty swanky, 18in wheels as standard, but no one wants to rock stock rims, so the aftermarket is your friend. Unfortunately, the Corsa’s fairly unique PCD and offset or 5×110 and ET45/50 means that you might find options fairly limited. But where there’s a will… Bola wheels have found the way, offering most of their styles in a huge range of fitments, including the Corsa VXR. We’d probably go for a set of the cool concave multi-spoke CSRs, which come in an 8x18in size and a host of finishes including bronze, silver, gunmetal and black to name a few.
Price: From £695
Scorpion Exhaust System
The Corsa VXR comes with a trick centre exit exhaust system as standard, which pokes through a triangular aperture in the OEM rear diffuser – unless you have a Nurbugring edition which uses a twin pipe system. This means there’s not too many options for playing about with the design or the tailpipes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make gains. Gas-flow specialists Scorpion have a range of resonated and non-resonated cat-back systems that are made from 3in pipework to release any pent up horses and give the VXR a meatier exhaust mote to boot. They even come with a special triangular exhaust tip too!