At the heart of the Vauxhall Corsa VXR is a 1598cc turbocharged engine that produces 192bhp at 5850rpm and much more significantly for taking care of other small hot hatches, a maximum of 192lb ft from 1980-5800rpm for five second bursts.

This arrives with an overboost facility that kicks in under full throttle in the top four of the six gears. But even without this, the engine still has 170lb ft.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
A strong engine performance is marred by a soft throttle response

All this is enough to propel the 1255kg Corsa to 60mph in 6.8sec (we recorded 6.7sec), to 100mph in 16.8sec and on to a top speed of 140mph.

On paper, that puts the Vauxhall on par with its rivals from Renault and Volkswagen. But in reality the VXR has so much more mid-range torque to deliver that, in most give-and-take situations, but blows the Clio Renaultsport into the undergrowth.

In the higher gears at middling revs, it has more urgency than the Clio, and you only need to look at the 50-70mph time in top for the proof. The Corsa is around 0.5sec quicker, and that’s despite the Corsa being the slightly longer geared of the pair.

So although the Corsa’s throttle response fails to match that of the Renault at high revs (such is the inevitable blight of the turbocharged engine, unfortunately), the VXR’s extra go overall is hard to deny. In the key areas its advantage is considerable.

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The real-world advantage is extended with the Corsa VXR Nurburgring. A revised ECU, uprated turbo and new exhaust liberate another 13bhp from the 1.6-litre engine, taking the total to 202bhp. The overboosted torque figure is 207lb ft, a significant 56lb ft up on the Renault Clio Cup. Combined with the Nurburgring's suspensions modifications, it makes the flagship VXR fractionally quicker than the Clio round a track, and on the road.

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