Opel just announced its sporty new hatchback, the Opel Corsa OPC, and I am jealous. The high-powered hatch has a turbocharged 1.6 liter, four-cylinder engine that puts out 192 horsepower, and, according to Opelâ€™s press release, can go from zero to 100 kph (thatâ€™s 62 mph American) in just 6.8 seconds. Its top speed is 225 kph/140 mph.
Thatâ€™s a lot of power for a car that size. The design of the OPC is also influenced by Opelâ€™s racing and performance car traditions: instead of a suburban econobox, the OPC looks pretty jazzy. Recaro sports seats with integrated side airbags provide both style and security; a super-cool cockpit design seems guaranteed to make every driver feel like Emma Peel or James Bond. The Corsa OPC will be sold in England as the Vauxhall Corsa VXR, and it is expected to do well there, as well as on the Continent.
So why canâ€™t we Yanks get a powerful, high-performance, sporty little hatchback like this over here? I love my hatchback. My hatchback makes my life easier. Yet I wish I could have something that had a little more zing, a little more â€œjust came from the racetrackâ€ than â€œjust came from the PTA meetingâ€. Has the cult of the SUV meant that the US carmakers donâ€™t think anyone wants both performance and functionality? European sales figures suggest otherwise.
The new Opel Corsa OPC/Vauxhall Corsa VXR will be launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Perhaps itâ€™s just as well that I wonâ€™t be there to see it; I wouldn’t want my new car-crush to get any further out of hand.