Essay – Opel Corsa and 40th Anniversary (2022): Does adoration sell?

BRIEFLY

Opel Corsa special edition

136 hp, 260 Nm, 0 to 100 km/h in 8.7 s.

WLTP range of 351 km

Single finish at €35,100 (discounted price)

Also available in 130 hp petrol (€25,300)

Is the ‘Youngtimers’ fad causing automakers to cherish their past? While Volkswagen has been upholstering the seats of its Golf GTIs for a few years with tartan fabric in homage to the 1974 model, the brand is also starting to invoke the history of its city car. Forty years after the launch of the first Corsa in 1982, Opel has actually launched a special, ultra-limited series to celebrate the canonical age of this car, which has sold over 14 million units and has since gone through another five model generations.

The Opel Corsa 40th Anniversary’s unique “Rekord Red” color is inspired by that of the first Corsa from 1982

The comparison with the Golf GTI also applies to the curious similarities in terms of presentation: the Corsa’s 40th anniversary sports a beautiful “Rekord red” officially inspired by one of the colors of the first model, with a black roof, 17 inches in the same color and even an Opel emblem at most darkened on the grille. Everything to believe in the presence of a real small sports car, especially when you open the door and discover wraparound seats with a checkerboard pattern. Note in passing that Opel’s communicators deny any inspiration from another famous German manufacturer, explaining that the original Corsa also offered this type of upholstery with a colored finish. The large numbered badge affixed to the right part of the dashboard, usually present on rarer Porsche or Ferrari models, would almost give the impression of being on an exceptional machine. Let’s not get carried away: available with a choice of a 130hp 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine with automatic gearbox or a 136hp electric motor, this Opel Corsa 40th Anniversary just looks sporty.

The Opel Corsa 40th Anniversary is only available in one color
The Opel Corsa 40th Anniversary is only available in one color
Could any resemblance to the Golf GTI's seats be coincidental?
Could any resemblance to the Golf GTI’s seats be coincidental?

It also inaugurates the technical update already installed on the Peugeot e-208 that you will discover in a few days, with maximum autonomy gain in the electric version thanks to small changes in the software and mechanics. While the French now claim a maximum range of 362 kilometers (WLTP) against 340 previously (in particular by modifying the engine reducer and retouching the heat pump), the Corsa e now officially appears at 359 km instead of the 337 previously. With the 17-inch wheels of the 40th anniversary version, this maximum range drops to 351 km, which promises an interesting range, knowing that it is still compatible with fast charging at 100 kW (or 11 kW in alternating current).

The 17-inch rims were painted black.
The 17-inch rims were painted black.
The roof, grille and emblems are also black on this special series.
The roof, grille and emblems are also black on this special series.

Installed aboard this 40-year-old Corsa in electric version under the gray of the Rüsselsheim headquarters on an autumnal morning, we find the familiar universe of the city car launched in 2019. The extra colors of this special series are welcome, but in reverse. From what you might see in a top-of-the-line Peugeot 208, there’s still hard plastic on the door panels to make those obsessed with foam surfaces scream. “At Opel, for the same manufacturing cost, we prefer the option of a two-tone roof over foam door panels”, explain brand communicators to flash. Integrating Apple Carplay and Android Auto as standard, the car suffers from a sometimes weakly responsive on-board computer, but it’s still just as enjoyable to drive around town. Opel recalls slightly firmer damping over the 208, plus a steering with a more “sporty” feel. Nothing that really detracts from the car’s comfort in the German traffic jams, certainly. Particularly favorable to the use of an electric car (heavy traffic and very little highway, just under 20 degrees in temperature), the conditions of our test allowed us to drop to 12.6 kWh/100 km without even activating the Eco mode. Enough to approach 400 kilometers in theory in this “ideal” scenario.

At the wheel, the atmosphere is sporty but the finishing does not progress
At the wheel, the atmosphere is sporty but the finishing does not progress
There is actually a large numbered badge on the dashboard.  Such an exceptional special series!
There is actually a large numbered badge on the dashboard. Such an exceptional special series!

And when you activate the powertrain’s “Sport” mode, what does it give? Not a lot. Acceleration obviously becomes more frank, as power increases to 136 horsepower instead of 109 in Comfort mode and 82 in Eco, with 0 to 100 km/h accelerated in 8.7 seconds. but in no way transfigures the behavior of this city car designed to offer sufficient performance in complete safety. The brake mode setting still doesn’t allow you to drive “with one pedal” and when you have fun pushing the car around a wet, slippery turn, the steering aids suppress all available torque.

On the road there is nothing new to report compared to the regular Corsa
On the road there is nothing new to report compared to the regular Corsa
We found a consumption of 12.6 kWh/100 km, but the route was very favorable to energy savings
We found a consumption of 12.6 kWh/100 km, but the route was very favorable to energy savings

Available for a few days in Opel’s online configurator, the Corsa e 40th Anniversary costs €35,100 (with a “discounted” price) and doesn’t offer the slightest option due to its super-equipped staff. At the same time, the Corsa and Basic (also discounted) start at €31,900 currently in their Edition finish (instead of €34,400). Compared to the more equipped GS Line and Elégance Business finishes, but lower than the 40th Anniversary, the additional cost of the latter is €2,100. Don’t forget the €6,000 ecological bonus to be subtracted, putting the Corsa and 40th Anniversary at €29,100. It will be sold in just 120 examples in France, plus 120 of the 130 horsepower petrol version offered for €25,300 (with exactly the same exterior and interior finishes).

The detail that kills?  Opel offers these socks to match the car!
The detail that kills? Opel offers these socks to match the car!

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