April 15, 2014

March 10, 2014

  • Even more than in years past, this month's Geneva Motor Show press days were absolutely teeming with lust-worthy hot hatches. There was the new Seat Leon Cupra, the Honda Civic Type R concept, Volkswagen Scirocco R and Golf GTE, Audi S1 and Abarth 695 Biposto. But one of the most enticing of them all was the Opel Astra OPC Extreme. Effectively a roadgoing version of the Astra OPC Cup racer, the Extreme is a track car for the road that packs a 2.0-liter turbo four tuned up to 300 horsepower and...

March 5, 2014

  • If hot hatches are your thing, this year's Geneva Motor Show is the place to be. Seat used the occasion to reveal its Ring-running Leon Cupra. Not to be outdone, Honda showed up with its Civic Type R concept. VW has got the new Scirocco R and Golf GTE to show off, Audi finally bestowed the new S1 upon us and Abarth transformed the Fiat 500 into the bonkers 695 Biposto. Even Alfa Romeo got in on the action with the latest QV edition MiTo and Giulietta. But the lineup wouldn't be complete without...

March 4, 2014

  • While Porsche and McLaren vie for sub-seven-minute lap records at the Nürburgring, there's another hotly contested category, and it's not for the fastest time of any vehicle. It applies specifically to front-wheel-drive cars, and is contested between European hot hatches. The record was set and the gauntlet thrown down by Renault in 2008 with the Megane R26.R, which clocked a lap time of 8:16.90, and then again with the newer Megane RS Trophy at 8:07.97. Honda has made no secret of its...
  • General Motors may have parred down its brand portfolio, but it still has more under its umbrella than most. That's why, while a company like Ford might market the same vehicle under its own name in markets around the world, GM uses different brands in different markets. But no two are aligned quite as closely as Opel in Europe and Buick in the United States and China. What we know here as the Buick Regal is sold overseas as the Opel Insignia. Our Encore is their Mokka. Verano? Astra sedan....

February 28, 2014

February 26, 2014

  • More power, less weight. It's a winning formula when it comes to performance automobiles, and one we've seen applied time and time again. It's what Ferrari did to transform the 360 Modena into the Challenge Stradale, the F430 into the Scuderia and the 458 into the Speciale. Maserati does the same with the GranTurismo MC Stradale and Lamborghini with the Gallardo Superleggera. We could go on, but you get the point: it's a formula typically applied to exotic Italian supercars, but of course it's...

February 3, 2014

  • A racecar for the road. Usually that statement is nothing more than marketing, but Opel may have actually done it with its Astra OPC Extreme. It promises that the hot hatch is the fastest production Astra it has ever sold. The Extreme starts as a standard Astra OPC with 280 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, then gets upgrades from the Astra OPC Cup racecar from the VLN Nürburgring Endurance Championship. The upgrades include carbon fiber...

October 24, 2013

September 24, 2013

August 21, 2013

August 2, 2013

February 8, 2013

November 25, 2012

  • With a financial crisis ravaging the European automotive industry, many automakers have tightened budgets, and motorsports programs have, in many cases, been among the first things to go. That's the case at Ford and Mini, but it's the opposite at Opel, which announced its return to motorsports in the form of spec series for two very fun-looking hatchbacks. The first racer is the Opel Adam Cup, which will participate in the ADAC Rally Masters competition for the Opel Rally Cup Trophy. The...

August 24, 2012

  • Trying to make the best of a nasty situation for everyone involved, Opel has reportedly worked out an agreement with its Works Council and the IG Metall union to reduce working hours at two of its plants. From the end of September until the end of the year, there will be 20 days of short shifts and short working days for two Opel facilities: the Rüsselsheim factory that builds the Insignia and Astra and the Kaiserslautern component plant. About half of the 13,800 Rüsselsheim employees...
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7:39pm April 19-5:00 GMT