Our Opel Astra OPC“I should have hated the Opel Astra OPC then. Despised it. And I did on the day it was delivered, when I took it for a shakedown in monsoon weather in my hometown of Hillcrest in KZN, along the potholed Inanda Road, whence it bucked and jarred, as you’d expect of any hard-riding hot-hatch with 20-inch rims and 245/35 tyres.

So I put it aside, and for the next few couple of days used the big, automatic GWM H5 2,0 VGT that’s been in residence on my driveway for some time now. But come a sunny, cerulean day, I decided to take the OPC for a hard, fast, delirious burn on a smooth stretch of tarmac, and suddenly I was smitten with this machine, which traces its lineage back to the Superboss. Quite smitten.

Of course, there’s power aplenty. Under the bonnet lives a 1 998 cm³, all-alloy, four-cylinder motor. Add the twin-scroll turbocharger with intercooler, and you can expect 206 kW and 400 N.m of torque. Enough to scorch the Opel to 100 km/h in six seconds – only it feels much faster, such is the direct tactility of this car. Top end is governed to 250 km/h, although the speedometer is optimistically marked up to 300 km/h.”

Read the full review by James Siddall for the CAR Mag blog.