Vauxhall VX220

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Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220
OpelSpeedster Scorpions.JPG
Manufacturer Lotus Cars
Also called Opel Speedster
Daewoo Speedster
Production 2000–2005
Assembly Hethel, Norfolk, England, UK.
Class Sports car
Body style 2-door roadster
Layout Rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Platform Lotus Elise series 2 platform
Engine GM Ecotec Z22SE
2.0 L turbo GM Ecotec Z20LET
Transmission Getrag F23 5-speed manual
Curb weight VX220 870 kg (1,918 lb)
VX220 Turbo 930 kg (2,050 lb)
Related Lotus Elise
Lynx GT[1]
Designer Niels Loeb and Martin Smith (Exterior)
Steven Crijns (Interior)[2]

The Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220 is a British-built mid engined, targa-topped, 2-seater sports car introduced in the summer of 2000.

It was built in both right-hand drive and left-hand drive versions at the Lotus Cars plant in Hethel, Norfolk, England. It was sold as the Vauxhall VX220 in the UK, and as the Opel Speedster in the rest of Europe. It was branded the Daewoo Speedster in the Asian market, in both right and left hand drive.

The car has a lot in common with the Lotus Elise, yet Opel/Vauxhall claims few parts are interchangeable. Both cars are characterized by strong performance and superb handling.

Contents

Joint Lotus development

The already developed Lotus Elise Series1 was unable to be produced beyond the 2000 model production year due to new European regulations around crash sustainability, and so Lotus needed a development partner to meet the investment requirement.

The Lotus Elise S2/Vauxhall VX220 design was based on the Elise chassis, modified to accept a General Motors engine in preference to the Rover K-series engine used by the Elise.

Design

Produced by Lotus at their Hethel, Norfolk factory, the VX220 carried the Lotus internal model identification Lotus 116 and the code name Skipton for the 2.2N/A version and Tornado for the 2.0 L Turbo.

The chassis utilizes an aluminium chassis tub that weighs only 150 lb (68 kg). The car also features bodywork which is made entirely of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). The entire car weighs in at only 2,050 lb (930 kg), much lighter than most small sports cars.

The normally aspirated version used a Opel Astra all aluminium alloy 2.2 L Z22SE engine giving 108 kW (147 PS; 145 bhp) in a car weighing 870 kg (1,918 lb) — originally designed for Opel/Vauxhall by Lotus, it arguably gives the VX220 more mechanical Lotus content than the Elise. The Turbo model, introduced in 2003, used an Opel designed cast iron block 2.0 L Z20LET engine, producing 147 kW (200 PS; 197 bhp) but weighing 930 kg (2,050 lb).

The Elise S2 was designed by Lotus to have 16" front wheels and 17" rear wheels. Opel/Vauxhall decided to fit 17" wheels front and rear to the VX220/Speedster for aesthetic reasons, which reduced the handling performance of the car.

A removable hard-top can be fitted as a factory or aftermarket option, providing - arguably - better looks and aerodynamics.

Production

With its low weight, mid-mounted engine, high torsional rigidity, and ample horsepower, the car is extremely quick and agile. Thanks in part to the car's light weight, the turbo version was able to reach a top speed of 242 km/h (150 mph) and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.9 seconds. The base price was around €32,000 for the 2.2 and €36,000 for the turbocharged version.

The car was hailed by the motoring press as a great drivers' car and won several accolades, including Top Gear's car of the year in 2003. The 2.2 NA (naturally aspirated) version was considered the easier drive of the two standard variants, and some journalists recommended that the Vauxhall car was better value for money than the Lotus (such as Jeremy Clarkson in his 2003 DVD Shoot Out).

Speedsters were displayed with the Daewoo badge, although only one was built to be used for marketing purposes. A final version, the track-oriented VXR220, based on the turbo model, was tuned to give around 220 hp (160 kW; 220 PS) and used 16 in (406 mm) front wheels that allowed the fitting of smaller front tyres to give sharper handling.

Production ended in 2005, with no direct successor.

See also

References

External links

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