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Vauxhall VX220

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Vauxhall VX220

Opel Speedster
Overview
Manufacturer Opel
Also called Vauxhall VX220
Daewoo Speedster
Production 2000–2005
Assembly Hethel, Norfolk, UK (Lotus)
Designer Niels Loeb and Martin Smith (Exterior)
Steven Crijns (Interior)[1]
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 2-door roadster
Layout Rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Platform Lotus Elise series 2 platform
Related Lotus Elise
Lynx GT[2]
Tesla Roadster
Powertrain
Engine 2.2 L Ecotec Z22SE
2.0 L turbo Ecotec Z20LET
1.3 L CDTI[3] (ECO Speedster)
Transmission Getrag F23 5-speed manual
5-speed Easytronic (ECO Speedster)
Dimensions
Kerb weight Speedster 870 kg (1,918 lb)
Speedster Turbo 930 kg (2,050 lb)
Chronology
Successor Opel GT

The Opel Speedster is a UK-built mid engined, targa-topped, 2-seater sports car from the German automaker Opel introduced in the summer of 2000.[4]

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 shared much in common with the Lotus Elise, yet Opel claimed few parts were interchangeable. Both cars are characterised by strong performance and sharp handling.

Joint Lotus development

The already developed Lotus Elise Series 1 was unable to be produced beyond the 2000 model production year due to new European crash safety regulations, and Lotus needed a development partner to meet the investment requirement.

The Lotus Elise S2/Opel Speedster design was based on the Elise chassis, modified to accept a General Motors engine in place of the Rover K-series engine used by the first Elise.

Design

Produced by Lotus at their Hethel, Norfolk factory, the Speedster 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 an 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 by Lotus, it arguably gives the Speedster 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-inch front wheels and 17-inch rear wheels. Opel decided to fit 17-inch wheels front and rear to the 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.

Production

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 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 Opel/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 Speedster, based on the turbo model, was tuned to give around 220 hp (164 kW; 223 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 the successor being the Opel GT (however not sold in the United Kingdom).

See also

References

External links

  • Opel Eco-Speedster Article

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