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Opel Calibra 2.0 16V and VW Corrado G60: The heirs of Manta and Scirocco

Frank Herzog
Opel Calibra 2.0 16V and VW Corrado G60
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They are hardly noticeable in the street scene, many people understand VW Corrado and Opel Calibra still so disdainful utility vehicles, at best a little dusty. But hard to believe, both have come of age. The unforgettable predecessors, Manta and Scirocco, are long on the way to becoming classics. But in contrast to these, the offspring, presented in 1988 (VW Corrado) and 1990 (Opel Calibra), still have a certain adjustment process ahead of them. Like its predecessors, the C-Class from Volkswagen and Opel had made a great contribution to the well-being of the car accessories industry. As a result, many O pel Calibra and VW Corrado on the way, some of which are built in the most adventurous way.

Original Corrado and Calibra are rare

The usual VW Corrado conversion styles are more aimed at the brilliant appearance on Saturday nights. This includes wide fenders, super-wide high-gloss rims, mega subwoofers and all sorts of nice interior accessories, preferably in a glossy and glittery disco style. The Opel Calibra , on the other hand, tends to make the most of it - Bude: Sills, aprons and large spoilers ensure the wide and massive appearance, the crowning glory is the exhaust in the format of a stovepipe.

If you want to get an original copy of one of these large-series coupés, you have to search for a while. In the case of the Opel Calibra, there is also the fact that many examples, which makes it by no means the only Opel of its era, weren't exactly built to last in terms of rust prevention. Gradually, however, a loyal lover scene is developing, which values ​​originality and good maintenance. The proportion of blown up VW Corrado and Opel Calibra the total stock is therefore slowly decreasing again, the prices for good original cars are starting to rise.

Still surprisingly modern today

The encounter with the mass-produced coupés - in the special case of a 1991 VW Corrado G60 and a 1992 Opel Calibra 2.0i 16V, both in original condition and like peeled from the egg - has something both pleasant and unexciting about it. It's like meeting up with good friends you've lost sight of for a few months. Everything is still very familiar - in comparison, the thought of Manta and Scirocco has a bit of memories of distant school days. Both VW Corrado and Opel Calibra work surprisingly modern even today. Both radiate agility, but the aggressive look of current competitors, with greedy cool mouths and an evil xenon look as standard, is alien to them. However, the two are quite different. The VW Corrado is rather compact and beefy, but on closer inspection it reminds a little of the Golf from the same company.

The Opel Calibra, on the other hand, almost half a meter longer, can hide the relationship to the good Opel Vectra on whose technical basis it was developed. With its long wheelbase and flat, elongated shape, it almost looks a bit American. The drag coefficient of 0.26 for the base Calibra 2.0i and 0.29 for the 2.0i 16V was a small sensation at the time.

Calibra with super-flat ellipsoid headlights

The wind slippage was made possible, among other things, by the use of the just seven centimeter high headlights in ellipsoid technology. Because they made it possible to make the front of the vehicle extremely flat. The Corrado, on the other hand, relied on classic objectivity with conventional headlights in brick format and a rectangular radiator grille. The front end is accordingly clear, while the Opel hip flask gives you an idea of ​​where it ends at the front when parking. Incidentally, it doesn't look much better in the rear view. But if you want to park comfortably, you should choose a Corsa or Polo anyway.

Both coupés can be moved dynamically

The two coupés want to be off the leash in the open be left. The fact that this is a real joy is due in no small part to the engines. Neither the VW Corrado G60 nor the Opel Calibra 2.0i 16V were the top-of-the-range engines on offer. The VW was also available with a 190 hp VR6, at Opel a 204 hp two-liter turbo marked the end of the flagpole in terms of performance. But the lively 160 PS in the VW Corrado and 150 PS in the Opel Calibra prove to be completely sufficient to move around 1,200 kilos of car in a refreshingly dynamic manner.

That the VW Corrado has a displacement of just 1.8 liters is hard to believe. The G60 is already marching alonglow speed vigorously and with a restrained sporty sound. It owes its surprising pulling power to the use of a spiral compressor, by means of which the old two-valve engine, which originally set the GTI Golf of the 80s going, is forced to ventilate.

With 225 Nm, the comparatively powerful torque of the VW Corrado (Opel Calibra: 196 Nm) accommodates a shift-lazy driving style - if nothing else, because the cable shift installed by Volkswagen at the time was not exactly precise and crisp. Those who fail to pay the necessary attention will quickly be punished with ugly scraping from the switch box. The phenomenon is not reliably eliminated even if the Corrado comes from the workshop with a freshly adjusted gearshift mechanism. A tip on the side: The automatic transmission offered at the time in the VW Corrado should go surprisingly well with the powerful G60.

Opel Calibra is weaker, but just as fast

The nominally somewhat weaker drive in the somewhat heavier Opel Calibra enables, objectively speaking, approximately the same performance. This motor is also quite powerful and can also be moved lazily. But it does not achieve the almost brawny VW Corrado G60 character. On the other hand, the Opel engine lends a lot more power above around 4,000 tours with a robust four-cylinder sound. The lively character almost seduces you to a sporty driving style with frequent gear changes.

The gear can be operated quickly and precisely. The fifth and last level, unlike other Opel models from this time, is designed as a real driving gear and not as a gentle gear. In terms of driving behavior, the Opel Calibra gives a somewhat more sedate feeling compared to the Corrado. The compact VW Corrado is almost like a go-kart that yearns for fast and tight corners. The long Lulatsch from Opel, on the other hand, looks a bit like a cozy sedan that makes you look sporty. The operation is not a mystery here or there: The Corrado is almost a Passat, the Calibra a Vectra.

Good sense of space in both Volks-Coupés

After a few meters of getting used to it, everything goes like clockwork. Both spoil you with a surprisingly generous feeling of space, even in the second row. However, rear passengers should have a certain flexibility for getting in and out and be able to cope with the not exactly ample headroom. Even in the trunk (300 liters each) it's not too tight. Those interested in Corrado should know, however, that vehicles built from 1992 onwards are equipped with a 70- instead of 55-liter tank and that the luggage compartment volume has been reduced to 235 liters in return. For those who might not really like them up to now: VW Corrado and Opel Calibra are two honest types that offer good value for the money.

The purchase prices are - still - quite moderate. Even with the respective basic engine, the chauffeur is sufficiently brisk. The technology is problem-free, and the maintenance is cheap. Unnecessary frills such as multimedia on-board computers or seat hydropneumatics with umpteen memory functions are missing, you can fully concentrate on driving. Nice detail on the side: the Opel Calibra we drove even had real window cranks.


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