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Audi S1 ​​vs. Mini JCW vs. Corsa OPC: three little ones with a mighty fire

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Audi S1 ​​vs. Mini JCW vs. Corsa OPC
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D he temptation is great. All three small cars certainly provide reasons to make fun of them - even apart from the opulent rear wings. Mini sends the JCW with converter automatic transmission to the test, with the Opel Corsa OPC the electronic stability control can be deactivated and switched off, which, curiously, is not the same, and Audi painlessly puts the abbreviation on the tailgate with which a Group B rally - Animal achieved world fame. But it would be a mistake to make fun of the trio, a big one on top of that.

For example the Opel Corsa OPC. Yes, the Corsa starts with a not inconsiderable performance deficit, but the 207 hp four-cylinder only has to move 1,262 kilograms. The 1.6-liter engine itself does not idle around for long in the lower rev range, instead it hurries off busily, developing its power evenly. But the maximum torque of 280 Newton meters is only available at 1,900 rpm? That's right, but the build-up of strength is surprisingly homogeneous. Just as astonishing: The somewhat dull sound, when the Remus specialists are contributing the exhaust system.

Opel Corsa OPC loves the country road hunt

Despite the dedicated turbo engine, there is no lack of clap during the acceleration measurements . To do this, the Opel Corsa OPC turns on as soon as its large cool mouth senses curves. He rushes into it with determination, the direct steering practically finds the turn-in point by itself and remains precise and free of influences even when cornering. And the rest of the OPC? It sweeps across the country quickly and neutrally, although it allows slightly more pronounced body movements than the Audi S1 ​​and Mini JCW, which does not prevent it from making good speed. Above all, he is helped by his very safe, bitch-free driving behavior, which manifests itself in disdainful figures in a very high speed level in slalom and double lane changes. However, the control electronics prevent faster slalom cuts as they believe that they have to intervene early and rigidly due to the tendency to roll. If you switch it off (press the button very long, then it is 'switched off'. The status 'deactivated', however, means later interventions), the Opel Corsa OPC steps around the pylons at 70.1 km /h. However, the measured value without ESP is not included in the assessment - but how easy the Opel Corsa OPC makes it for its driverto be on the move quickly.

The well-coordinated steering has already been mentioned, but not the excellent Recaro seats. Perfect fit, relentless lateral support - great, but mounted too high. In addition, there are neatly legible round instruments, and that's all the driver really needs. But maybe he is still happy that he could take the most luggage with him in comparison and that fellow travelers wouldn't wail because they didn't have enough space. This can happen in the Mini JCW, because regardless of its growth during the last model change, it still rightly bears its name, at least in this environment.

In return, the Mini JCW swallows its pilot as soon as he gets in, and still places him in a special place close to the asphalt, he immediately pushes the little steering wheel into his hands. Let's go, drive, now, immediately. It might take a moment to find your way around the playful interior. Only the multimedia operation works immediately due to the simple, iDrive-like operation. But where was the tachometer? Oh there, on the far left, this little crescent moon with the tiny digits. Well, one could argue that, given the automatic transmission in the Mini JCW, it seems unnecessary anyway.

Automatic brakes the Mini JCW

But the six stages can also be flipped through manually, preferably using a paddle on the steering wheel, as information about the working speed of the 231 hp two-liter engine certainly doesn't do any harm. Instead, the gearshift light appears to be dispensable, which can be inserted into the border of the huge instrument cluster in the middle. Incidentally, the transmission itself cannot be blamed, because it changes gears gently and quickly or less gently and even more quickly, as required.

Thus, it helps to skillfully portion the maximum torque of 320 Newton meters, whatever is under expresses itself in the lowest consumption values. Still: no manual transmission in sight? Yes, this variant is also in the price list (1,850 euros cheaper), but is currently not available. In any case, the automatic does not prevent the Mini JCW from scurrying across the country in a rather exuberant manner - and therefore not quite as fast as the Opel Corsa OPC. I beg your pardon? Well, precisely because the Mini JCW tends to work with the rear, either the electronics feel it is their duty to step in, or the driver takes off the gas.

Yes, the Mini JCW drives more spectacularly than the Opel Corsa OPC, which is so incredibly much more direct than the Audi S1, takes you into its world of show and effects. Especially with quick changes of direction, the twitching tail costs speed, but lifts the mood if the pilot has poured a good dose of reactivity into the coffee in the morning. Incidentally, it doesn't matter whether theDampers work with the standard or sport characteristic. The character of the Mini JCW remains the same, the hardness changes, robs it of the otherwise decent suspension comfort.

Audi S1 ​​prefers to drive straight ahead quickly

Somehow they forgot that with the Opel Corsa OPC (there is even an even harder chassis in the surcharge list), and even the Audi S1 ​​slips a bit here, because it loses itself in noticeable vertical movements in rough waves. Unimportant? Yes, well, after all, the best overall package should win. So further: The Audi S1 ​​likes to move not only in a vertical direction, but also in a horizontal direction, preferably around its own axis - at least quite a bit. As in previous test cars, the facelifted Audi S1 ​​likes to go wild, namely when it is forced into a curve too stormily and the right foot suddenly becomes light at the apex.

Anyone who sows the wind in this way reaps an angry load change storm, the Audi S1 ​​then sweeps across the curve like this. Now don't lose heart, but bravely step on the gas, because then the electronically controlled all-wheel drive shovels all power forward and pulls the small car straight again. Is that still funny? Actually not anymore, because on the one hand that costs time, on the other hand, the Audi S1 ​​cannot be driven sideways in a consistently controlled manner - at least on dry roads. There he fights in vain against the Opel Corsa OPC and Mini JCW, but the order clearly changes when wet. At most the Opel Corsa OPC might still keep up if the limited-slip differential, which is subject to a surcharge, had been installed in the test car. The Audi S1 ​​can certainly use the two driven axles, after all, its turbo engine unleashes the most torque with 370 Newton meters.
However, the four-cylinder does not pinch at high engine speeds either, it loosely twirls just above 6,000 rpm, trumpeting deep and muffled, more emotional than the Opel Corsa OPC, although not quite as much as the lively exhaust-popping Mini JCW. Nevertheless: A fantastic power plant with insane pressure, perfectly combined with an easily and precisely shiftable six-speed gearbox - a pairing that helps the Audi S1 ​​to achieve the best acceleration values.

The Audi S1 ​​drives straight ahead quickly and spectacularly around the corner. But otherwise? It is elegantly furnished, easy to use on top of that, but only furnished with moderately comfortable seats that offer little lateral support - and it delivers moderate braking performance. In particular, the premium-exempt Opel Corsa OPC is much earlier, nibbling eleven points in the cost chapter from the lead of the all-round talented Mini JCW. But regardless of the order: You shouldn't make fun of any of the three hot little ones.

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