Don’t come to the Geneva Motor Show if you’re a hot hatch fan. You’ll only come to realize just how many of these pint-sized powerboxes we don’t get on the Western side of the Atlantic. And lucky Europeans are about to get another one with this week’s debut of the Opel Adam S.
Yes, Opel. The struggling brand that General Motors was ready to walk away from a few years back has scored a surprising hit with the little Adam model it debuted little more than 18 months ago and now it’s adding a bit more performance hoping to build even more momentum.
Also debuting in right-hand-drive configuration as the Vauxhall Adam S, Geneva sees the launch of a very thinly disguised production model that will deliver a solid 150 horsepower out of its 1.4-liter turbo-four engine. That’s an impressive 110 horsepower per liter. And the pocket rocket gets 50% more horsepower and 70% more torque, at 162 pound-feet, than the naturally aspirated 1.4-liter version of the Adam.
The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and is promised to deliver an Autobahn-ready top speed of nearly 140 mph.
The turbo I-4 features dual cam phasing and continuously variable valve timing. And while it sticks with a cast iron block, Opel engineers took a number of steps to reduce weight, including adopting a hollow frame structure and hollow-cast camshifts. The Adam S also gets mileage-boosting Start/Stop technology.
This isn’t just a straight-line machine. Opel claims to have beefed up the suspension to give it the handling needed on windy European roads.
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The Adam S, meanwhile, is shod with 18-inch alloy wheels – just big enough, it turns out, to handle the car’s oversize brakes – a full 16-inch rotors up front and 15s in the rear.
A rear spoiler helps improve aerodynamics and add a bit of down-force. The Opel Adam S also gets a few fascia tweaks to give it a bit more menace when shooting up in your rearview mirror. Disappointingly, those apparent carbon fiber accents, such as the mirror caps, are just faux.
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And the red accented cabin gets not only a unique red steering wheel and shifter but also some nicely supportive Recaro seats.
Other added details include LED running and taillamps, an electronic climate control and the IntelliLink infotainment system that includes Siri Eyes Free for those with the appropriate Apple iOS device.
Opel is referring to the Adam S as a “close-to-production” model, so expect to see it in showrooms soon. Make that European showrooms. Those of us across the big ditch will just have to sigh.