Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday – Opel Zafira OPC Turbo

Zafira OPC in signature blue.

Imagine a MPV turbo Cobalt in smurf blue and you have a rough idea of what the Opel Zafira OPC is. Right, next article… No, wait. It’s actually a fairly worthwhile prospect.

Relatively out of the blue (hur hur), Opel cooked together a performance product line, called the OPC or Opel Performance Center. Opel combined with Performance would in my mind mean the cars would actually perform, as in starting, not breaking down, not rusting prematurely… so more like a properly assembled product line in comparison to the Ordinarily Poor Craftmanship that was an Opel hallmark back in the ’90s. But for Opel, the idea here was to slap an interesting paint shade on a non-interesting car, decorate the interior with Recaro goodness and mount a turbo on the engine. That’s fine by me, so let’s have a closer look at this fast family hauler.

Power on the Zafira OPC came from a two-litre 200hp Z20LER turbo engine, lifted verbatim from the Astra Bertone Coupé and also fitted in the Opel Speedster, which in turn was based on the Lotus Elise. Arguably, the Speedster was a better home for it, but one should probably view it from the angle that it gave an Ikea customer the ability to enjoy something sporty in his Expedit hauler – even if all it really was was a GM Ecotec with some grunt bolted on.

The yellow accent curve on the OPC logo is possibly meant to evoke memories of the DTM-specified Calibras from ten years earlier; those were white with a yellow flash on the side, and special trimmings. I think fondly of the Calibra; it was a nice design and despite not being a very good car, they were built in Finland and thus can not be freely mocked. Even if their rear wheelarches rusted in about five days from delivery.

I’m being partially unfair here, as OPC does actually handle all Opel’s official motorsport work in Europe, and it’s quite prominent in touring car racing. And for Vauxhall, the cars are much the same but OPC badges are replaced with VXR ones.

The bodywork on the Zafira OPC benefitted from a wider bodykit. It’s in no way a sleek car, but in electric blue it nicely stands out at the parking lot, if you are in any way Opel-inclined. The wheel trims here are relatively random throwaway ones, and replace the usual snowflake wheels for the winter.

Inside, in addition to the Recaro seats, there’s a two-tone, three-spoke steering wheel and white dials.

In closing: my opinion is not that out of all possible 10k EUR used MPV:s you should pick the Zafira OPC, but rather that if you absolutely have to have a Zafira, make it the OPC for sanity’s sake. The regular Zafira will bore you out of your skull, but this will at least have some torque steer to keep you busy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here