2004 Opel Speedster Turbo
Call it a marriage of convenience that produced a worthy heir to the Opel’s last sportscar, the slinky GT of the 1970s. Lotus, producer of the small mid-engined Elise, needed an influx of cash to help update the car to meet crash standards. Opel (and their British counterpart, Vauxhall) were in the mood to produce a sportscar. The resulting S2 Elise, Speedster, and VX220 models shared Lotus’ excellent and extraordinarily light extruded aluminum chassis (the Speedster weighs barely more than a ton, one of the lightest road-cars in modern times), and benefitted from Lotus’ suspension design and tuning. Yet, the Speedster looks much different than the Elise, and utilizes a different engine—Opel’s excellent 2-liter turbocharged engine, derived from the GM corporate Ecotec series of motors. With 197 horsepower on tap, the Speedster is very, very quick, taking just 12 seconds to crest 100 mph. For the cost of admission, there are very few cars that can outperform the Speedster Turbo in a straight line or in a corner.