Test driving one of only fifty: The Opel Adam S

2016-07-27 06:00
 The ADAM S is designed with performance in mind, and the external styling is not only aimed at aesthetics but also benefiting performance.                    PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The ADAM S is designed with performance in mind, and the external styling is not only aimed at aesthetics but also benefiting performance. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

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I HAVE been test driving vehicles for almost 10 years – and I cannot recall ever driving one of which there are only 50 being sold in the country.

So I was quite privileged to spend a week with the sassy, sporty Opel Adam S and it was a week spent trying – very hard – not to break any laws for speed violations.

So while I could not enjoy the delightful run it makes from 0 to 100km in 8.5 seconds, or see if it can actually reach the top speed of 210km/h, on any part of my mom’s taxi route, I could experience some of it while taking it out on the highway – and what a joy to hear the roar of pleasure the Adam S generates when you put your foot to the pedal.

In February Opel introduced the range-topping Adam S to South Africa. It completes the Adam line-up and is aimed at attracting young buyers who want a compact car with a performance-oriented personality.


The test vehicle’s racy form was complemented by its red colour with red-stitched leather accents all over the interior. Not to mention the red calipers clearly visible between the spokes of the 18-inch ‘Propeller’ wheels.

The Adam S is available in three distinctive ‘Twisted’ colour combos: Saturday White Fever, Shiny Rock and Red ‘n’ Roll. The first two have contrasting red roof and pillars, while the last has a slate grey upper section.

The Adam S is designed with performance in mind, and the external styling is not only aimed at aesthetics but also benefiting performance.

While the roof-coloured rear wing is not only aesthetically creating the sporty look, it is also functional as it adds 100 Newtons of rear downforce at speed (according to Opel).

A deeper front spoiler performs a similar role to the wing, adding downforce as speed increases to maintain the front/rear aerodynamic balance.

Performance tyres measuring 225/35/18 are fitted to the Adam S.


Having given it the mom’s taxi route test, I simply cannot not speak about the boot and cupholders. The boot is surprisingly spacious – not roomy – but big enough for four grocery bags and a school bag or two - at a push.

The back-seat passengers may not have a lot of legroom but even they have cupholders cleverly incorporated in the frame of the seat.

What fascinated me was the fact that even though this car is not your typical mom’s taxi (being a three-door sporty car), there was ISOFIX Child Seat Anchorage on the back seat for children’s car seats.

Most noticeable, and something that the real sporty car enthusiast will enjoy are the Recaro sport seats, which not only look sporty, but hug the occupants all the way from the lower thighs to the shoulders and help them to stay in position when the Adam S gets driven enthusiastically.

Standard equipment includes climate control, height and reach adjustable steering column, power windows, cruise control and a split/foldable rear seat for added practicality.

Smart technology such as Advanced Park Assist, Side Blind Spot Alert, Intellilink and Siri Eyes Free are some of the technologically advanced features that one would rarely find in a small car.


The aim of this column is not to go too much under the bonnet – if at all. But the type of person who is interested in this type of a car would like to know the specifics under the bonnet so, for their benefit, I will give the info as supplied by Opel on these technicalities.

According to Opel, with 110kW and 220Nm delivered by its turbocharged 1,4-litre Ecotec engine, and an unladen mass of 1 178kg, the Adam S delivers specific output exceeding 74 kW/litre.

The Adam S also has a stiffer front anti-roll bar and springs for improved driving dynamics. In addition, Opel has upgraded the brakes to the same specification as the previous-generation Corsa OPC - this means front discs measuring 308mm in diameter, grabbed by calipers with increased pad area.

The torsion beam rear axle has also been made more rigid, which along with the uprated springs provides sharper handling. With a wheelbase of just 2 311mm, the Adam has always been exceptionally agile, but the Adam S changes direction almost telepathically.

The powerplant boasts a host of high-tech features to achieve its 110kW/220Nm headline numbers, yet at the same time returns fuel consumption figures of just 5.9 litres/100 km with CO2 emissions of just 139 grams/km. The engine meets stringent Euro 6 emission standards, and is equipped with Stop/Start Eco setting.

The Opel Adam S reaches 100km/h in 8.5 seconds and will continue on to 210km/h. But it also impresses with great elasticity: it makes the transition for 80 to 120km/h in fifth gear in just 7.9 seconds.

For the ultimate in feel and feedback, the S allows the driver to deactivate the Electronic Stability Programme at the press of a button for even more spirited driving in, say, a circuit environment.

And in my own words . . .

It is a fun, funky and sporty car to drive and despite being a bit cramped for a mom and two children with plenty of school bags – and the inconvenience of only being a three-door, we enjoyed every minute of riding in this car – once we all got inside.

The high-tech features and sound system are great for those for whom in-car entertainment is important, not to mention the high-tech safety features, which often make me wonder how many years are we away from cars driving themselves without the driver having to think about anything other than putting his foot on the accelerator.

And for those who like the thrill of a car which moves and roars when you put your foot to the pedal, this car is certainly a delight and will never be dull to drive – even on the mom’s taxi route.


As part of Opel’s Complete Care package Adam S comes with a standard five-year or 120 000km warranty, roadside assistance, and three-year or 60 000km service plan.

The Opel Adam S will cost you R330 000 (Launch price in February 2016)


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