The son of seven-time world champion Michael is edging closer to an F1 drive
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£16,810 when new
A royal flush of dubious names for Vauxhall’s posh city car: Adam for the basic model, Adam Rocks for the crossover and now Adam Grand Slam: the warm hatch flagship. In Europe, it’s called Adam S, which is still the badge UK cars wear… The fastest Adam’s spec is easier to decipher. Stiffer suspension (no lower, interestingly) and 18-inch wheels enclosing Corsa VXR brakes are all standard. Deeper skirts and bumpers are well-judged; the lift-reducing rear wing, too. It looks pugnacious and planted, with spot-on stance and tons of charm. Too racy for the drivetrain, in fact.
Underwhelming power comes from Vauxhall’s thrashy 1.4-litre turbo motor, up 10bhp from lacklustre duty in the Corsa and Astra. It’s the Grand Slam’s weakest link – dull-sounding and ponderous. An equivalent Abarth 595 feels faster and sounds zingier. Braking is stupendous, the ride tolerable and the six-speed manual gearshift sweet. Negatives? The electric steering remains frustratingly numb and we don’t hold out much hope for the ‘bespoke UK set-up’ rectifying that. It’s grippy and chuckable, but does lack the crucial fizz factor that would help you justify splashing out £17k on a sporty Adam. Let alone explain that name.
£11,790 – £21,520
The 500 looks tempting and fun where so many cars in this segment are drab.
£15,685 – £31,655
The Mini is an excellent hatch, but does it have to be so grown up?
£9,125 – £25,585
This is the one they all need to watch out for. VW has finally got serious about the city car