Opel's bonny little sports car plans to take on the mighty Peugeot 206 CC in the city poser race... Is the Tigra's cute styling and the option of a more "affordable model" enough to beat the Gallic mainstay into submission?Opel's bonny little sports car plans to take on the mighty Peugeot 206 CC in the city poser race... Is the Tigra's cute styling and the option of a more "affordable model" enough to beat the Gallic mainstay into submission?

The Opel Tigra TwinTop, with its retractable electro-hydraulic steel roof, is a true beauty queen. It was judged "Cabrio of the year 2004" by an international 11-member panel following its unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show last year.

The little two-seater is able to transform from a coupé into a cabriolet within 18 seconds at the mere touch of a button. Unfortunately, unlike many new models, the Tigra's roof cannot be operated while the car is in motion.

The roof design also allows for generous boot space of between 250 and 440 dm3. There is an additional 70-dm3 stowage area behind the rear seats that is accessible from the passenger area. With more than 500 dm3 of load space in all, the TwinTop offers the best space in its class.

The Tigra's fresh, young exterior features the now-familiar Opel face and bold, yet tasteful, styling all round, with chunky light clusters up front and at the rear, and metallic finishes on the grille.

The liberal use of metallic finishes in the cabin achieves a sports car look and feel. The cars are well-equipped, with power windows, heated electric side mirrors and lockable glove compartments with integrated cup holders on the standard list.

Customers have a choice of two models, the Tigra 1,8 Sport (R233 800) and and Tigra 1,4 Enjoy (R199 500), both equipped with Ecotec engines.

The entry-level Enjoy has a comprehensive feature list with height-adjustable leather covered steering wheel, height adjustable sport seats, fog lamps, ESP and four airbags are among the standard equipment.

Air-conditioning and an audio system with radio, CD player and MP3 player are included too. Importantly, the heated rear window is made of scratch-resistant glass.

The 1,8 Sport has additional items, including a full leather interior, aluminium pedals and matt chrome accents on the gearshift knob and park brake lever.

Another useful feature is the "follow-me-home" light function which keeps the headlights on for an extra 30 seconds after the doors have been closed.

The Tigra Enjoy is powered by a 1,4-litre Ecotec engine that produces 66 kW and uses Opel's Twinport technology to improve economy. The four-valve engine uses variable valve timing and a high rate of exhaust gas recirculation to reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 per cent in regular driving conditions. The engine uses an average of 6,1 litres of petrol per 100 km.

The 1,4 accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 12,4 seconds and is capable of a 180 - km/h top speed.

The 92 - kW 1,8-litre Ecotec engine uses a variable length intake manifold and accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in 9,4 seconds. It is capable of a top speed of 204 km/h. Opel claims an average fuel consumption of 7,7 litres per 100 km, as determined by its standard test procedures.

Both models are fitted with a five-speed manual transmission.

A DSA ( Dynamic Safety) chassis, with a low, wide design, along with a high torsional rigidity, contributes to the car's driving characteristics. Reinforced side sills and doors and strong cross members in the underbody ensure a rigid stance even when the roof is down.

ABS, ESP, and a two-stage brake booster with brake assist all help to keep the occupants as safe as possible. Passive safety equipment includes front and side airbags available for the two occupants, along with seatbelt pretensioners and belt-force limiters, Opel's pedal release system and height-adjustable head restraints.

The Tigra comes with an optional Opel Complete Motoring Plan, which covers all regular maintenance costs, including wear components such as the clutch and shock absorbers, over five years or 100 000 km. Tyres are excluded. An extension to the plan can be purchased. A three-year/100 000 km warranty is provided as standard, and a 24-hour roadside assistance service is available for the duration of the warranty period.

Service intervals of 15 000 km or one year are quoted for both models.

Original article from Car