From now until the end of 2003 Vauxhall will introduce, across the range, four all-new diesel engines with power outputs up to 177 hp. The launch of Eco-Speedster marks the start of this new emphasis on diesel power. It demonstrates how lightweight aerodynamic bodywork and a new 1.3 litre CDTI common-rail diesel engine can achieve an impressive top speed combined with fuel consumption that will make cardigan wearers everywhere drop their pipes in amazement.

During initial testing the 112 hp concept car reached a maximum speed of more than 155 mph while fuel consumption on the combined cycle was an incredible 113 mpg.

The prototype is based on the mid-engined VX220 but features new carbon fibre bodywork with improved aerodynamics. With significantly reduced drag (Cd = 0.20) and even lower weight (reduced to 660 kg), the Eco-Speedster takes up where another Vauxhall prototype left off 30 years ago.

On 1 June, 1972, at sister company Opel’s Dudenhofen proving ground, a modified Opel GT with a 95 hp 2.1 litre turbo-diesel power unit made the headlines by setting several world records for diesel engines while reaching a top speed of 123 mph.

The performance of Vauxhall’s new compact ECOTEC 1.3 CDTI engine is particularly impressive. The all new diesel uses the latest generation multi-jet common-rail fuel injection, four valves per cylinder and variable-geometry turbocharger. The four-cylinder engine, a manifestation of the first joint venture from FIAT-GM Powertrain, is scheduled to make its production debut in 2003 and will meet Euro 4 emission limits. In the Eco-Speedster it is mated to Vauxhall’s Easytronic automated manual transmission, as fitted to the Corsa.

Vauxhall managing director Kevin Wale said: "The Eco-Speedster is the symbol of our comprehensive diesel offensive and at the same time demonstrates the engineering expertise of Vauxhall in powertrains, lightweight design and aerodynamics. Until the end of 2003 we will present a number of new, state-of-the-art diesel engines with a range of power outputs, low weight and moderate fuel consumption."