Scroll down to read a review or watch my video review here:

The Opel Adam was a car full of possibility when it was launched back in 2013. Adam was naturally good-looking, cute, infinitely customisable, and as it would turn out, can wear a body kit very well too.

Yet in terms of engines, the 1.4-litre, naturally aspirated petrol unit Adam was launched with didn’t do the car much justice. It lacked the character to match the superstar looks.

But the later arrival of the 115hp 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine heralded good times for Adam, as did the arrival of Opel Adam Rocks. It also happened to feel like a more sophisticated car on the road, with meatier steering and a more comfortable ride.

Opel has taken Adam a step further and keen to get away from the cutesy market, has launched something a bit more masculine. Say hello to the Opel Adam S, the hot hatch Adam you’ve been waiting for. Under the bonnet, there’s a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine pushing out 150hp. Adam S is a little guy so this should be a bit of a riot, right?

The 2016 Opel Adam S on review for Changing Lanes
The 2016 Opel Adam S on review for Changing Lanes

Tell us about this Opel Adam S.

Adam now looks like a bit of a lad, beefed up with a body kit, 18” alloys with red brake callipers and quite a lairy looking spoiler to create some downforce (!). Adam S is just as customisable as any other member of the Adam family. My test car (pictured) sported RednRoll roof and Forget About Grey body work.

Inside it’s all familiar Adam with a few sporty additions. Adam S comes as standard with the Red Your Engine interior pack, and some gorgeous Recaro buckets seats are available as a €2000 option. It all feels quite upmarket, and the quality and fit is very good.

Adam S has a satisfying little growl as it idles and you can really feel the pull of the engine as you move off. The new powerplant has 220Nm of torque. It will propel the Adam S to 100kmh from a standstill in 8.5 seconds and go on to a top speed of 210kmh. The performance figures are quite modest, but Adam S always feels lively and engaging.

As well as the extra power, the car has a stiffer sports suspension and uprated brakes. There’s loads of grip from those big wheels and the steering has a weighty, sporty feel to it. So you can really push Adam S through corners and the back follows the front with very little in the way of body roll.

The interior of the 2016 Opel Adam S
The interior of the 2016 Opel Adam S

Driving the Opel Adam S

There is compromise in terms of ride quality. It’s firm and there is quite a bit of a bouncing sensation as the suspension reacts to the surface of the road. The other compromise I see with this car is the road noise, which drones at high speeds on the motorway. Running costs for this sporty Adam will also be higher than your average city car. The Adam S qualifies for motor tax of €280 per year and will return up to 48mpg.

Adam S has a hefty price tag of €20,750 considering the car’s size. The whole Adam range is aimed at the style conscious buyer and space has never been a strong point. There’s just 170 litres of boot space. It will take your weekly shop just don’t try moving house with the car. Rear seating space is also limited.

Yet the blow is softened by the fact that this is a well-built little car. It also comes as standard with Opel OnStar, air con, electric windows and mirrors, trip computer, Bluetooth, cruise control, LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights. And of course the aforementioned big wheels and other visual updates. Opel’s Intellilink infotainment system is available as an option as part of the Technical Pack with parking sensors for €750.

Is the Opel Adam S any good?

Adam S is relevant and fills the gap for a small hot hatch in the Adam range. The car is quick, fun, handles well and there is a lot of power on offer here for just under €21,000. The problem is that you are compromised here on space and comfort, which means the car doesn’t appear as the best value. Especially when you have the likes of the SEAT Ibiza Cupra lurking for just about €2000 extra, with more space and more power.

But like the rest of the Adam family, you buy these cars for their unique looks and image. And there are few that can match Adam S for that! So if you love the look of little Adam but fancy him a bit more with a body kit and extra potency under the bonnet, well it’s easy. Adam S is your man.

The Opel Adam S is expensive but epic fun
The Opel Adam S is expensive but epic fun

Caroline Kidd

Model Tested: Opel Adam S
Price: 
€20,750 (Adam range starts at €15,795)
Engine: 
1.4-litre turbo petrol
Power: 
150hp
0-100km/h:
8.5 seconds
Economy: 
48mpg
CO2 Emissions: 
139g/km
Motor Tax: 
B2 (€280 per year)