I bought the car privately, with confidence as it had a full Volkswagen service history: all the stamps in the right places (even has the original first aid kit, don't think I'll be using that). Four days later the cam-belt snapped, and upon inspection by the dealer the tensioner had (apparently) seized up, so the cam belt fell off. Since this was not a product fault it was not covered under the warranty, which means instead of being free they quoted me £1300. I ended up taking it to a Volkswagen specialist for £780, and they did a great job. I have relatives who work in dealer garages and they say if they didn't get employee discount, they would take their cars elsewhere. I have learnt a lesson here: a service history is great in any form, but I would prefer one form a recognized garage or specialist than the dealer, as they do exactly the same work for less money, and more honesty due to a reputation to uphold and a customer base to expand. At the dealer you pay for the flowers, the glass showrooms and all the salesman to stand around nattering.
Its back now and running lovely. I have always wanted a Volkswagen Corrado and have searched for one for months. Most were ill treated examples: rusty, no history, tatty interiors and noisy engines. Then I found the aqua blue pearlesant version with leather interior and full electric pack, in excellent condition for the year (1991).
I am not at all disappointed with the car. Many reviews have said the engine is not powerful enough for such a heavy car, but if you look at the specifications its relatively light at 1100Kg and with 137Bhp as standard the power to weight ratio is better than for example the Vauxhall Calibra 2.0 16v and many others. Obviously it's not as fast as the VR6, but again statistically speaking it is in fact its next of kin, being faster than both the 2.0 versions and the G60 due to less weight. It's also in a lower insurance group, 15 as opposed to 17 and 20 for the others.
All the designs are the same between the models so the handling is excellent, it nails itself to the road on straights and corners, and feels extremely stable in all conditions. There is virtually no body roll around corners, and the electric spoiler does make a difference down the motorway (goes up at about 40mph, down about 10mph).
Acceleration is good, 0-60 in between 8 and 9 sec depending on its condition. It's plenty impressive if you have been driving a 1.4 like me, but maybe not so good if comparing to the VR6, but you get what you pay for. Tends to be reserved below 3500rpm, but what 16v isn't. After that it opens up with an amazing roar, I would never put a loud exhaust on, just a stainless trim, as it would mask that great sound. Only gripe on performance is the way the front end pitches up under hard acceleration, feels like you might take off, but its nothing major.
Fuel consumption isn't bad for a 1.8; £35 of fuel gets me about 300 miles depending on how it's driven.
Bodywork is in excellent condition for a 12 year old car, with a great shine when polished. I was lucky to find one that has been garaged allot, I hear the red ones fade badly. Only problem is the front end and wheel arches are prone to stone chips due to the square design. However I would sooner have an original paint job with stone chips than a cheap re-spray that doesn't match properly. Stones also have a habit of attacking the lights.
Interior is in excellent condition also. It's leather (rare for the 1.8) and has no rips etc, just rubbing wear on side of driver's seat where you get in and out. Instruments all work perfectly and all the controls feel solid and secure. There are a few rattles about, but I think it's just the leather rubbing. I have a gray and black interior, which can feel a bit gloomy, but so does all black like in most cars. Just needs a bit of lightening up with after market gear knob etc. Seats are comfortable, it's got an average boot, and the rear will fit 2 adults, but not 3 due to the separated bucket style seats.
Standard Alloys are terrible, although a generous 15". Get some 17" and lowering springs on and that's all you need to do. It's a lovely looking car and gets many looks, more of an individual muscular design than the run off the mill curvy stuff about these days.
I haven't had it long enough yet to comment on its reliability, but no problems so far. All electrics work fine except for the sunroof which tilts, but doesn't slide (a common problem I hear). As far as I can see from the service history the only work done has been the regular services and consumables like oil and tires etc, which indicates good reliability.
It is a car I plan to keep for many years, and if maintained well will hold its value due to the rareness of decent ones about. You have got to want one to have one: it's not new, its not perfect and there are probably better and faster cars about for the money, but you either want one or you don't. Buy a good one with service history and never look back! If you can afford it, get the VR6 though! Join the UK VW Corrado club website for good hints and tips and information on corrados in general.