By Ben Pulman
First Official Pictures
04 November 2011 09:00
This is the new Vauxhall Astra VXR, a hot hatch from Luton offering the power of a Ford Focus RS for the price of a Ford Focus ST.
Just how powerful is the new Vauxhall Astra VXR?
A direct injection and turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine provides the power and torque, 276bhp and 295lb ft respectively. Top speed is 155mph, but while there’s no word on acceleration figures, the old-shape 236bhp Astra VXR hit 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds; bank on the new car running the benchmark sprint in the mid fives…
It looks pretty good too…
It does indeed. The three-door bodyshell on which it’s based is the rather gorgeous Astra GTC, and the VXR visual upgrades are much more cohesive and sedate than we’ve seen before. There’s a bigger front bumper, the diffuser-esque rear incorporates twin tailpipes, and there’s a black-tipped spoiler. Huge Brembo brakes provide the stopping power, and nestle behind 20in multi-spoke alloy wheels.
It’s down to two 245/35 ZR20 Pirelli P-Zero front tyres to transfer the power to the Tarmac, but to help matters there’s Vauxhall trick, torque steer-reducing HiPerStrut front suspension and a mechanical limited slip differential.
There are Sport and VXR buttons on the dash, which both offer more focussed settings for the throttle, steering and standard-fit FlexRide adaptive dampers.
Inside there are big bucket seats, VXR-specific trim and instrument upgrades, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and a gearstick without stitching so tough it hurts your hand to shift gear.
Prices have yet to be announced but it’ll cost less than £30,000 – reckon on around £28k. Orders books open in spring 2012, the first customer deliveries will be in summer next year, and if this is all a bit too much for you, we hear a five-door GSi with a circa 200bhp twin-turbo diesel will also go on sale next year too.