Astra VXR 2.0 Turbo
GTC is the basis
of the latest Astra VXR the new
stablemate to other go-faster models
BASED ON the popular Astra GTC, the VXR version is actually a very different
car, both underneath and in its muscular body styling. Its most distinctive
aspect is the new tail treatment which, given its poke, is the view
most motorists will be seeing the most of.
But the tail is not the only eye-catching aspect of the new Astra VXR
it also features a lower front line, lower sills, flared arches, a more rounded
rear glasshouse and a 'duck-tail' boot treatment.
Particularly standout is the VXR's unique 'form and function' biplane rear window
spoiler with a carefully-designed small wing exerting downforce over
the more familiar spoiler on the back screen. Also
unique to the Astra VXR are the alloy wheels, tyres, seats, steering wheel and
new Astra VXR has been put on a diet 60kg of unsprung weight has been
shed and it also benefits from a new mechanical limited slip diff, sports
brakes, and new bushing and suspension.
only are the dynamic handling qualities improved by this serious weight saving,
but so too is performance and emissions making this latest generation
Astra VXR one of the most powerful three-door hatches you can buy.
This latest generation
Astra VXR is one of the
most powerful three-door
hatches you can buy...
It costs a cappuccino under £27,000 but it does come with FlexiRide adjustable
damping, selectable ESP, a digital entertainment system (that includes a USB,
iPod and Bluetooth connectivity) and LED rear lights.
For the record, the side skirts, biplane spoiler and 20-inch alloys are part
of the £995 Aero Pack (most early buyers have specified this option). Other
tempting extra-cost items include powered seats, SatNav (with SD card) and adaptive
The predominantly black 2+2 interior sports subtle changes to the steering wheel
and secondary switches, instruments and oddments room. And you can sit two in
the back although it's short on legroom for a third in the middle. The boot
is also of a useful size (380 litres) and increases when the seatbacks are folded
down (to 1,165 litres). And for long items there's a handy ski-hatch.
With an acceptable ride over bad surfaces and a practical load-carrying capability,
this new VXR will be sure to satisfy the enthusiastic VXR community along with
UK performance drivers and it helps that this most powerful Astra has
been honed on Germany's Nurburgring circuit. In addition, the mechanical LSD
was developed by a racing supplier and the alloys are shod with unique Pirelli
to improve overall economy (compared to the previous generation VXR) as well
as to minimise exhaust emissions, this new VXR has a standard-fit Stop-Start
powertrain and chassis changes are not only impressive where it matters
on the road but, critically, they have not destroyed the Astra for everyday
use. So long, that is, as you are cautious about pulling out or reversing because
there are major blind-spots.
And while the way the
power pours out in third
and fourth is most
impressive, it also
cruises quietly. Given its
155mph top speed and
5.9 second 0-60 time, the
overall fuel consumption
is a surprisingly good
Importantly, it looks the part of a rapid road car; and it feels sporting in
your hands and through the seat of your pants.
Better still, under the bonnet is a powerplant with class-leading pulling power
(295lb ft between 2,500 and 4,500rpm), both in the mid-range as well as in absolute
terms. Its responsiveness is down to a new kind of airflow sensor and refined
turbocharger, with a tuned exhaust note to enjoy.
And while the way the power pours out in third and fourth is most impressive,
it also cruises quietly. Given its 155mph top speed and 5.9 second 0-60 time,
the overall fuel consumption is a surprisingly good 29.1mpg (officially 34.9mpg
on the Combined Cycle).
Plus points are many, including the midrange pulling power from the turboed
2.0-litre, sharp steering, slick six-speed gearchange, strong brakes and supportive
new lightweight seats.
Not so easy to live with is the restricted visibility and the oppressively dark
interior. There's also some kickback through the wheel under strong acceleration
(not totally unexpected with 276bhp being put down through the front wheels!)
and occasional road noise over some surfaces.
Overall, though, the Astra VXR comes with a good equipment tally and for performance-per-pound
and smile-per-mile it's keenly priced Robin Roberts
Astra VXR 2.0 Turbo | £26,995
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-60mph: 5.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 29.1mpg
Power: 276bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2 189g/km