The new Vauxhall Astra VXR is destined to be a bit of a beast with a turbocharged 2.0 litre 280PS / 400Nm engine modified from the Insignia family.
The Astra VXR can accelerate from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds and will carry on to a top speed of 155mph. It features Start/Stop technology which has been introduced to help to reduce fuel consumption by 14 per cent (compared with the previous model). Official figures indicate a combined figure of 34.9mpg and CO2 emissions are 189g/km.
With that amount of power being driven through the front wheels this usually means torque-steer but Vauxhall have a few tricks up their sleeves for the VXR – it features a mechanical limited slip differential and as Vauxhall call it a ‘Clever’ HiPerStrut (High Performance Strut) front suspension to help with torque-steer. The system reduces front wheel camber changes during cornering and helps to filter out unnecessary torque-steer under heavy acceleration.
To whet the appetite the VXR features 19-inch alloy wheels fitted with 245/40 tyres, bespoke Brembo brakes, and ZF Sachs performance dampers, 30 per cent stiffer springs - which not only help with handling and power delivery - it lowers the VXR by 10 mm when compared to the 1.6T Astra GTC.
Vauxhall’s FlexRide adaptive damping system is standard on the VXRs. Drivers have the choice of three separate chassis settings which can be selected at the push of a button. ‘Standard’ delivers all-round performance for a wide range of road driving, with ‘Sport’ stiffening the dampers for reduced roll and tighter body control.
There is even a ‘VXR’ which is FlexRide’s most extreme mode. Not only does it enhance throttle responsiveness and change the instrument backlighting from white to red, but it alters the dampers settings once again. A ramp-control sub-mode further stiffens the dampers, but ensures that the wheels are in contact with the road instantly after hitting a bump. This means the car has a soft landing even when the springs on the struts rebound on an uneven surface. Meanwhile, the roll control sub-mode reduces tilt further during cornering.
The Astra VXR’s ESP (stability control) system offers three different modes. In its default mode, optimum safety is prioritised for everyday road conditions. ‘Competitive’ mode raises the threshold at which the automatic systems intervene, though when it senses a dangerous situation it will stabilise the car via the braking system. Finally, in ‘ESP-off’ mode, activated by pressing the button down for five seconds, the ESP system can be completely deactivated.
The Vauxhall VXR is due to go on sale July 2012, currently we do not have a guide price.Published 9 May 2012