Vauxhall Vectra VXR

The Frankfurt motor show is sure to be packed full of exotic performance machinery, but no other hatchback will be able to offer the performance of the new Vectra VXR. The new model, which makes its debut at the German show on 12th September, has a top speed of 161mph - faster than many other super-saloons which cost twice the price.

Using an all-new 2.8-litre V6 turbo producing a massive 255PS and 320Nm of torque (236lb ft), Vauxhall’s engineers have created the most powerful car in the class - and created a suitably dynamic big brother for the red-hot Astra VXR. With variable valve timing and a twin-scroll turbocharger, the V6 is supremely flexible too, taking the car from zero to 60mph in 6.6 seconds, and dispatching the 50-70mph sprint (in fifth gear) in just 7.6 seconds. A six-speed manual transmission is fitted as standard.

Using the heavily revised chassis of the new Vectra range as its base, the VXR has been tuned even further to handle the engine’s awesome power. A new evolution of Vauxhall’s acclaimed IDS-plus system is used, making the Vectra the first production car from a mainstream manufacturer to feature the latest generation electronic damping control - comparable systems are currently only available on a handful of low-volume supercars. The sophisticated system minimises body movements exceptionally quickly with the help of two separate processing modules. The result is a noticeable enhancement in body roll prevention and damper control while still maintaining the Vectra’s legendary ride comfort.

The brakes are the largest fitted to any production Vauxhall too, with massive 345mm diameter discs at the front, and 292mm at the rear. These provide ultra-powerful deceleration from high speeds and precise feel through the pedal.

When it came to designing the exterior, the stylists made the Vectra VXR look purposeful without being overly aggressive. The front end features a deeper front bumper incorporating the VXR trademark honeycomb mesh and a body coloured ‘V’’ grille which is unique to Vauxhall’s flagship performance models. At the rear, a subtle rear spoiler, pair of trapezoidal tailpipes and lowered bumper hint at the performance without being too ostentatious, while the side profile is accentuated with large 18-inch alloys. As with the Astra VXR, 19-inch rims will be available.

But the most irresistible part of the Vectra VXR will be the price. With an expected cost of well under £25,000, it aggressively undercuts far less powerful rivals from mainstream manufacturers while making so-called ‘prestige’ marques’ offerings look massively overpriced and underpowered.

Sales of the Vectra VXR hatchback will begin in November, and it is rumoured an estate version is under consideration, which could appear in the UK as early as spring 2006.

Published : 08/08/05 Author : Melanie Carter

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