Geneva 2012: Vauxhall Astra VXR

Vauxhall Astra VXR

Vauxhall has just announced details of its aggressive new Astra VXR. In coupé form they have stated clearly they want the VXR to tackle the Volkswagen Scirocco R and Renault Megane RS 250 head on.

Making a good start in that battle is the VXR’s 2.0 litre turbocharged engine which produces 280PS (206kW) and 400Nm. That’s more than either of the German or French weapons.

The Astra VXR is based on the GTC but has been tuned with a view to sharper performance. A mechanical limited slip diff (remember them) and Brembo brakes make the biggest contributions. Also tweaked is Vauxhall’s adaptive FlexRide system. A standard old Sport button is not enough for this car, it has a VXR button as well. Essentially they’ve turned the damper, throttle and steering control up to 11.

They’ve taken a similar approach with the wheels by running 20″ rims as standard. A more aggressive bodykit completes the look.

On paper and in pictures this Astra VXR sounds and looks quite appealing. If you like it, best start nagging Opel Australia and help them build a case to bring the car down under.

UPDATE: Thanks to the super attentive staff at Opel Australia we can share their hopes for the Astra VXR: “As an Opel (as opposed to a Vauxhall) it would be part of the OPC range. We won’t be bringing OPCs to Australia for our launch this year, however we are chasing it for next year—not confirmed yet but we are hopeful.” Sounds promising.

Vauxhall Astra VXR

Vauxhall Astra VXR

Vauxhall Astra VXR

Vauxhall Astra VXR

Vauxhall Astra VXR

Vauxhall Astra VXR
Vauxhall UK press release:

Vauxhall Astra VXR

  • UK pricing revealed + 0-60mph time
  • The most powerful production model in Astra’s 32-year history
  • 280PS and 400Nm of torque, with top speed of 155mph
  • Bespoke chassis with mechanical limited slip diff and Brembo brakes
  • Lightweight front bucket seats with prestigious ‘AGR’ health seal
  • On sale in UK in Spring; first deliveries this Summer

WORLD DEBUT: ASTRA VXR – UK PRICING ANNOUNCED FOR MOST POWERFUL ASTRA EVER

Vauxhall’s new Astra VXR will produce more power and torque than any car in its class and will achieve a sub 6-second 0-60mph time – quicker than any main rival – when it arrives in UK showrooms this summer.

Its keen UK pricing of £26,995 will undercut that of the less powerful Scirocco R, and will include a mechanical limited slip differential and 19-inch rims in its kit-list, neither of which is standard on either the VW or the Renault Megane Sport, the VXR’s other main competitor.

Vauxhall’s unique Lifetime Warranty will also provide first owners of the Astra VXR with the reassurance of comprehensive cover, for however long they own the car.

The UK will be the largest market for the Astra VXR and media will have the chance to see the wraps come off the first Vauxhall version at Geneva. Based on the GTC’s platform and powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct injection engine, the VXR produces 280PS and a mighty 400Nm of torque – 40-50Nm more than key rivals – enough for it to achieve a top speed of 155mph and accelerate from 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds.

But while the Astra VXR is based on the new GTC, it has benefited from a raft of bespoke chassis modifications, transforming it into a focused, high-performance coupe. Setting it apart from all other current Astras is a specially developed mechanical limited slip differential, which works on the front wheels. In conjunction with the GTC’s sophisticated HiPerStrut (High Performance Strut), the LSD provides the Astra VXR with exceptional lateral grip and traction through bends.

Further changes to the chassis include brakes developed by competition supplier, Brembo, and standard fitment of Vauxhall’s fully adaptive FlexRide system. In the Astra VXR, FlexRide features not only a Sport button, but a VXR button, offering drivers the choice of two, more focused stages of damper, throttle and steering control.

Much of the chassis sign-off was done at the Northern Loop (Nordschleife) of the Nürburgring, and was overseen by Le Mans 24-hour race winner, “Smokin’ Jo” Winkelhock. “We have devised a great package that will convince even the most experienced and enthusiastic drivers – and not just on the Nürburgring!” said Winkelhock.

Visual identifiers for the Astra VXR comprise a set of specially sculpted front and rear bumpers, side skirts, an aerodynamic roof spoiler and two exhaust tail pipes in a trapeze shape. There will also be the option of an Aero Pack (£995), which includes a Bi-Plane roof spoiler, extended side skirts and 20-inch forged bi-colour alloy rims. Inside, the VXR’s cabin gets bespoke light-weight performance seats with embossed logos in the backs, a flat-bottomed VXR steering wheel and upgraded instruments.

Vauxhall is opening UK order books today for the Astra VXR, and anticipates that customers will receive the first cars in July.