Hardcore VXR version of new three-door Astra spied in winter testing
8 March 2011

Development of Vauxhall’s new three-door Astra has shifted to Scandinavia ahead of its launch at the Frankfurt motor show in September. The firm hopes the VXR model pictured here will outscore Renaultsport’s benchmark Mégane 250 hot hatchback on power, handling and coupé-like styling.

The next-gen VXR will get around 50bhp more, taking its power output to just shy of 300bhp, and will also feature a UK-honed and track-developed chassis designed to give it circuit performance to match that of the highly rated Renault, and take on Ford’s forthcoming four-pot Focus ST.

Vauxhall looks set to its stated intention of keeping the hot version of the forthcoming three-door Astra — likely to be badged GTC — as close as possible to the extreme looks of the Paris motor show concept that previewed the new model.

This style-focused attitude is likely to transfer to the entire production GTC range, not just the VXR — but the high-performance variant will get a heavily modified chassis over its more mundane stablemates. “This VXR will be much more extreme and hardcore than the old one,” an insider told Autocar. “It’s being designed to offer a track-day experience far beyond the outgoing model’s.”

Full story: Vauxhall Astra VXR uncovered

One of the key elements in this is the removal of the old VXR’s electronic ‘artificial limited-slip differential’ and the use instead of a mechanical Quaife-type unit. This will be mated to HiPerstrut front suspension, a set-up not dissimilar to a double wishbone layout that has proven successful on the Insignia in providing steering feel and accuracy, but minimising torque steer.

The GTC is expected to appear in production form at the Frankfurt show in September and will go on sale early next year. The VXR will follow around six months later; a debut at next year’s Geneva show is likely, with cars in showrooms by summer 2012.

See all the latest Vauxhall Astra reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Astra 2009-2015
The Astra is now in its sixth incarnation, but it can trace its linage back to 1963's Viva

The Vauxhall Astra is one of the best-looking hatchbacks, but average dynamics and performance hamper its overall appeal

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  •  Kia Optima PHEV
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    Plug-in hybrid Optima is a practical, tax-efficient PHEV that undercuts rivals and fulfils its main remit well, but keen drivers need not apply
  • Kia Optima Sportwagon
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    New Kia estate looks the part, has good space and handles tidly, but its engine's flexibility and refinement let it down
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder
    First Drive
    24 August 2016
    Awful driving position aside, drop-top Huracán handles UK roads well. It's more dynamically rounded than its rangemates, but lacks rivals' handling bite
  • Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel
    First Drive
    23 August 2016
    Its predecessor may have been a bit limp, but the Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel is crushingly rapid and suitably luxurious
  • Car review
    23 August 2016
    Can the best sports coupé of the decade absorb a contentious new engine?