Next Astra VXR set up for British roads; mechanical differential likely

Vauxhall/Opel has turned to British roads - and Lotus's engineering division - to fine-tune the forthcoming Astra VXR for UK buyers.

Most development work on the next-generation three-door Astra, likely to carry the badge GTC, has been conducted around Opel's traditional engineering base in Germany.

See Autocar's exclusive pics of the Astra GTC

However, for the high-performance version of the car, which is expected to have between 280bhp and 300bhp, the firm is said to have turned to the chassis experts at Lotus for assistance. It's not the first time that Lotus has worked on a hot Astra; it was widely recognised as a strong influence over the set-up of the previous VXR.

Official confirmation of the involvement is unlikely to be forthcoming, however, since it is said to have been conducted on a consultation basis.

Read more on the next Vauxhall Astra VXR

While the old VXR had an electronic 'limited-slip differential' system, Vauxhall/Opel is said to be switching the next version of the car to a mechanical set-up. It's likely that one of Lotus's main missions will have been to tune this set-up, aiming to reduce torque steer. The car is also likely to get the Hyperstrut front suspension that was developed for the Insignia VXR.

The new VXR will arrive at roughly the same time as the regular three-door Astra - but that's not expected to be until the end of next year.

See all the latest Vauxhall Astra reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

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

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Comments
13

26 October 2010

*awaits the usual negative views from autocars badge snob members*

26 October 2010

[quote VX220EDDIE]*awaits the usual negative views from autocars badge snob members*[/quote]

Ditto. Probably something along the lines of Ford and Renault didn't need Lotus' help for their RS and megane so why do Vauxhall for the astra.

26 October 2010

[quote Autocar]have turned to the chassis experts at Lotus for assistance[/quote]

Well, TBH, they always did. Apart from the obvious, the VX220 and the Lotus Carlton, the VXR Astra's had their chassis' tuned by Lotus.

The problem comes in that the penny pinching accountants at Vauxhall HQ then take all that kit off, replace it with something cheaper and offer the Lotus stuff as optional extras!

People then slate the Vauxhall's for not handling that well....

26 October 2010

Hot Opels need Lotus assistance for good reason. Both previous Astra and Vectra OPC had terrible understeer and torquesteer...

26 October 2010

If the Lotus input makes the car better at handling and removes the main hassle of torque steer which seemed to effect the old VXR, then good on Vauxhall.

26 October 2010

Just wonder what the "premium increase" will be for this badging? Still, much needed assistance I think - hopefully it will be a great choice of car.

To live is to drive

26 October 2010

"It's not the first time that Lotus has worked on a hot Astra; it was widely recognised as a strong influence over the set-up of the previous VXR."........ lets hope they do a better job this time!!! previous vxr was like trying to control a rottwieler on steroids!!! torque steer aplenty with massive understeer too.love the look of it tho!!!!!

26 October 2010

Hangon where has all this come from, if the previous VXR had any input from Lotus and it still handled like it did I'd like to know what Vauxhall wasted their money on?! It was the worst handling hot hatchback that I have ever driven (and owned!), and an electronic limited slip diff!? Are you joking? Cutting power when there is any slip isn't a diff of any sorts.

I seriously hope the move to a mechanical slip diff and better suspension setup result in a much more sorted car. Spent untold amounts trying to make that chassis handle. My current car is soo much better even in standard form! But I look forward to seeing more on this as the power was definitely enjoyable and a simple map up to 270bhp and more was very fun in deed. Would also like better brakes on the next one please Vauxhall!

26 October 2010

[quote bentleyboy]Just wonder what the "premium increase" will be for this badging? [/quote]

What badging. It's not going to badged as a "Lotus" Astra. Still be a VXR.

26 October 2010

[quote eXceed]Hangon where has all this come from, if the previous VXR had any input from Lotus and it still handled like it did I'd like to know what Vauxhall wasted their money on?! [/quote]

I say again.......

The problem comes in that the penny pinching accountants at Vauxhall HQ then take all that kit off, replace it with something cheaper and offer the Lotus stuff as optional extras!

I drove a N/A VX220 with the standard "vauxhall" suspension down a back road near me once. Absolutely awful! Skitted all over the road. The following year I took a VX220 Turbo down the same road, this time fitted with the optional Ohlins suspension (the stuff that Lotus had designed the car to use) and it was a completely different car! Stuck to the road like glue.

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