New three-door hot hatch gets 280bhp and trick suspension; on sale next year

A faster and more powerful Vauxhall Astra GTC VXR will be the flagship of the new three-door hatchback range that’s set to go on sale late next year.

This VXR prototype has been scooped testing at the Nürburgring 14 months before sales start. Its Brembo brakes and big wheels provide clues to its identity.

See the spy pics of the Vauxhall Astra GTC VXR in testing

Based around General Motors’ Delta II platform, the VXR is expected to benefit from almost a 20 per cent power boost to its 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder powerplant. The hike will take its peak power close to 280bhp.

That will be more power than the Renault Mégane 250, but not as much as the next-generation Ford Focus RS, which is tipped to have over 300bhp when it goes on sale by the middle of the decade.

It’s understood the GTC VXR will retain the current VXR’s hardcore chassis tune, albeit with a more sophisticated front suspension.

Read more on the new Astra GTC concept

The front end of the new VXR will feature GM’s HiPerStrut, already employed on the Insignia VXR and more powerful Saab 9-5 models, which features an extra ball joint on the bottom suspension arm to cut torque steer. Renault and Ford employ a similar design on their cars.

The extra power should increase the current VXR’s 152mph top speed and the 0-60mph time should drop below the 6.2sec of today’s car.

Stopping power is expected to improve, too, thanks to the Brembo set-up, which is also standard on the Insignia VXR (and an aftermarket fitment on today’s Astra VXR).

Styling tweaks will include extra chrome and carbonfibre interior trim, new seat designs and materials featuring embroidered VXR logos.

Vauxhall is using the GTC — GT Coupé — name for the first time on one of its cars, bringing it in line with Opel.

Julian Rendell

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

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Comments
10

6 September 2010

I've seen a few new Astras out and about and in black with the right alloys it looks a decent car. Thank goodness they've done away with the old Vauxhall grill. Hardcore Vauxhalls have always had limited appeal because although often the most (or very nearly) powerful compared to their competition, they don't give the driver as much confidence as their Ford counterpart.

I hope this VXR marks the sign of a turnaround but in my humble opinion, with 280bhp, I think they would have gained many more customers if it had been four wheel drive.

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

6 September 2010

The Astra will never cope with this kind of bhp except in a straight line. Expect lots of dead boy racers and their passengers.

6 September 2010

Just make it 4WD don't mind if it costs a bit more but will be well worth the extra and will make the car handle and better to drive ! then it would be a real S3\Golf R rival

6 September 2010

The last thing the Astra VXR needed was more power! The last one was a pig to drive and I can't see this one being any better.

They need to realise that a good chasis is far more important in making a car go fast A to B. Just look at the Megane R26 and R26R, not the most powerful hot hatch but certainly one of the fastest cross country.

6 September 2010

[quote moe360]Just make it 4WD don't mind if it costs a bit more but will be well worth the extra and will make the car handle and better to drive ![/quote] It's a misconception that 4WD makes a car better to drive or handle better. Mostly, it's down to weight distribution, steering and suspension design. Three reasons why big 4WD Audis are dull on the handling side of things. Good cruisers, though.

6 September 2010

[quote Dan McNeil v2][quote moe360]Just make it 4WD don't mind if it costs a bit more but will be well worth the extra and will make the car handle and better to drive ![/quote] It's a misconception that 4WD makes a car better to drive or handle better. Mostly, it's down to weight distribution, steering and suspension design. Three reasons why big 4WD Audis are dull on the handling side of things. Good cruisers, though.[/quote]

Maybe so but it would still sell better if it were four-wheel drive. And it should help reduce torque-steer, a big problem with all VXRs that I know of. I reckon the marketing people think so at VW which is why (I suspect) the Scirocco R is two-wheel whereas the slightly more pricey Golf R is 4x4.

However, it doesn't and as another poster said, I bet it'll be a pig to drive if history tells us anything. I hope to be surprised though.

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

6 September 2010

Does the world really need a 280 bhp Vauxhall hatchback?

Personally, I just don't see the point.

6 September 2010

[quote Dan McNeil v2][quote moe360]Just make it 4WD don't mind if it costs a bit more but will be well worth the extra and will make the car handle and better to drive ![/quote] It's a misconception that 4WD makes a car better to drive or handle better. Mostly, it's down to weight distribution, steering and suspension design. Three reasons why big 4WD Audis are dull on the handling side of things. Good cruisers, though.[/quote]

Dan I should have re-phrased that I mean 4WD will offer better traction and grip and will reduce torque steer, it will also let the car use more of the 280bhp and will put it better on the road using all 4 wheels. Their is no point puting 280bhp in a Astra if it cant put any of it down on the road, the front wheels will be having to do much breaking and steering and putting power down !

I agree why does the world need a 280bhp astra ! they should have at least given it a new name like Pluto, Venus lol

7 September 2010

280bhp is the perfect amount of bhp for a 2.0 petrol turbo fwd medium sized car. why? because its the same power as the British touring cars. and what's not to like about copying them? they drive well enough as racing cars dont they?

of course a 4wd 280bhp, even though heavier will be faster. but still, nothing wrong with it, as long as it is designed to cope with the power it has (which i dont think the Ford Focus RS managed*) , which means it shouldn't be too heavy, as one of the reasons why touring cars are so good is that they are not heavy. (touring car about 1100kgs).

but contrary to my initial comment, i doubt the astra will be suitably light enough, so it will probably be rubbish. BUT 280bhp is the perfect amount in an ideal scenario! (if it had ground skimming aero/flat floor under-body too, and you dont mind changing super soft sticky tyres every few weeks) so yeah, it's never going to happen. Renault probably have it right on with 250bhp.

*too heavy. (which is why the RS megane is much better)

7 September 2010

No!! Vauxhall just don't get it.It's hardly original is it.

Now if it was 280BHP through the rear wheels, then possibly. Where is the modern version of the Manta??

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