Currently reading: Geneva motor show 2012: Vauxhall Astra VXR
Vauxhall has launched a scorching 277bhp VXR version of the Vauxhall Astra GTC at Geneva

The scorching 277bhp Vauxhall Astra VXR has been unveiled at the Geneva motor show. The new Ford Focus ST rival promises best-in-class performance to ecplise its well-established front-drive rivals. Powered by a turbocharged, direct-injection two-litre ‘Family II’ engine boasting 295lb ft of torque, the latest hot VXR is the most powerful production Astra ever.

Distinguished by a sporty lower air intake with dominant outer brake ducts and 20inch multi-spoke alloys that push right to the edge of the arches, the VXR sits aggressively on the road.

Inside is a sporty cabin with high-back seats, trimmed in leather with contrast stitching and a sporty VXR-badged steering wheel.

Like the rest of the GTC range, the VXR gets GM/Saab’s HiPer strut at the front to retain steering finesse while the front wheels cope with transmitting a large-degree of torque.

An adaptation of a conventional front-strut, the VXR’s design features a separate knuckle joint that stops the ‘steering fight’ or torque steer that high power front-drive cars usually suffer from. Ford and Renault use similar designs in their rival hot hatches.

The VXR also employs a mechanical limited slip differential, which cuts wheelspin and improves traction from a standing start and out of corners. Although it remains to be seen whether this diff will introduce its own steering effects, both generations of Ford Focus RS have suffered this problem, although the more recent car was less susceptible.

Like the last-generation hot Astra, the cockpit features a VXR switch to adjust the FlexRide adaptive dampers to an uncompromised, track setting. A less hardcore Sport setting is also available. Also improved on the new GTC VXR are the brakes, where the standard stoppers are replaced with competition-derived models from Brembo.

Dougie McColm, product manager for VXR said: "VXR should account for around 10 per cent of the sales of astra GTC in the UK, which is the biggest market for VXR. It's been in development for about 18 months, and we've covered around 10,000km on the Nurburgring as well as on roads that simulate those you find in the UK."

Some of the development work was done by racer Le Mans winner and former Opel DTM racer Jo Winkelhock. "We have devised a great package that will convince even the most enthusiastic drivers," says Winkelhock, ‘and not just on the Nurburgring."

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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gazza5 6 March 2012

Re: Hardcore 277bhp Astra revealed

Details released.

0-60 5.9 seconds

Price 26995 - to get 20 inch wheels in pic £995

mpg 34.9 (combined)

Tax bit of a issue 189 CO2 - so £245 a year - not sure what megane is etc though.

xxxx 6 March 2012

Re: Hardcore 277bhp Astra revealed

Johnnytheboy wrote:

Yet again, Vauxhall pitch their new hot Astra at the outgoing Focus (& before that, Escort).

They'll never learn, will they?

Clue in the first sentence "The new Ford Focus ST rival promises best-in-class performance ", Focus ST developed and on the way.

Flash Harry 5 March 2012

Re: Hardcore 277bhp Astra revealed

Looks great and hope it handles well too.Ride might be of secondary importance for some but 20in wheels is pushing it !!