First-of-its-kind limited-slip diff promises to tame the handling of Vauxhall's new 276bhp Astra VXR
17 March 2012

The secret to the handling of Vauxhall’s 155mph Astra VXR hot hatch is a German-made Drexler limited-slip differential that’s said to be the first of its kind employed in a production front-wheel-drive road car.

Read more about the Vauxhall Astra VXR

The diff employs circular plates that lock to prevent the 276bhp VXR from spinning away power in corners and over cambers when driving hard. Plate-type diffs have been used in motorsport in front-drive cars since the 1960s, but they usually work with an aggressive action and are difficult to drive.

However, Vauxhall says the Drexler Motorsport unit is very easy to drive. “There is very little snatching of the wheel,” says VXR boss Volker Strycek, a former touring car racer. “We are tuning it so you can hardly feel the operation.”

Strycek has also driven front-drive cars that use torque-sensing front diffs, such as the Ford Focus RS, and says the VXR has much nicer steering. Also helping to reduce torque steer is the VXR’s HiPerStrut front suspension, which decouples the front wheels from the steering axis.

Strycek will personally be pounding the VXR around the Nürburgring from next month as Vauxhall enters the final development phase of the Astra VXR project ahead of its launch this summer.

According to project chief Uli Pfeffer, the new VXR is a big improvement over the outgoing car with more power and performance, a better ride and improved grip.

He says the new bodyshell is 40 per cent torsionally stiffer, which makes for a better platform for the suspension. The FlexRide active dampers also have a wider operating range that allows a comfortable everyday ride quality but much better track performance.

The standard springs are 30 per cent stiffer and the front anti-roll bar has been uprated by five per cent compared with that of the GTC on which the VXR is based. The rear axle is also stiffened. In VXR ‘Race’ mode, the chassis is said to be 50 to 60 per cent stiffer.

Julian Rendell

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Comments
8

17 March 2012

It really sounds as if Vauxhall are trying very hard with this car, and its been a long time coming. It would be a shame if it disapoints once it arrives, but i suspect it wont. Actually, it will be fun finding out.

I really dont need 19 inch wheels in my life though, let alone 20's. Maybe thats what the market demands, but i find it hard to believe they would have been an engineers choice.

Hopefully Vauxhall will keep the 'VXR' treatment under control too. They arent exactly subtle..

17 March 2012

The GTC is one gorgeous car.

17 March 2012

[quote Autocar]The secret to the handling of Vauxhall’s 155mph Astra VXR hot hatch is a German-made Drexler limited-slip differential that’s said to be the first of its kind employed in a production front-wheel-drive road car.

Read more about the Vauxhall Astra VXR

The diff employs circular plates that lock to prevent the 276bhp VXR from spinning away power in corners and over cambers when driving hard. Plate-type diff... Read the full article[/quote] Yet another clever Diff, reasonable starting price, but, that front!, i hoped for a different look to the rest.

Peter Cavellini.

17 March 2012

As an ex Astra VXR owner they really need to improve the overall handling 100%. Great fun as the car was in the rain or down narrow country roads it was borderline dangerous....great fun though..

17 March 2012

Any chance this will appear in a Peugeot, following reports of PSA GM cooperation, could make for a very tasty 208GTI...

19 March 2012

[quote Autocar] In VXR ‘Race’ mode, the chassis is said to be 50 to 60 per cent stiffer. [/quote]

Shouldn't that be the dampers are 50 to 60 percent stiffer? The chassis stiffness shouldn't change (well, I hope not anyway!)

There used to be a time when a hot hatch was a hot hatch and it did what it did. It seems to me with all of these adjustable dampers and various driving modes they are trying to make a car that is a jack of all trades, which can compromise the overall effectiveness of the car.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

19 March 2012

[quote TegTypeR]

[quote Autocar] In VXR ‘Race’ mode, the chassis is said to be 50 to 60 per cent stiffer. [/quote]

Shouldn't that be the dampers are 50 to 60 percent stiffer? The chassis stiffness shouldn't change (well, I hope not anyway!)

There used to be a time when a hot hatch was a hot hatch and it did what it did. It seems to me with all of these adjustable dampers and various driving modes they are trying to make a car that is a jack of all trades, which can compromise the overall effectiveness of the car.

[/quote] Apart from sticking a VXR badge on it's average front, that's the only thing from head-on that tells you at distance that it's not a base model.

Peter Cavellini.

20 March 2012

[quote Peter Cavellini]

[quote TegTypeR]

[quote Autocar] In VXR ‘Race’ mode, the chassis is said to be 50 to 60 per cent stiffer. [/quote]

Shouldn't that be the dampers are 50 to 60 percent stiffer? The chassis stiffness shouldn't change (well, I hope not anyway!)

There used to be a time when a hot hatch was a hot hatch and it did what it did. It seems to me with all of these adjustable dampers and various driving modes they are trying to make a car that is a jack of all trades, which can compromise the overall effectiveness of the car.

[/quote] Apart from sticking a VXR badge on it's average front, that's the only thing from head-on that tells you at distance that it's not a base model.

[/quote]

Different front spoiler + 2 huge air ducts replace the front fog lights that Mr Magoo, at any distance, couldn't miss!

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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