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.
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.
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.