Hardcore three-door Astra coupe will get 300bhp to rival the Focus RS rather than the ST
14 June 2010

Vauxhall is planning to turn the three-door Astra you see here into a 300bhp, hardcore VXR that can take on mega-hatches like the Ford Focus RS and Renaultsport Mégane.

Sources say Vauxhall is keen to regain ground lost to the Focus RS; when the original VXR was launched, it was a rival for that car’s tamer stablemate, the ST.

See the Vauxhall Astra coupe spy pictures

One insider said: “The VXR brand is about extreme performance. It’s safe to say that the next Astra will build on where the current car is and react to market trends. It’ll be quite a power hike over the current car.”

That means a hefty gain from the current VXR’s 237bhp to match the Focus’s 300bhp — but GM engineers think they will be able to achieve this with a more highly tuned 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged powerplant, instead of switching to a V6.

Like the current Focus RS, the VXR will stick with front-wheel drive, so expect some form of electronic differential to help cope with the increased power and torque. But that drivetrain solution is likely to seem conventional when compared with the next-generation RS, which is tipped to be a hybrid, combining a 250bhp petrol engine with an electric motor.

The hot Astra won’t go on sale until late next year. But although it will share the rakish roofline shown in these spy images of the regular Astra Sport Coupé — due to be launched at the Paris show in September — the VXR is likely to get flared wheel arches, a larger roof spoiler and deep front airdam.

These images show that while chief designer Mark Adams has kept the ‘blades’ on the Astra’s flanks, he has reversed the three-door’s to the same layout as the Insignia’s. There’s also a sharp crease that runs from the door handle back to the tail-light.

The Vauxhall VXR brand is the undoubted performance hit of GM Europe’s line-up. Around 3000 VXR models were sold in 2009. That’s triple the figure posted by the next-best market, Germany.

John McIlroy

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Comments
10

14 June 2010

that should be crazy.

The boy racers round here will love it. I will too (secretly)

14 June 2010

Wow, are we supposed to be impressed? Why don't GM Europe do something different - and put the power through the rear wheels? Or a new version of the Manta?

14 June 2010

I totally agree. I remember when I had a new 1991 Calibra 16V with 150bhp and how much excessive torque steer that had. Not to mention the unreliability and dealer network. The last GM car I have ever owned and I have no plans to own another.

300bhp in an Astra would not appeal to me at all.

14 June 2010

Obviously GM have never heard of Chavs or boy racers! Before giving the astra 300bhp, they need to sort out that rediculous and catastrophic torque steer and understeer, otherwise it will be a lethal machine but for the wrong reasons!

14 June 2010

[quote 3MOCIONA]Obviously GM have heard of Chavs and boy racers![/quote]

The article says the VXR brand is about extreme performance so I'm pretty certain a hot hatch would be aimed at those two demographics. And if these chavs and boy racers are buying 3000 VXRs every year, then who's GM to complain?

14 June 2010

Good looking car the curent Astra, although 300bhp is the minimum they will need to get it to go anything like it should with the weight of it :-)

If it gets the same visual treats it's bigger brother has got it should look very purposeful and be entertaining to drive!

14 June 2010

[quote Roger Frost]I remember when I had a new 1991 Calibra 16V with 150bhp and how much excessive torque steer that had[/quote]

Obviously something they sorted out by the time they made the V6 then, cos with around 200bhp, mine had none!

Although I was talking to the owner of a Mk 1 Astra with a 300bhp LET conversion (2.0 turbo, for non-vauxhall speakers) and he said he had to convert to 4WD just so he could put the power down!

14 June 2010

300bhp through the front wheels is not a problem... as long as the road surface isn't wet no matter what clever electronics the car may have.

However, I'm sure it'll sell well in the UK as big numbers count no matter how bad it may drive. I think the new Astra is a decent looking car. I would like to see a stripped out weight reduced based Astra but I would like to see this for all hot hatches!

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

15 June 2010

The current 240PS engines go pop with alarming regularity so a 300 version will be like a hand grenade, I expect. Hope they sort the on or off throttle mapping as well. Might be a nice car to drive then. I could be tempted back to VX if this 3 door Astra is a looker, but I'm not being convinced by these spy shots so far.

15 June 2010

Bless 'em. I love the way Vauxhall always aim their performance Astra against the previous hot Focus (or at one time the Escort).

Invariably by the time it appears, Ford will have moved the game on another stage.

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