Vauxhall has released the first pictures of what is not only its fastest hatch to date, but also the fastest five-door hatch on sale. Building on the considerable early success of the new Astra VXR, the 252bhp Vectra VXR arrives in November, tipped for a price tag of around £24,000.
Sporting the same 2.8 V6 Turbo engine used in the new Saab 9-3, but boosted by five bhp, the VXR develops 258lb ft of torque and will reach 60mph from standstill in 6.6s before heading on to a top speed of 161mph. A naturally-aspirated version of this V6 will go into the facelifted Vectra this autumn, producing around 220bhp.
Just like the Astra, the strong VXR styling instantly marks the car out above the standard repmobile Vectra, with large front spoiler and air intake, big wheels and striking large exhaust, although the Vectra gets two trapezoid-shaped pipes instead of the Astra VXR’s one.
A Vectra VXR Estate follows next March, which should become the fastest load-lugger on sale, presuming the as-yet unconfirmed top speed beats the limited 155mph of a host of prestige German hardware including the BMW 330i Touring, Audi S4 Avant and Mercedes-Benz C55AMG.
The Vectra is the second spoke in the mainstream evolution of the VXR branding, which first appeared on the now discontinued VX220 and Monaro and has been expanded with the 237bhp Astra VXR. Next up is the Zafira VXR, running the same 2.0-litre turbo as the Astra, while hot versions of the next Corsa, and even the Meriva mini-MPV are also planned, although there won’t be a VXR version of the Vectra’s executive sibling Signum.