Class-leading amounts of power? Check. Slightly rowdy power delivery? Check. Attention-seeking looks and a noise like an industrial vacuum cleaner at full chat? Check and check.

Yep, say what you like about the Vauxhall GTC VXR, but it does what its stablemates and predecessors do best: let you know that it is here and interested in going fast.

Mature but with a raucous side, this fast Astra is still a VXR at heart

What’s different this time – for an Astra, at least – is that this raucousness comes with an everyday usability. This VXR really is a fine motorway companion, pliant and refined.

It’s fast on a good road or a circuit, too, finding exceptional grip and tremendous traction. And that, says Vauxhall, is what VXR buyers expect, and quite enjoyable it is, too.

For the rest of us, though, we’d want just a little something else to complete those star ratings – more engaging handling and a true feeling of agility being chief among them.

Still, this is a very likeable car.


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