The chance to benchmark a car powered by Vauxhall’s new high-output version of its all-aluminium 1.6-litre diesel was too good to pass up – and it has produced some impressive results.
Even in estate form, the new Astra CDTi Biturbo recorded an 8.4sec 0-60mph acceleration average, managed 30-70mph through the gears in just 7.7sec and completed the same incremental sprint in fourth gear in 9.1sec.
In all three respects, that’s considerably quicker than the 148bhp Audi A3 2.0 TDI we sampled in 2012 and the 148bhp Mazda 3 2.2-litre turbodiesel figured in 2013 – which were both tested as hatchbacks.
Flexibility, or pulling power, is the engine’s big draw. That 258lb ft may not sound outstanding in isolation (although it’s a lot to conjure from just 1.6 litres), but the motor’s twin turbochargers allow it to be accessible from just 1500rpm.
There’s also less mass to move here than in rival wagons, meaning the Astra picks up speed from low revs strongly and with good throttle response by diesel standards. The A3 mentioned – which is pretty typical of 2.0-litre diesel hatchbacks on performance – took fully 3.4sec, or 27 percent, longer to get from 30-70mph in fourth.