Astra’s VXR will be most potent yet
The VXR’s 2-litre turbo engine will pump out 276bhp and 295lbft of torque.
It will also feature mechanical limited slip differential, bespoke Brembo brakes and dampers developed by ZF Sachs.
The VXR’s 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection engine is taken from the Insignia family. However, while the aluminium block is similar, the VXR unit has a unique aluminium cylinder head and turbocharge.
An all-new air intake system was boost air into the turbocharger, which itself was improved to take more charge-air pressure, building from 1,400rpm. The maximum charge pressure is now 1.5 bar – 25 per cent more than in the Insignia 2.0T.
The chassis uses a mechanical multi-plate slip differential, deriving from the Corsa VXR Nurburgring edition and built by motorsport component manufacturer Drexler.
The result is a sub six-second 0-60mph time and a maximum speed hitting the iconic 155mph limiter mark.
However the car also boasts efficiency measures including Stop/Start technology cutting fuel consumption to a combined cycle 34.9mpg. CO2 emissions are 189g/km.
Handling prowess has been given as much priority as pure speed and Vauxhall’s High Performance Strut, first seen in the Insignia VXR and the Astra GTC, has been adapted for the Astra VXR.
The system reduces front wheel camber changes in corners and filters out unnecessary torque steer during hard acceleration.
Along with the work done by ZF Sachs on dampers, Vauxhall’s own engineers have stiffened the springs by 30 per cent, and lowered the car by 10 millimetres all round compared with a 1.6T Astra GTC.
The upgrades to the chassis were finished off with Brembo brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels fitted with 245/40 tyres, both provided as standard.
Also provided as standard on all Astra VXRs is Vauxhall’s FlexRide adaptive damping system, giving drivers the choice of three chassis settings.
‘Standard’ is for all-round performance for wide ranging road driving, while ‘Sport’ stiffens dampers for reduced roll and tighter body control.
‘VXR’ mode is the most extreme of the three, changing instrument backlighting from white to red, enhancing throttle responsiveness and stiffening the dampers once again, but ensures that the wheels are in contact with the road instantly after hitting a bump.
The car was subjected to testing at the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife race circuit in Germany, under race conditions for 10,000km, equating to around 110,000 road miles.
Development was signed off at the Nordschleife by VXR’s lead engineer Volker Strycek, a former star of Germany’s top racing series the DTM.
Words by: James Charman