New Car: 2013 Opel/Vauxhall Astra OPC/VXR

This striking hot hatch is the new Astra VXR – a storming performance car that mixes a 276bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with aggressive styling and a chassis developed by a former British Touring Car Champion.

Available to order from April 2012, the newcomer will compete with the Ford Focus ST and VW Golf GTI – but it outpowers both. In fact, it has more punch than any current hot hatch, including the Renaultsport Megane 250, SEAT Leon Cupra R and even the VW Golf R.

Although there are no official acceleration figures yet, with so much power and 400Nm of torque, the Astra VXR is expected to rocket from 0-60mph in less than six seconds, while top speed is quoted as 155mph.

And the car certainly has the visual impact to back it up. Based on the sleek three-door Astra GTC, the VXR adds a dramatic wide honeycomb front grille with a low splitter. A pair of eye-catching triangular ducts at its edges feed cooling air to the uprated Brembo brake discs. Designers have also added side skirts, sporty 20-inch alloys and twin exhausts at the back.

Making sure all of the engine’s power is delivered directly to the road is a clever suspension and drivetrain set-up. This includes a specially developed mechanical limited-slip differential and the GTC's innovative HiPerStrut (High Performance Strut) system.

Like the RevoKnuckle set-up of the Focus RS and the PerfoHub from the Renaultsport Megane, the HiPerStrut enhances traction and reduces torque steer. Along with a wider track than standard GTCs, plus the mechanical diff, Vauxhall claims it gives the VXR “exceptional lateral grip”.

Vauxhall’s European sister brand Opel has employed the 1999 Le Mans winner and 1993 British Touring Car Champion Jo Winkelhock to develop the new hot hatch. The racer works with OPC (Opel’s equivalent of VXR) in the performance arm’s base at Germany’s Nurburging track, where the car has been tested.

“We have devised a great package that will convince the most experienced and enthusiastic drivers – and not only when driving on the Ring,” Winkelhock said.

The new car also features Vauxhall’s FlexRide adaptive dampers as standard, as well as a Sport button that firms up the suspension and improves throttle and steering response. Plus, there’s a VXR button on the dashboard that takes things even further.

Inside, the hot Astra has been treated to a flat-bottom steering wheel, special dashboard dials and leather-trimmed bucket seats, all with VXR badging.

Prices haven’t been revealed yet, but you can expect the VXR to cost from around £25,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express


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