The next Vauxhall Astra VXR will have close to 300bhp, CAR has learned. Our spy snapper has been out and about at the Nurburgring in Germany and has spotted this disguised model being put through its paces by a well known OPC (Vauxhall’s continental equivalent) test driver.
The spy shots also give us a further glimpse of the three-door bodystyle that will be appearing at the 2010 Paris motor show in September, as a lightly wrapped GTC Paris concept car.
Is this really the new Vauxhall Astra VXR?
From a distance, you could be forgiven for thinking that the car pictured is nothing more than a cooking three-door version of Luton’s family hatch. Look more closely, though, and there are clues as to what lurks beneath that heavy cladding.
The wheelarch-stuffing alloys are the most obvious point, but what really gives the game away are the huge Brembo brakes hiding behind them. VXRs are the only Griffin-badged cars to employ Brembos, you see.
So, about this VXR power hike…
The new Vauxhall Astra VXR will apparently be subject to a bhp increase of around 20% over the outgoing model. And with the old car making use of 240 horses, that’d put the new model at something approaching 300bhp. And yes, that is indeed Ford Focus RS territory. The new Astra VXR is clearly not going to hang about.
But it’s still front-wheel-drive, right?
Yep. Unlike the continent-crossing Insignia VXR, all that horsepower will be channelled through the front wheels. Thing is, the current Astra VXR is already an intimidating thing to drive, and you wouldn’t think that shovelling more power under the bonnet is the best of ideas; however, the new car will be making use of Vauxhall’s suspension geometry called HiPerStrut. This, says GM, ought to lessen the effects of torque-steer, and with it the chances of any nasty hedge-related incidents.
How long 'til I can get my hands on the new Vauxhall Astra VXR?
How long have you got? Despite the imminent debut of the three-door Astra, neither that nor the VXR are due to go on sale in the UK until late 2011 at the earliest, and we might not even see it until early 2012. This adds up to a remarkably long gestation period in anyone's book, especially considering how long the five-door car has been on sale already.
The next Astra VXR is an important car for Vauxhall, make no mistake. For starters, the current car is the best-selling member of the VXR family (ahead of the Corsa), and we hot hatch obsessives in the UK are the largest market for VXR/OPC products worldwide.