New Vauxhall Astra VXR arrives in July


Turbocharged 2.0-litre direct-injection engine in the Astra VXR

Our new Astra VXR incorporates motorsport know-how in its transmission and delivers a class-leading 400Nm of torque, giving it a 0-60mph time of 5.9 seconds and robust mid-range performance. And it arrives in the UK this July.


The VXR’s turbocharged, 2.0-litre direct-injection engine is from the Insignia family. But, while its aluminium block is similar, the VXR has a unique, aluminium cylinder head and new turbocharger that creates 280PS and over 200Nm per litre of torque – the highest specific output in its class.


And with a mechanical limited-slip differential delivering drive to the front wheels, bespoke Brembo brakes, and dampers developed by performance manufacturer ZF Sachs, the Astra VXR is also set to raise the bar for in-class dynamics.

Drawing of turbocharged 2.0-litre direct-injection engine in the Astra VXR


Developing a high-torque engine for the Astra VXR was the key to creating the car’s real-world, mid-range performance, rather than focusing on power alone. And with maximum torque of between 2450rpm and 5000rpm, VXR drivers will never want for instant acceleration.


We developed an all-new, state-of-the-art intake system to feed as much air into the turbocharger as possible. We also improved the turbocharger itself to take more charge-air pressure, which builds from as early as 1400rpm for linear and strong acceleration. The maximum charge pressure is now 1.5 bar – 25 per cent more than in the Insignia 2.0T.


A ‘jet-like’ noise in the mid- to high-end rev-range – especially when drivers change up from third to fourth under full throttle – has been carefully engineered to appeal to enthusiasts, both from inside and outside the car.


But outright performance hasn’t come at the expense of efficiency and durability. Like all recent VXR models, the Astra was subjected to prolonged testing at the Nüburgring’s notorious Nordschleife for 10,000 kilometres under race conditions – the equivalent to around 110,000 road miles.


And while the Astra VXR can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds and hit a maximum 155mph, standard Start/Stop technology has reduced fuel consumption by 14 per cent (compared with the previous model) to a combined 34.9mpg, and reduced emissions to 189g/km.

Adapted high-performance strut system in the Astra VXR


Vauxhall’s clever HiPerStrut (high-performance strut), which has seen action in the Insignia VXR and more recently in the Astra GTC, has now been adapted for the Astra VXR. The system reduces front-wheel camber changes during cornering, enhancing steering feel and filtering out unnecessary torque-steer under hard acceleration.


The Astra VXR’s chassis uses a mechanical multi-plate limited slip differential for optimum traction. The unit – derived from that used in the Corsa VXR Nürburgring Edition – is made by motorsport component manufacturer, Drexler. It creates its locking effect with a ramp angle of 45 degrees under acceleration and 90 degrees under deceleration. The overall effect is enhanced traction on-throttle when it’s needed, and reduced lock-up off-throttle when it’s not.


Our engineers have stiffened the standard springs by around 30 per cent and lowered the car by a further 10 millimetres all round, compared with a 1.6T Astra GTC. We’ve also stiffened the suspension bushes and the compound crank/Watt’s link rear suspension. Bespoke Brembo brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels fitted with 245/40 tyres (both as standard) complete the chassis upgrades.


Our FlexRide adaptive damping system is also standard on all Astra VXRs. You can choose from three separate chassis settings at the push of a button:

  • ‘Standard’ delivers all-round performance for a wide range of road driving
  • ‘Sport’ stiffens the dampers for reduced roll and tighter body control
  • ‘VXR’ enhances throttle responsiveness and alters the dampers settings once again. Ramp-control further stiffens the dampers but ensures that the wheels are in contact with the road instantly after hitting a bump. Roll-control reduces tilt further during cornering.


The Astra VXR’s electronic stability programme (ESP) also offers three different modes:

  • ‘Default’ prioritises optimum safety for everyday road conditions
  • ‘Competitive’ raises the threshold at which the automatic systems intervene, though when it senses a dangerous situation it will stabilise the car via the braking system
  • ‘ESP-off’ – activated by pressing the button down for five seconds – completely deactivates the ESP.