- Excellent performance
- Efficient engines
- Stylish looks
- On the pricey side
- Strong competition
- Only one model available
What's the Vauxhall Astra VXR like?
Just when everyone thought Vauxhall had completed the sixth-generation Astra range with the 2012 launch of the GTC Coupé to add to the estate and hatchback pairing, the British arm of the massive General Motors marque upped the ante yet again.
Enter the Astra VXR Coupé, an awesome pocket rocket that, while not for the general masses, had their lucky owners believing they are heading for the grid of a touring car race every time they fire up the engine.
Its main competition is centred around the Renault Megane Renaultsport 265 Cup and Volkswagen Scirocco R coupés – and to a lesser extent the Mazda3 MPS, SEAT Leon Cupra R and Ford Focus ST hatchbacks.
With no less than 276bhp waiting to be released from its 4-cylinder 2.0-litre engine, it was the most powerful coupé in the sector, so it was easy to see why the VXR high-performance offering has become so sought-after.
The VXR has a standing start to 60mph in less than 6.0 seconds, a top speed of 155mph, and a torque figure that could pull a massive 295lb-ft from just 2,400 revs.
Yet the Astra could behave like a timid kitten when required.
At the car’s heart was the same 2.0-litre engine that was seen throughout the Vauxhall range, but heavily revised to squeeze out every last ounce of power that was physically possible.
Select the VXR setting and everything tightened up. Throttle response and steering became razor sharp, while the suspension became as stiff as a board, helping to keep the machine firmly planted on the black stuff no matter how tight the twists and turns became.
Go for normal setting, or even sport, and you get a much more relaxed and comfortable ride whereby the fillings in your teeth were not be in any danger of being dislodged.
Smooth and refined on the hoof, the VXR keeps you firmly in control with minimum effort required from the driver.
Vauxhall kept things simple with the VXR, with just one model available. Standard goodies in the basic price included cruise control, air con, automatic wipers and headlights, digital sound system, 19-inch alloy wheels, and a tuned decibel-bursting exhaust system.
For those looking for extra style, an aero kit was available which adds a rear wing, larger 20-inch alloys, and extended side sills to the mix.
Other options included climate control, sat nav, leather interior, and adaptive bi-xenon headlights with LED running lights.
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The Vauxhall Astra VXR is all about providing a thrilling yet smooth driving experience for those looking for a hot hatch that stands out from the rest. Not only does the Astra VXR pack a punch when it's out on the road, it also boasts attractive sporty looks, super effective engines, and a range of hi-tech equipment.