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by David Zalstein

The new Vauxhall Astra VXR will put its class-leading 400Nm of torque to good use, with the British division of General Motors confirming the hot-hatch will launch from 0-100km/h in under six seconds.

To achieve its 5.9-second sprint time, the Astra VXR combines a 206kW/400Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre direct injection petrol engine, a new mechanical multi-plate limited slip differential and the company’s ‘HiPerStrut high’ performance strut that reduces front-wheel camber changes during cornering to enhance steering feel and eliminate torque-steer under hard acceleration.

The new Astra VXR, which will also be sold as the Opel Astra OPC in other markets, is the most powerful Astra ever and will go head to head with other serious hot-hatch machinery like the Renault Megane R.S. 250, Volkswagen Golf R, Mazda3 MPS and the Ford Focus RS.

Proving just how serious Vauxhall is about the Astra VXR, the car features ZF Sachs dampers, lower and stiffer springs, stiffer suspension bushes and Watt’s link rear suspension, Brembo brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels. The more obvious exterior identifiers of the car’s intentions are sculpted front and rear bumpers, side skirts, roof spoiler and twin trapeze-shape exhaust pipes, while performance seats and a flat-bottom steering wheel ensure the driver is under no illusions either.

The Opel Astra OPC is expected to join Opel Australia’s range some time after the launch of the Astra hatch, wagon and GTC coupe in September.

Holden had limited sales success with the previous-generation Astra VXR, which it marketed as the HSV VXR in 2008.




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