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A hotter version of the Holden Astra hatch has been spied undergoing testing with almost no disguise on.

The development prototype wears new front and rear bumpers with new styling that’s sportier, but not overly aggressive. The car’s sporty intent is signalled by splashes of red piping at both ends.

Interestingly, the warm Astra was spotted testing with steel wheels matched with red-painted brake callipers.

Online speculation suggests the new hottish Astra hatch will employ a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor, probably with between 150kW and 170kW of power. The most powerful versions of the current Astra have a 147kW/300Nm 1.6-litre turbo.

If true, that’s quite a step down from the 206kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo mill used in the previous generation’s Astra OPC/VXR model.

It’s not clear what badges the hotter Astra will wear if it’s brought to Australia by Holden. With the next-generation Commodore, the sports variant will use the VXR badge previously reserved for highest performance variants of the Vauxhall range.

Powered by 235kW/381Nm 3.6-litre naturally-aspirated V6, the Commodore VXR shares its styling cues and many drivetrain elements with the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia GSi, which uses a 195kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Both Commodore VXR and Insignia GSi feature an all-wheel drive setup. The latest Insignia GSi essentially takes the place of the previous generation’s OPC/VXR models.

The choice of badging for this new Astra, if it’s brought to Australia, may come down to whether Opel plans on developing a “true” OPC/VXR variant, with 200kW or more, to take on the likes of the Volkswagen Golf R, Renault Megane RS, Honda Civic Type R, and Ford Focus RS.

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