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Vauxhall's new hot hatch is here and ready to take on the GTI.
For those unfamiliar with Vauxhall nomenclature, VXR is used to signify the range's top performance models, and the Astra VXR is certainly worthy of the title. The hot hatch is intended to do battle with such long-standing favorites as the VW GTI and newcomers like the forthcoming Ford Focus ST. It has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 277 horsepower and 295lb-ft of torque, both of which are quite large numbers for a front-wheel-drive car.
Since these numbers are quite high, the VXR employs a HiPerStrut system to minimize the torque steer that tends to plague high-powered front-wheel-drive cars. Joining in the fight for control is a mechanical limited-slip differential, a good competitor to the torque vectoring system which will be fitted to the Focus ST. This will be the most powerful road-going Astra ever, and it certainly has what it takes to compete with the big boys.