Drip. Drip. Drip. That is the sound of juicy details being fed to eager Vauxhall fans ahead of the Astra VXR’s official unveiling at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.
We already know that the new Astra VXR is going to be quicker than ever thanks to a 280PS turbocharged 2.0-litre engine that pushes out 400Nm of torque. We know it’s going to be based on the Astra GTC, not the 5-door Astra. We also know it’s been pounding the Nürburgring as part of a punishing testing regime.
I’ll assume you’re sitting down now. Are you feeling comfortable? Well, the chances are you aren’t as comfortable as you would be in the new seats that have been designed for the Astra VXR. Vauxhall have gone to great lengths to ensure that even the seats are worthy of their new performance flagship, making them lighter than those in the Astra GTC with a lower seating position and providing more lateral support.
The reduced weight comes from the use of injection moulded sheets in the seat shells, reducing weight by 45 percent over a standard shell. Don’t be fooled ino thinking that the shell is made of flimsy plastics either, the material used is a polyamide and fibreglass composite that promises strength and agility despite being only two to three millimetres thick.
The new seats are mounted 17 millimetres lower than in the Astra GTC and 40 millimetres lower than in the Astra Hatch, placing your bottom closer to the ground for a much better driving position. The new seats can even be adjusted in up to 18 different ways, depending upon specification:
- Entire seat backwards and forwards (2)
- Entire seat upwards and downwards (2)
- Seat backrest forwards and backwards (2)
- Seat cushion angle adjustment (2)
- Seat cushion length adjustment (2)
- Four-way lumbar support adjustment (4)
- Adjustable side bolster support in back (2)
- Adjustable side bolster support in seat cushion (2)
There are even pneumatically adjustable cushions to be found in the seats’ flanks so that drivers can customise the feel of their seat to suit. That’s the sort of attention to detail that is normally reserved for competition drivers.
Do you suffer from a bad back? You’ll be happy to know that the Astra VXR’s seats are the first in its class to be certified by AGR (Action for Healthy Backs), an independent German organisation comprising leading doctors and therapists. Before they gained approval, the seats had to meet a list of ten criteria, including checks for lordosis support and that the seatback contours adapt precisely to the natural curvature of the spine.
So while we may have to wait a bit longer to see the Astra VXR, at least we know we’ll have somewhere comfortable to sit when it does arrive.