The Astra VXR may be Vauxhall’s latest performance icon but a surprising addition to the range may cause it come problems in the showrooms.
The new Astra GTC BiTurbo is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine. On its own that’s nothing to shout about but what makes this special is the pair of turbos that work together to make this the most powerful Astra after the VXR. Power output is boosted to 195PS (193bhp) and torque output to 400Nm (295lb/ft).
With a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 139mph the BiTurbo won’t trouble the VXR in straight-line performance but the two cars are almost equally matched on mid-range grunt. The BiTurbo also has the advantage of returning a combined 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 139g/km, thanks in part to the Stop/Start system included as standard.
The GTC’s BiTurbo engine is unique in this class. It uses a sequential turbocharging system, where a smaller turbo responds quickly at lower speeds to reduce lag and provide 350Nm of torque from just 1,500rpm. In the mid-range, both turbochargers join forces to provide that maximum torque figure of 400Nm between 1,750-2,500rpm.
The Astra GTC BiTurbo is priced at £23,925, making it £995 more expensive than the lesser powered 2.0 CDTi 165PS model but over £3,000 cheaper than the VXR.
The BiTurbo also boosts the specification of the 165PS model with a set of unique 18-inch alloy wheels, and a revised body-kit, and to give the GTC an even more hunkered-down stance the ride height is dropped by 6mm. The interior receives electronic climate control, a new pattern for the seats and a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel.
So the question is would you pay £26,995 for the VXR or are you tempted by this cheaper, more economical but still rapid and handsome GTC BiTurbo?