Although the Astra VXR-R and VXR-S have only just been unveiled, they’ve already got stiff competition in the form of the Astra VXR 888.
Triple Eight Engineering have already given us the 225bhp Corsa VXR 888, a fantastic (if a little unruly) hatchback. Now they follow the same formula with the Astra VXR, with a combination of engine and chassis tweaks to make the Astra even more formidable.
|Engine:||4-cyl, turbo, 1598cc|
|Max Power:||[email protected]|
|Max Torque:||317lb [email protected]|
|Top Speed:||160mph (est)|
|0-60mph:||5.1 seconds (est)|
A £550 ECU upgrade releases an extra 48bhp from the Astra’s 2-litre engine, while an £850 Remus sports exhaust adds another 20bhp and a much more aggressive exhaust note. That means the front wheels are now having to cope with 305bhp, which makes the Astra VXR 888 even more powerful that the upcoming £25k Focus RS.
It’s all very well releasing a load of extra power if the chassis can cope with it, but just to be sure there are some additional packages available. For £1380 you can have unique 18-inch alloys wrapped in 235/40 Toyo Proxy rubber, while a racing brake kit can be fitted for £1600 that includes four-pot front calipers and larger AP Racing 343mm x 26mm front discs. To finish things off you can specify an Eibach suspension kit that allows lowers the ride-height by up to 15mm.
So the question is how the Astra copes with all of that power coursing through the front wheels. EVO magazine have had a drive and the news is good.
“It remains on the right side of the line that divides fun from terror and control from chaos.”
Evo Magazine, February 2009
So, it’s quick, it sounds good and it won’t try to torque-steer you into the scenery. Even better, the Triple Eight packages can be fitted to both new and used cars. With good second-hand Astra VXRs now selling for under £10k, you could pick one up, take it to Triple Eight and get a 300bhp super hatch for just over half the price of a new Focus RS. Tempting, isn’t it?