2005-09-02-The VXR is the ultimate expression of new Astra. Taking the name of the VX Racing Astras, four-times winners of the British Touring Car Championship, the VXR has the power and performance figures which were reserved for supercars just a few years ago.
Designed and tuned in the UK, Astra VXR has been created with the needs of British buyers firmly in mind. The chassis was jointly developed between Vauxhall’s engineers and experts at Lotus, and unlike some rival performance models its set-up is uniquely tailored for our roads, rather than a pan-European compromise.
The Astra VXR is fitted with a spring and damper system developed by Lotus’ Gavan Kershaw, the man behind the VX220’s chassis. The rates are increased by 40 percent and 50 percent respectively, while rebound springs have been added to the damper units to improve on limit control. The front roll bar is now thicker, and the ride height is reduced a further 15mm over the SRi versions. Vauxhall’s pioneering IDS-Plus chassis technology, an option costing just £400, upgrades the passive set up with electronic continuous damping control.
Equally important for safety and performance driving, the Astra VXR uses the biggest brakes fitted to any Vauxhall other than the V8-engined Monaro. The front discs are a massive 321mm, while the rears use 278mm rotors. The system is equipped with ABS, EBD and Brake Assist for extra peace of mind.
Available in a choice of four distinctive colours – Flame Red, Star Silver, Arden Blue and Black Sapphire – the VXR’s profile is unmistakable, even from a distance. The fat wheelarches, 15mm lowered suspension and unique styling kit make it appear glued to the road surface. The sports front grille, deep air dam and fog lights leave no doubt that this is a performance flagship, while the theme is continued around the car with extended side sills, a tailgate roof spoiler and a unique rear bumper, housing a centre-exit trapezoidal exhaust.
And the dynamic look continues inside, too. Unique Recaro sports seats with leather-trimmed side bolsters, a three-spoke leather-covered steering wheel with a VXR logo, an alloy gear knob, racing-style instruments and carbon-fibre door inserts all help mark the VXR out as something very special.