Sources say that Vauxhall wants to make up the ground lost to the Focus RS by making a hot 300 horsepower Astra VXR.
“The VXR brand is about extreme performance. It’s safe to say that the next Astra will build on where the current car is and react to market trends. It’ll be quite a power hike over the current car,” said an insider to Autocar.
Vauxhall engineers believe that they can achieve this 63 horsepower upgrade by tuning the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder motor, rather than using a V6.
Like the Focus RS, the Astra VXR will get front-wheel drive; so expect it to have some sort of electronic differential to help cope with the power and torque.
Yet, despite this big gain, Ford is one step ahead once again. The next RS is said to be a hybrid, which will combine a 250 horsepower motor with an electric motor. Compared to that, the Astra’s power plant seems a bit dull.
The Astra VXR won’t go on sale until next year. The exterior design will likely be close to the Astra Sport Coupe that will be shown in Paris in September, but with bigger wheel arches and a larger rear spoiler.
The Vauxhall VXR brand has been a big hit in Europe, with over 3,000 models sold in 2009.