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Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:Vauxhall Astra VXR

Overall verdict
Now a very appealing high-output hot hatch with its own highly distinctive character.


Class-leading power output, great styling, accomplished chassis


Still lacks a Renaultsport Megane's extra bit of involvement


What is it?

The Vauxhall Astra VXR has always been a bit of an animal. What else for the new one then, than to respond to rivals’ increasing power outputs with yet MORE thrust channelled through its chewed and abused front tyres? Enter the 280bhp Astra VXR, with a set of figures knocking everything else in the class sideways: 155mph, 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds – goodness, it even has a diesel-rivalling 295lb ft of torque, just to cook the already-melted front rubber some more. Be gone, VW Golf GTI, with your puny 220bhp!

For once, though, there may be more to the Astra VXR than just brute force. For starters, it’s based on the Astra GTC, a car we already know and admire both because of its styling and its surprisingly advanced suspension setup. So it proves: for once, there’s more to the VXR than just fireworks – and we don’t simply mean the fact it looks great. Which, incidentally, it does.

Continue: Driving