Vauxhall to unveil turbo-engined street-legal race sibling
With over 300PS generated from its 2.0-litre turbo engine, the Astra VXR Extreme will be the most powerful front-wheel drive Vauxhall ever when it’s unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
Shorn of 100kg, thanks to liberal use of high-quality carbon components, the Extreme’s natural environment will be the race track. If public reaction is as positive as expected, Vauxhall plans a low-volume production run for the Extreme.
With direct injection and variable camshaft phasing, its 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine is the most powerful four-cylinder unit Vauxhall has ever produced. The all-aluminium engine is mated to six-speed manual gearbox transmitting power through a limited-slip differential.
The car is 100kg lighter than a standard Astra VXR thanks to its high-quality, carbon fibre components. This high-strength, ultra-light material is used for the aerodynamically-optimised rear wing, the diffuser, front spoiler, bonnet, suspension cross-bracing, engine cover, wheels, rear wheelhouse ventilation and roof.
Noticeably lowering the Extreme’s centre of gravity is the in-house manufactured carbon fibre roof which weighs just 2.6kg, compared with a steel roof’s 9.3kg. The wings are made of aluminium and weigh only 800g a piece instead of 2.2kg in steel. Weight reduction in key areas greatly improves agility, overall handling and the car’s power-to-weight ratio.
Vauxhall has also given the Extreme exceptional stopping power to match, with a Brembo six-piston brake system including 370mm diameter discs up front race car. Ultra high-performance, 245/35, 19-inch tyres, specially developed for the Extreme, also play a key role and give almost as much grip as those on the race car. In addition, the damper is adjustable, just like in a real touring car racer.
Inside the Extreme, the back seats have been taken out and a safety roll bar put in their place. Extreme also gets Recaro bucket seats, with six-point safety belts from Schroth and a carbon-fibre-reinforced, suede-covered steering wheel with fine yellow decorative stitching.
The Astra VXR is now the best-selling VXR and the UK remains the largest market in Europe for Vauxhall and Opel’s highest powered models.