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Saturday 8th December 2007

Vauxhall Astra Nurburgring Edition

The new Vauxhall Astra VXR Nürburgring Edition is not out until January. PistonHeads got an exclusive first drive before anyone else in the UK...



The Nürburgring. Most car manufacturers these days try to associate their products with this infamous loop of tarmac, usually by driving them around it during development. But Vauxhall has gone one better with this special edition Astra VXR and named it after the circuit. Work of the marketing men trying to cash in on the Nordschleife’s kudos I hear you say? Well not quite. Vauxhall says the car has been tweaked and honed specifically for the 'Ring and has been limited to 835 units, that number relating to the time it took to get around the 13-mile circuit – 8 minutes 35 seconds.

Vauxhall invited me to Millbrook to get a first drive of car number one, which hasn’t yet been road registered. Standing there in bright white, with white wheels and a chequered stripe running from front to back, the Astra Nürburgring Edition is as subtle as a punch in the face. It certainly looked sharp, but there was something Eighties about its appearance. There’s probably a good reason why you don’t see black and white chequered stripes on cars very often and on the Astra it spoils the effect that could have been a little more un-sponsored competition car. Lose the stripe perhaps and it’s probably best to not look too closely at the lashings of fake carbon fibre, which definitely looks better from a distance.


Inside the car has unique leather Recaros with a Nürburgring map on the back-rest. The piano-black centre consul, which I’m told is an option on the standard VXR, works well and again there is the fake carbon, which you can’t help wondering just adds a bit more weight rather than shed it. There is also tinted windows and an individually numbered plaque showing each car's build number.

But cosmetics are for girls and what I’m really interested in is what Vauxhall has done to the car mechanically. Vauxhall claims the car has a 2mm wider track than a standard VXR. There are lightweight 18” alloys, reducing unsprung weight, which are shod with bespoke rubber developed specifically for the car by Dunlop. Vauxhall hasn’t done anything to the already potent 237 bhp motor and officially that’s where the power stays. Unofficially, however, power output is somewhere around 257 bhp thanks to an astonishgly loud Remus exhaust that is unique to the UK cars. When revved the car rasps, pops and bangs like a rally car, leaving me wondering just how Vauxhall have managed to make it road legal. It comes as no surprise to hear the exhaust was developed with Vauxhall’s BTCC race team, Triple-Eight Race Engineering.


Once inside the car the seat’s are incredibly supportive and surprisingly comfortable but the ride feels quite firm and figgety. What strikes me first about the car is the immediate throttle response that is accentuated by the throaty exhaust note. On the handling circuit at Millbrook the car felt at home, the turn-in sharp and darty. The engine wanted to be revved hard and on the small, twisty and tight handling track the Astra seemed to have a lot of grip, no doubt helped by those new tyres. The car inspired confidence and I wanted push harder and harder.

At £20,995 it is almost two grand more than the standard VXR, but, officially at least, the acceleration of 6.2 seconds stays the same, although the figures Vauxhall has released are for the car without the exhaust fitted. Top speed is electronically-limited to 155 mph. It will be up to the buyer to decide whether the improvements are worth the extra money.


Oli S
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cvegas

Original Poster:

321 posts

87 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
Sounds like fun! Hits the GTi nail on the head with four seats and a high feel good factor.

sprinter885

11,248 posts

111 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
Wow- do you mean a WHOLE 2 mm extra on the track??
Wonder what engineering marvel they used to create that- a couple of B&Q washers maybe??
I'm sure a real enthusiast will feel the difference.rolleyes

RobM77

24,982 posts

118 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
Any comments on the handling?!

cunning plan

52 posts

81 months

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Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
I hate Vauxhall interiors, and this one doesnt look any different.

Ive been in a new normal Astra and it was very uncomfordable and felt quite closed in due to the high doors and small windows, it was also very 'plasticy'.



Edited by cunning plan on Wednesday 5th December 10:05

bencollins

1,681 posts

89 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
Any comments on the handling?!
Shirley improved by the 2mm (count 'em) increase in track.
Advertisement

RobM77

24,982 posts

118 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
bencollins said:
Any comments on the handling?!
Shirley improved by the 2mm (count 'em) increase in track.
I was interested, because I've driven a standard Astra, and it had a keen turn in, but everything feel apart once you reached the limit. I was interest to see if this car had cracked the problem. Surely a test drive around Millbrook could have revealed how the thing behaved at speed? wink

SplatSpeed

7,271 posts

135 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
have they fitted an LSD?????

Oli S

214 posts

83 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
The car had very keen turn in. I've driven a VXR before and this one felt more pointy. Alas as the car had only 50 or so miles on it and there is a speed limit without helmets at Millbrook we drove quick but not flat out. However it was very grippy and great fun. I do think those new tyres made a big difference as well. Have to wait until Jan to get our hands on one for a while and find out the limits wink

briSk

14,158 posts

110 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
so it's got a 1960s Ford fitted to the interior..?

___

seeing as the standard car can't handle the power it has this sounds like a great model..! wink

'nurburgring'..even ruddy...nissan who held the production car record for a bit held back and only used 'nur (spec)'...

___

the seats sound daft but then the exige club racer thingy has hethel drawn all over it (although i like that nerdhehe ).

____

edited to say if it had a slippery diff and wasn't called nurburgring i would like it.

___

edited further to say.. do you reckon the 2mm track extension is on purpose or because o.z. or whoever don't do the daft GM 49mm offset.. hehenerd

Edited by briSk on Wednesday 5th December 10:17

RobM77

24,982 posts

118 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
Oli S said:
The car had very keen turn in. I've driven a VXR before and this one felt more pointy. Alas as the car had only 50 or so miles on it and there is a speed limit without helmets at Millbrook we drove quick but not flat out. However it was very grippy and great fun. I do think those new tyres made a big difference as well. Have to wait until Jan to get our hands on one for a while and find out the limits wink
Thanks that explains it then smile Thanks for the otherwise excellent review smile

Martin_Hx

2,255 posts

82 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
Hmmm, i like it !

Mr Whippy

18,827 posts

125 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
How gash is that?

If you want to lap the Ring fast in a white car, get a bloody TME Evo 6 smile

Dave

briSk

14,158 posts

110 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
Mr Whippy said:
How gash is that?

If you want to lap the Ring fast in a white car, get a bloody TME Evo 6 smile

Dave
no, get a 'zero fighter'!

(or 'extreme' as it was broingly renamed in the UK!).

Dangly

913 posts

111 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
http://www.pistonheads.tv/clip1402

Not a bad sound but can't really make my mind up

RobM77

24,982 posts

118 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
briSk said:
Mr Whippy said:
How gash is that?

If you want to lap the Ring fast in a white car, get a bloody TME Evo 6 smile

Dave
no, get a 'zero fighter'!

(or 'extreme' as it was broingly renamed in the UK!).
scratchchin Hmm - I wonder why! I wouldn't want war veterans chasing me down the high street waving sticks at me! hehe

Accelerated

827 posts

111 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
Looks good in white

briSk

14,158 posts

110 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
RobM77 said:
briSk said:
Mr Whippy said:
How gash is that?

If you want to lap the Ring fast in a white car, get a bloody TME Evo 6 smile

Dave
no, get a 'zero fighter'!

(or 'extreme' as it was boringly renamed in the UK!).
scratchchin Hmm - I wonder why! I wouldn't want war veterans chasing me down the high street waving sticks at me! hehe
can you imagine..with the cannon-exhaust popping and banging... "quick marjorie apply the sellotape to the windows, they're back!"


(for the hard of thinking, this is just a bit of a gag and isn't in anyway actually offensive to the older people who fought in the war or anything).

Edited by briSk on Wednesday 5th December 10:52

thekirbyfake

5,311 posts

119 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
Here's the original video of the Astra VXR (OPC) 8:35 lap. http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZwBJ8SHB42U

Mr Whippy

18,827 posts

125 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
briSk said:
Mr Whippy said:
How gash is that?

If you want to lap the Ring fast in a white car, get a bloody TME Evo 6 smile

Dave
no, get a 'zero fighter'!

(or 'extreme' as it was broingly renamed in the UK!).
Or one of them then biggrin

Dave

beasto

322 posts

98 months

[news] 
Wednesday 5th December 2007 quote quote all
Tried the standard car recently and was impressed by the neutral handling and smooth ride.

Dunno about the tart's boudoir paint-n-stripes on this one though.

Think I like Q-cars really.



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