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Vauxhall revealed its hot new hatch, looking to take away some of the spotlight from Ford’s Focus and Fiesta ST. The brand new VXR hatchback is the fastest and most powerful production vehicle from Vauxhall yet, boasting 280-hp and 295 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder. Vauxhall is also claiming that their new VXR hatchback will have a top speed of 155-mph.
The new VXR hatchback is based on the popular Astra GTC but sports much more aggressive styling to go with its uber-powerful engine. In addition, Vauxhall ensures us that the VXR will receive unique chassis modifications and a specially developed mechanical limited slip differential compared to its GTC counterpart.
The changes doesn’t stop there, as the VXR will be equipped with beefy Brembo brakes and Vauxhall’s FlexRide system, offering a Sport and VXR mode that will adjust damper, throttle and steering control. On the inside, performance bucket seats, a flat-buttoned steering wheel and VXR badging separates it from the GTC.
GALLERY: Vauxhall Astra VXR Hatchback
Renault’s Megane 250 is widely considered one of the best hot hatches in the world. Not surprisingly, North Americans are unable to buy it due to our sordid love/hate relationship with French vehicles.
Europeans, on the other hand, are enamored with the Meagane 250, considered one of the Ford Focus RS’ most potent rivals, even though its down 50 horsepower on the Focus. But that doesn’t mean Renault is content to rest on their laurels. The French automaker has a pedigree of fast hatchbacks under its belt, and they intend to keep up with the competition.
A new Megane, ostensibly with more power and a sharper chassis, has been spotted testing on the Nurburgring. It would be hard to fathom that the new car will come with any less than 300 horsepower, to keep up with the Focus RS and the upcoming Vauxhall Astra VXR. The Megane’s limited-slip differential is said to be good for well beyond the current 250 horsepower, meaning driveline durability is likely not an issue.
Reports say that a stripped out, lightweight model in the vein of the hardcore R26R from the previous decade is in the cards, but only at the end of the product cycle. At this point, we’d crawl over broken glass infected with the Ebola virus to drive this car.
In an effort to compete with the impressive Ford Focus RS and Renaultsport Mégane, General Motors is reported to be building a new Vauxhall Astra VXR with as much as 300-hp. So why should you care? Well, because the Astra shares its underpinnings with the Buick Excelle, which recently launched in China and is set to be introduced in the U.S. in the near future, likely wearing the Verano badge.
Buick is reportedly considering bringing over both a hatchback and wagon version of the Excelle, giving us hope that a a 300-hp Buick Excelle/Verano model could be a part of the automaker’s plans. Power would likely come from a turbocharged 2.0-liter through a front-drive setup using an electronic limited slip differential.
And while we’d like to see Buick launch a twin-turbo V6 using the Cadillac CTS Coupe chassis and badge it as a Grand National, perhaps a 300-hp turbo hatch is just what Buick needs to change its image.