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Opel's hottest hatch yet revealed

2014-02-26 11:27

TALK ABOUT A HOTTIE: Opel has released more details about its hottest, most powerful Astra yet ahead of its debut at the 2014 Geneva auto show. Image: Vauxhall

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Vauxhall, the UK arm of Opel, drove into the record books in January when motorsport’s governing bodies confirmed that two standard diesel Opel Astras set and broke 18 World and UK speed endurance records.

LUTON, England - The Astra VXR Extreme, with more than 225kW available from its two-litre turbo engine, will be the most powerful front-wheel drive Opel yet when it’s unveiled at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in March.

We told you a little about the car at the end of January 2014 but now full details have been released ahead of the car’s unveiling at the 2014 Geneva auto show in March.

GALLERY: 2014 Astra VXR Extreme

The car’s derived from 2013’s European Astra Cup race cars that competed in the Nürburgring Endurance championship. It’s the lighter, more powerful, street-legal race sibling to the current Astra VXR.

'MOST POWERFUL'

Shorn of 100kg, thanks to liberal use of carbon components, the Extreme’s natural environment will be the track. If public reaction at Geneva is as positive as expected, Opel plans a low-volume production run for the Extreme.

With direct injection and variable camshaft phasing, the Extreme’s engine is the most powerful four-cylinder unit Opel has yet produced. The all-aluminium unit is mated to six-speed manual gearbox transmitting power through a limited-slip differential.

Strong, ultra-light carbon is used for the aerodynamically optimal rear wing, the diffuser, front spoiler, bonnet, suspension cross-bracing, engine cover, wheels, rear wheelhouse ventilation and roof.

LIGHTWEIGHT

Noticeably lowering the Extreme’s centre of gravity is the in-house carbon-fibre roof which weighs only 2.6kg – a steel roof is 9.3kg. The wings are aluminium and weigh only 800g apiece instead of 2.2kg in steel. Weight reduction in key areas greatly improves agility, overall handling and the car’s power-to-weight ratio.

Opel has also given the Extreme exceptional stopping power with a Brembo six-piston brake system: 370mm discs up front.  Ultra high-performance, 245/35, 19” tyres, specially developed for the Extreme, also play a key role and give almost as much grip as those on the race car – and the shock-absorbers are adjustable, just like in a real Touring Car racer.

Inside, the back seats have been taken out and a rollover cage installed.  The Extreme also gets Recaro bucket seat with six-point Schroth belts 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 most powerful models.
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