Rivals might still be reeling after catching sight of the stunning new Astra Sport Hatch, but Vauxhall has another blow in store - the red-hot HPC show car.
With jaw-dropping looks and a massive 240bhp, the three-door Astra promises to hit competitors right between the GTIs at the Mondial de l'Automobile this week.
Set to be unveiled alongside the new Sport Hatch and the innovative glass-roofed Panorama at the show later this week, the HPC gives a taster of the performance version of the Astra, due in the UK next summer. And it's not just the styling which promises to have enthusiastic drivers drooling - with 240bhp and 310Nm of torque from a 2-litre turbo engine, the Astra is said to have a top speed of around 150mph and a 0-60mph time of less than 6.5 seconds.
Using a modified version of the 2-litre turbo engine from the VXR220 roadster, the HPC?s engine output is increased by modifications to the intake and exhaust systems. To handle the power, the car uses the advanced IDSPlus electronic chassis control and a six-speed manual gearbox linked to dramatic-looking 19-inch wheels.
Building on the exciting style of the standard Astra, the HPC features a wider and lower air intake, a new honeycomb grille and deeper front spoiler. Extended side sills, profiled towards the rear, lead to a sculpted rear bumper that incorporates a supercar-style diffuser. This directs airflow and, along with a new roof spoiler, keeps the Astra planted on the ground at high speed.
Eye-catching details are also found in the interior, with the Recaro seats and leather trim details colour matched to the exterior paint. New instruments and a piano-black finish to the centre console also differentiate the HPC from other Astras in the range.
It's expected the Astra VXR will hit British showrooms next summer, but for hot hatch fans who can?t wait that long, Vauxhall has just introduced a new Astra 5-door SRi powered by a 200bhp version of the HPC's 2-litre turbo engine. Available now priced at just L18,145, the SRi's standard exterior styling pack and 18-inch wheels mean it too has plenty to excite drivers while making the competition look overpriced and underpowered.