The 237bhp Vauxhall Astra VXR makes a great base for performance tuning. And here’s how to make it even better…
There are definite improvements to be made here, but only if premium equipment is fitted. A simple stage one upgrade is to fit uprated springs – DAP-R and Eibach are both popular options. Coilover kits are available from the likes of KW Automotive, but if you don’t need fully adjustable kit, Bilstein and Koni offer top-quality uprated shock absorbers. A Whiteline rear anti-roll bar is a popular upgrade for many owners, too, with good results reported. Poly bushes are the final worthwhile upgrade.
2. Wheels & Tyres
Many VXRs come with 19in wheels, which were an optional extra. While that looks great, it’s not the optimum size for handling (or potholes). Go for 18-inch lightweight wheels and quality 225/40 tyres. Team Dynamics, Rota and Compomotive are worth a look. Don’t skimp on tyres either – a VXR puts tremendous strain on the front wheels, so it needs all the help it can get. Track runner like Toyo R888s will improve things immensely (in the dry at least!).
The factory brakes are okay, but you’ll soon find their limit on track or if you’ve tuned the car. Braided hoses and performance fluid from the likes of Goodridge are worth considering. TAROX can provide uprated friction material as a direct replacement, and you can also fit the discs and calipers from a Vectra VXR. Several 6-pot big brake kits are available, too for the ultimate in stopping power.
The first area that needs attention is the exhaust. Fit a system from the likes of Cobra, Milltek or Remus and you should see gains of up to 15bhp. Get it remapped and you could be seeing 280bhp. Next step is an intercooler. TX Autosport and Forge have good options here. That should push the power near to 300bhp. Beyond this, Regal have an excellent inlet manifold which, when coupled with a thermal gasket, gives very worthwhile gains. Still not enough? Try a GT28 turbocharger.
5. DRIVE TRAIN
One of the best things you can do to a VXR is fit an LSD. The Quaife ATB is popular, but the Wavetrac diff from Regal is making big news of late. This will transform the power delivery and handling to such an extent, you’ll be amazed that one isn’t fitted as standard.