Vauxhall Astra GTC BiTurbo review

20 Nov, 2013 6:15pm Jonathan Burn

BiTurbo diesel is now available in the Astra GTC, so how does it stack up against the SEAT Leon FR?


High-performance diesel hot hatches are increasingly popular, so the Vauxhall Astra GTC BiTurbo is wading into competitive territory. Its sculpted design makes it one of the best-looking Astras ever, but the engine does feel a little short on performance. Yet the GTC’s biggest problem is that the accomplished Leon FR TDI SC is £1,670 cheaper.

The Vauxhall Astra GTC now comes with Vauxhall's 192bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel, but does the BiTurbo diesel suit the swooping curves of the sleek GTC?

The engine has been transplanted straight from the five-door. Yet while that means it shares the title as the most powerful diesel Astra ever produced, the GTC still feels lacklustre – especially when compared with VW Group’s punchy 181bhp 2.0-litre TDI fitted to the SEAT Leon FR and Golf GTD.

Vauxhall Astra GTC review

Using two turbochargers does eliminate the worst of the turbo lag and delivers a purposeful shove lower down the rev range. But as revs build the GTC quickly runs out of steam, making it feel slower than Vauxhall’s claimed performance figures.

The SEAT Leon SC is more refined, and delivers its power with more urgency.

The Astra still handles pretty well, though, thanks to HiPerStrut suspension borrowed from the Insignia VXR. This makes it feel agile and planted, although the firm ride is not too uncomfortable.

Optional FlexRide adaptive dampers allow tweaking to suit the driving conditions. These cost £790 and are worth the investment if you decide to upgrade to 20-inch wheels.

While the flat-bottomed steering wheel and low driving position add to the GTCs sporting credentials, the centre console – lifted straight out of the five-door model – is a little cluttered.

The car’s sleek styling promises much – but although the GTC turns heads, the engine doesn’t feel like it gives a performance that’s worthy of the looks.

Disqus - noscript

The Leon might be £1,670 cheaper against the Astra's list price but after discounts the Vauxhall will be cheaper.

Great looking car the GTC and nice to drive too, I had the standard 2.0 CDTI as a hire car and thought it was comfortable, quick and pretty refined, so I bet the BiTurbo is even better.

Why are astra diesel always so slow with 192bhp i expect 7seconds at least

Because it's a diesel and it needs a gear shift where a 192BHP petrol would just keep revving into more power. Diesels are strong and torquey but need more power for acceleration.

In gear acceleration will be pretty rapid though, the biturbo produces 295 lb ft of torque from as little as 1250rpm, an equal sized petrol can only dream of that kinda torque.

Key specs

  • Price: £23,925
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
  • Power: 192bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
  • Top speed: 139mph
  • Economy: 57.7mpg
  • CO2: 129g/km
  • Equipment: 18-inch alloys, air-con, sports front seats
  • On sale: Now