Vauxhall Astra GTC 1.6 200 Limited Edition review

5 Mar, 2014 2:30pm Paul Bond

We get our hands on an the Astra GTC fitted with a new 197bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol


Despite its good looks and practicality, the GTC never really delivered the kind of sporty drive promised by its sleek design. The petrol engine in this new Vauxhall Astra GTC 1.6 200 Limited Edition was supposed to breathe life into the driving experience but its sluggish responses and anemic exhaust note mean it’s the weakest part of the package. We just hope this unit can deliver a bit more excitement when VXR get their hands on it later next year.

Vauxhall is in the middle of a powertrain revolution, with 13 new engines due to join the range over the next two years, and the Astra GTC is the latest model to feel the benefit of a powerful new motor under the bonnet thanks to this Vauxhall Astra GTC 1.6 200 Limited Edition.

The introduction of the new ‘Whisper’ diesels have done wonders for the Meriva and the Zafira Tourer MPVs and the brand is hoping this new 197bhp 1.6-litre turbo can do the same thing for sportier petrols cars like the GTC and Cascada.

On paper it certainly seems impressive enough. Producing a considerable 39bhp more than the more expensive 1.4-litre TSI in the VW Scirocco and recording a hot hatch-like 0-60mph time of 7.3 seconds before hitting its 143mph maximum.

In reality though, this new GTC simply never feels as fast as the figures suggest. Press the accelerator expecting an instant response and instead the revs climb only gradually, and you have to really coax it into providing decent acceleration.

It feels like the Astra is simply too heavy to feel as agile or sporty as you would like from a sporty model. On the plus side, that does make it feel very stable and the wide stance and a sophisticated front suspension system from the Insignia VXR mean there is plenty of reassuring grip when the road starts to twist. However the steering gives no real sense of a connection with the front wheels, and you rarely feel encouraged to drive it very fast.

Of course this might not be a priority for all buyers, but refinement definitely will be, and this new GTC falls short in this regard too. The latest Vauxhall diesels are smooth and hushed but this turbo petrol has a surprisingly gruff exhaust note that becomes an intrusive drone if you hold onto the gears too long.

The ride is comfortable though and with spacious back seats and a decent boot the GTC does claw back some credit as a comfortable cruiser. The limited edition model we drove came on stylish 20-inch alloy wheels – but it rode over the few bumps we could find with impressive ease.

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nearly 200 bhp and cant break 7 seconds laughable

Considering the car's size (C-Segmant) its to be expected. This isn't a Supermini like the 208 or Fiesta.

Looked at your profile. Your posts on other platforms point towards this unintelligible comment. Basically, your a bellend, yeah? Remember you need a licence to drive.... How old are you - 14?

32 actualy fella don't understand the trolling from you ive got a 13 year old s3 with 210 break that does 6.6 again its 13 years old, i feel that a modern car with nearly 200 should at least be able to break 7 seconds its that simple really as for your vile comment your obviously the child here

Just shows the uninformed slap-dash motor journalism on show here on AE... "When VXR get their hands on it" er VXR already have had their hands on this car, it uses a completely different engine and has been out now for some time.

Get the facts right!

If it's anything like the old 1.6T, it takes quite a lot of miles before it really loosens up.
Mine didn't feel as quick as the 1.9 diesel to start with but now it's in a different league.

I'm just impressed that they squeezed that power out of a 1.6 litre engine.

210 break? Well I suppose it is an Audi and I would expect a few problems but 210 is a lot.

Oh you mean "brake" ?

7.3 on a 1.6 is pretty good. Expecially considering 99% of drivers will never attempt to achieve that (because that would mean driving like a complete spack on public roads).

And on a track the average Audi driver (as they are normally total spackers) would likely get left behind anyway.

What is written in this review is completely at odds with my experience of test driving one of these at Millbrook.

By all means look at AutoExpress to see photos of nice cars (at least the genuine ones are worth seeing). But anything written by any journalist here is only good for comedy.

I don't believe you're 32 in the slightest. You really do sound like a 17 year old with his first car going by your profile.

But that is besides the point.

6.6s was clocked by the S3 quattro 225ps (223bhp). If you really do have the 210ps (207bhp) quattro, then it'll be 6.8s.

If the AWD was removed from the 210 S3 its pretty clear what car would win (hint, the Astra GTC). AWD does a LOT for a car's off-the-line performance.

I just bought one of these and waiting for it to be delivered. Was getting depressed as I was reading this review but after reading the comments I feel much better! I wonder if the guy that wrote this even sat in this car? Also looking forward to leaving some Audis in the dust :D

I do think your obsession with 0-60 times presents a slightly immature personality & Top Gear presenter wannabee credentials, I put you at 21

I own the Astra GTC with this new engine. I can tell you that the guy who wrote this article has never driven one. I've gone from an 05 Astra VXR to this and there's not a lot of difference in power. This car is still a very fast car and it handles like a dream.

Key specs

  • Price: £21,945
  • Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
  • Power: 197bhp
  • Torque: 280Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph: 7.3 seconds
  • Top speed: 143mph
  • Economy/CO2: 42.2mpg/156g/km
  • On sale: Now