Vauxhall Astra BiTurbo

We review the Astra BiTurbo, a sporty five-door Astra powered by a 2.0-litre bi-turbodiesel

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

The Astra BiTurbo performs well as a comfortable, quick and refined family hatch, with appealing looks to top it all off. That’s all well and good, but this is a sporty flagship diesel, and it simply doesn’t feel it. More needs to be done to improve the way this engine delivers its torque and sharpen up the handling to differentiate it even more from the standard Astra. With the Leon FR TDI cheaper, more efficient, better to drive and just as stylish the BiTurbo will be a tough sell for most buyers.

This Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi BiTurbo has just arrived in the UK as part of the facelifted Astra range, hoping to offer an enticing blend of performance and economy. It's about time, too, as pretty much every family hatch has a hot diesel variant these days, whether it's the BMW 125d, SEAT Leon FR TDI or VW Golf GTD.

With 192bhp and 400Nm of torque, you’d think it would have the performance part covered, but it genuinely doesn’t feel that fast. Unlike in the Golf GTD you never get a rush of turbocharged torque, with the Astra favouring more of a steady approach to achieving its 8.0-second 0-62mph time. That’s only half-a-second down on the GTD, but it feels like a much larger gap.

• BMW 125d review • SEAT Leon FR TDI review • Volkswagen Golf GTD review 

On the plus side, you do notice the torque at higher speeds, when you can change down a gear, floor the throttle and comfortably climb from 50-70mph, or comfortably overtake on the motorway.

And while you won’t hear the engine at those higher motorway speeds, it is a little rough and noisy during hard acceleration at low speeds. The 2.0 TDI in the Golf GTD sounds smooth and even a little sporty, while the Astra BiTurbo sounds like nothing of the sort.

The BiTurbo does look great, topping off the Astra’s facelifted styling with a bodykit and two chromed exhausts. It also comes with lowered sports suspension, which helps ensure it feels a bit more agile than the standard car without losing out on comfort. Arguably the steering isn’t quick or tactile enough to match the BiTurbo’s sporty intentions, though, and it ends up being capable rather than fun.

And how about the running costs? Well 55.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 134g/km sound good in isolation but put those figures next to 67.3mpg and 109g/km in the GTD and it suddenly starts to look pretty shabby.

At £24,100 the Astra does at least compare favourably to the £27,355 Golf, although we’d recommend specifying electric rear windows and parking sensors, neither of which come as standard. The Astra’s biggest problem, though, is the SEAT Leon FR TDI, which shares the GTD’s excellent mechanicals, feels just as good from behind the wheel and yet costs just £22,375.

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