Vauxhall Astra GTC BiTurbo review
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.
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.