VAUXHALL’S Astra BiTurbo diesel is a mean machine with more grunt than Mike Tyson and in-gear acceleration to worry much more expensive machinery.
The £24,000 price tag might put you off, but that’s only the same as the VW Golf GTD and the Astra is quicker.
Once discounts are taken into the equation, it actually comes out three or four thousand pounds cheaper too.
This new twin turbo two-litre engine is a gem and the engineers have even managed to get it to sound reasonably good.
It pulls hard from 1,300 revs in the gears, and once the turbos really start doing their stuff, it can slingshot past two or three other cars with ease.
The roadholding and handling are excellent, but it still has a reasonably supple ride – and that’s exactly as it should be for the majority of drivers.
The six speed gearbox makes the most of the power and still allows excellent economy with very low emissions.
I drove a left hand drive car because that was all the company could get hold of since right hand drive production had not yet started.
As befits a range topper, it comes very well equipped, the clutch is light and the brakes more than up to taming the power. It’s a cracker.
Vauxhall Astra BiTurbo
Mechanical: 195bhp, 1,998cc, 4cylinder diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 135mph
0-62mph: 8 seconds
Combined mpg: 57
Insurance group: 21
CO2 emissions: 134g/km
BIK rating: 20%
Warranty: Lifetime for first owner only
Main rival: VW Golf