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Holden's new Astra SRi Turbo aims at Golf GTI

Gruntier: New Astra SRi offers the same 147kW, but 12Nm more torque.

Holden puts some heat into its Astra range with a 147kW turbocharged SRi hot-hatch

15 Jun 2006

HOLDEN is going for the Volkswagen Golf GTI’s jugular with its latest hot Astra hatchback. Like the previous TS version, the latest version is dubbed SRi Turbo, and is only available in the swoopy three-door hatchback body style.

On sale this week, the Belgian-built SRi will retail from $34,990, undercutting the Ford Focus XR5 turbo by $1000, the Citroen C4 VTS coupe by $2000 and the Golf GTI by $5000.

It is also priced $2000 below its own TS-series SRi turbo sold in 2003/04.

Compared to the regular AH Astra coupe upon which it is based, the SRi turbo adds 40mm to the length of the nose, thanks to a new grille design featuring a ‘V’ motif, as well as a larger air intake designed to cool the engine more efficiently.

Driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox is a variation of the old model’s 2.0-litre twin-cam 16-valve four-cylinder powerplant, boosted by a Borg Warner turbocharger and oil-cooler.

It delivers 147kW of power at 5400rpm and 262Nm of torque at 4200rpm – with the latter being a 12Nm improvement over the old model.

This compares to the C4 VTS’s naturally aspirated 130kW and 202Nm, while the turbocharged Golf GTI, Focus XR5 and Megane Sport trio manage 147kW/280Nm, 166kW/320Nm and 165kW/300Nm respectively.

13 center imageAn HSV Astra VXR version will arrive by the end of the year, providing 176kW and 320Nm.

The 2.0-litre engine, with a precisely square bore/stroke ratio of 86.0/86.0mm and an 8.8:1 compression ratio, features a new-generation engine management system that controls the turbocharger’s boost pressure for greater engine response and flexibility and better low-end torque.

Performance is thus likely to be extremely competitive, backed by a 1401kgkerb weight, which results in 9.53kg per kiloWatt. No official 0-100km/h figure has been provided.

Running on premium-unleaded fuel, the SRi turbo’s ADR 81/01 fuel consumption average is 9.4 litres per 100km.

The SRi turbo features IDS Plus (Interactive Driving System) that uses computers to manage suspension and braking for increased grip.

Aiding this are adaptable front and rear shock absorbers (CDC, or continuous damping control), along with ESP stability control, traction control, 28mm-larger front disc brakes, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.

A dash-mounted "Sport" button activates firmer suspension settings, increases throttle response and quickens the steering ratio.

A lower ride height and 18-inch alloys shod with 225/40 R18-92W rated tyres are also part of the mechanical upgrade. The regular Astra’s suspension strut-front and torsion beam-rear suspension otherwise remains much the same, as does the electro-hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering.

Also part of the package are front, side and curtain airbags, climate control air-conditioning, six-stacker CD/MP3 radio audio (with remote controls on the leather-trimmed steering wheel), heated front "sports" seats, cruise control, a trip computer, power windows, electric mirrors, remote-central locking and foglights.

As with the Astra diesel, Holden would not divulge its sales expectations. However, management was confident that the SRi turbo – along with Ford’s Focus XR5 turbo – would add significantly to the European hot-hatch sales in Australia.

Like the CDTi turbo-diesel model, the SRi turbo will have a predominantly male buyer demographic. Holden expects conquest sales will also come from entry-level sports cars like the Mazda MX-5.

The previous Astra SRi turbo was available for just over a year from 2003.

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