Trundle away from rest in the Vauxhall GTC VXR and perhaps the most striking thing about its dynamics is how deftly it rides. Okay, it’s not a Mercedes S-Class worrier or anything, but you would be pushed to criticise a car rolling on 245/35 ZR20 rubber for riding in such a compliant manner.
The VXR steers smoothly and accurately, too, with good stability around the straight-ahead. Coupled to good refinement, that leaves it feeling like a mature, grown-up kind of hot hatchback. Is it? Of course not. It’s a VXR, for heaven’s sake, so when you wind up the motor, on poor surfaces there’s a little tug at the steering wheel as the limited-slip differential apportions traction, and you’re off.
Pushing the GTC VXR down a well sighted, twisty road is a fast and enjoyable but slightly curious experience. Body control in all suspension modes, but particularly the firmer two, is very tight. There’s a little lean and it rolls quickly, just not very far. And from then onwards in a corner, you can really lean on the VXR.
Our maximum lateral grip figure on the test track of 0.99g mid-corner doesn’t seem to quite do justice to how much mid-corner roadholding the GTC seems to find. There are very few cars, it feels to us, that would keep up with it down a given road. Certainly, it’s fast on a test track; the 1min 16.7sec time we posted around our dry handling circuit was as fast as the last Ford Focus RS.