Vauxhall's VXR'd seven-seater was always a wild child with 240hp – what must it be like with 400?
By Matt Bird / Tuesday, 19 September 2023 / Loading comments
Funny old world, the aftermarket. Just when it seems like a car probably isn’t a priority for tuning any more – too old, too rare, too weird perhaps – so it begins that slow ascent to somewhere near cult classic status. And people want to modify it all over again. This appears to be the case for the original Astra VXR and Zafira VXR; it’s been ages since they’ve been one-tyre-firing up high streets, so much so that’s it’s probably the originals that are now highly prized. But for those after a slice of old-school turbo tomfoolery, German company TurboZentrum has something on offer: 400hp.
That’s right, an overhaul of the 2.0-litre engine’s turbocharger has yielded 160hp more than stock. This promises absolute carnage, given how those front axles dealt with less than 250hp. But presumably those sufficiently invested to create a 400hp Astra or Zafira will spend some money elsewhere, too. TurboZentrum’s work begins with a new OE-spec BorgWarner blower, with the significant gains coming from a bigger compression wheel that is milled to the optimum size for airflow and therefore power output. The housing for the compressor is also redone to accommodate, and bearings upgraded. Of course, more top end punch is promised, but also a reduced load on the ‘charger because the new compressor means it ‘already delivers the stock air mass at a significantly lower turbo speed’. So tuning has focused on durability.
Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Really beefing up the turbo is the groundwork, the foundations for 400hp rather than the shortcut. TurboZentrum suggests a new downpipe, intercooler, air intake and exhaust to properly take advantage of what the Stage 2 turbo can do. The ECU will need a refresh to best manage the hardware.
A big job, then, but there are surely no easy ways to 400hp from a fairly old 2.0-litre turbo. And it’s hard not to be just a little bit intrigued by what a Zafira VXR could be like the same sort of power as an Audi RS3. Hilarious, presumably, at least for a little while. On its own, the new turbo costs €1,844.50, or just under £1,600. Those already with a VXR can send their turbo off to be reconditioned for a little less, but clearly this is a proper investment. As for the inevitable question… yes, there is a Zafira VXR on PH, yes it’s Arden Blue and, yes, it looks the perfect 400hp donor car. There’s even a recently replaced clutch and flywheel to (maybe) cope with it all…
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