Dream car or Budget, which comes first? Tell us your thoughts | No thanks

Vauxhall Astra Mk2 GTE and GTE 16V (1984 - 1991)

Last updated 1 November 2013

 
3
Fast and smooth, 16V has epic performance
Road manners not as good as they might be, scruffy handling in 16V form, hard to see out of, still has a 'yob' image

Introduction

The Astra GTE was usually a pace-setter during the bloody and sometimes crazy the hot-hatch wars of the 1980s. The launch-spec car from 1984 with 115bhp was capable of a maximum speed of 126mph, which made it the fastest in its class - and that was all down to its superb aerodynamics.

This was soon upped when the 130bhp 2.0-litre arrived in 1987. But less than two years later, the ultimate Astra arrived – the 150bhp GTE 16V. It used its Cosworth-developed XE20 red-top twin-cam to power way beyond 130mph, and the rivals could only sit and watch. But straight-line speed wasn't everything – the 16V's road manners lacked finesse, and a combination of torque-steer and poor traction, especially in the wet, meant it was often difficult to make the most of its power.

Next: Driving
 

Ask Honest John