While sales of the newly-minted (at least for the U.S.) Saturn Astra aren't exactly setting the world on fire, we found it to be a rather good vehicle with a chassis capable of handling plenty more power when we had it in our garage. Auto Express has what they claim is an official picture of the next-gen Vauxhall Astra VXR, which is sold in its base-model form as a Saturn in the states, and it looks pretty good. Expected in Europe is a new 1.8-liter turbocharged engine sending around 240 horsepower to the front wheels and possibly a diesel as well. These engine are not currently certified for sale in the U.S., but GM's excellent 260 horsepower 2.0-liter Ecotec, as is available in the HHR SS, is ready and waiting -- and we'd love to see a Saturn Astra Redline powered by it. We'd be more than happy to see the attractive nineteen inch rims and aggressive body kit make it stateside too. As evidenced by today's current crop of hot hatches, such as the Volkswagen GTI and Mazdaspeed3, a small performance car, when done right, can sell in the U.S. Auto Express also indicates that this vehicle is likely to be shown in concept form at the upcoming Paris Motor Show in October.
[Source: Auto Express]

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