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Headline:FastSaloons.com Vauxhall Vectra Sri turboTest RepoDate:29/09/2003
Source:FastSaloons.com   (Click Here for more details).OurRoadTests
   
Review:FastSaloons.com Vauxhall Vectra Sri turbo Roadtest  
Jaguar S-Type R
28th August - 5th September 2003.
10 days.
Roadtested by Neil.
The new Vectra Sri turbo comes with a turbocharged 2litre 4-cylinder producing 175bhp. It uses the same engine (detuned) that powers the Astra Gsi and VX220 turbo. The model slips into the range below the 3.2 V6 Gsi and offers a saving of just over 3,000 over that car.

From the outside there is very little to distinguish the car from the Gsi we tested earlier in the year. Discreet Sri badging is limited to the front wings of the car, whilst the rear features a 2.0T badge. The car sits on some attractive 6 split-spoke alloys which I have to admit I prefer to the wheels on the Gsi.


Things aren't much different from the Gsi inside either. This car has full leather seats, which differ from the Gsi we tested which had part leather sports seats. The seats themselves had quite a short base and featured no extendable bolster which left me with leg-ache on longer journeys. In addition the seats generally didn't feel that comfortable and are definitely the weakest point in the car's interior and ergonomics.


The interior is quite unique in the fact it has a square feel - the trim on the doors and dash meet at right angles. This helps to give the impression of space and distinguishes the car too. The level of kit in the car is high and this particular car also has the excellent Vauxhall SatNav system. The dash looks attractive, the quality of switchgear is good. Space both in the front and the rear of the car is also quite generous.


The boot is well sized at 500ltrs: (*shots from the Gsi)


The obvious question that comes up with this car is how does it compare to the Vectra Gsi? Weight-wise the Sri is less than 20kg lighter than the Gsi. Power-wise it is down 33bhp and 26lb ft. Taking into account the weight, the Sri has 20bhp/tonne less than the Gsi whilst torque is only 10 lb/ft/tonne less. 0-60 takes the Sri 8.1secs (officially) vs. 7secs in the Gsi. A more telling figure is the official 30-50 time, which shows that the Sri is actually quicker than the Gsi (5.5secs vs. 6secs) - both in 4th gear. The Sri is obviously geared better.

This is all well and good but what does the car feel like on the road?

Initial impressions are that the car is quite good. The 2-litre turbo engine is noticeably less in your face than the one found in the Astra and VX. In fact the turbo lag is smoothed out and it is almost unperceptable where the blown power joins in. The car feels quite quick which is good seeing as the last two cars I had driven were a Jaguar XKR (being reviewed for our new site www.Autoroadtests.com) and my own Alpina B10.

The week of the test I had to cover quite a lot of miles and so the Sri was driven everyday over a variety of roads - the majority being dual-carriageway and motorway. The ride didn't feel as bouncy as the Gsi and there also felt less roll during corners. The engine is nowhere near as audibly satisfying as the 3.2litre lump in the Gsi but once wound up the car made good progress. The gear box suits the engine too and is pleasant enough to use.

Economy on the car isn't bad (31.7mpg) but not significantly better than the Gsi (28mpg), which shows the turbo works hard to produce its power. 80mph in 6th gear shows 30.1mpg in instant economy which fits with the official figures. The car also still feels like it has some go even in 6th.

On the twisty stuff the car fairs better than it's bigger brother. Where the Gsi felt a bit foxed by corners the Sri is still in contact. I was surprised the weight difference was not more, but perhaps the weight distribution is at work. Whatever the reason the Sri is more fun to push and also maintains your confidence in what is happening. Comparison to the MG ZT1.8T is fair - although the MG leaves the Vectra behind in pure driving focus.


Conclusion
So Gsi or Sri. Well there is no disputing the attraction of the 3.2 V6 - you feel like you're driving the top of the range, you can hear it too. But the price difference, similar performance and better handling make the Sri a better bet. It would be interesting to see what the Sri would feel like if it has the full potential of it's turbo, but that would just close the gap with Gsi even closer.

In the end if you want to cruise the 3.2 is the better car, if want some fun choose the Sri.


Thanks to Vauxhall for the loan of the car.










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