After considering one of these for a long time, I finally gave in and bought one. Paid quite a lot over the going rate for it, but at this end of the market many of the cars I saw were not looked after and just not tidy enough or had mechanical faults.
This is a SRI 200+ model, so it has the Z20LER engine that sits in the range between the Z20LEL (170bhp) used in a number of other Astra models and the Z20LEH (240bhp) used in the Astra VXR. Described as 200+, this is specced as a 200bhp engine and while not ‘Lotus fast’, it has a very smooth torque delivery that just seems to pull and pull through the rev range. All have the M32 6-speed manual gearbox and this one must have had the bearings changed already as there’s no movement in the gear stick or whine.
Apart from condition, why this car? It’s all about spec. This is, I think, the first one of its age I’ve seen with as many options on it and I am hoping that the spec will entice me into keeping it for a long time.
- AFL (xenon Adaptive Forward Lighting , that swivels left/right as you steer)
- IDS+ (electrically controlled magnetic dampers with a sport mode that tightens up the ride)
- Sight and Light (automatic headlamps and rain sensing wiper controls
- Cruise Control
- Climate Control
- Electric folding door mirrors
- Self-dimming rear view mirror
Unusually, I know the previous owner and this factored into both the purchase price and my willingness to travel to the South coast to look at it. Dan bought it late last year from a local dealer and then set about getting it as it is today, covering off the immediate jobs I’d do as well (service, cambelt kit change, coolant and brake fluid change) as well as having the wheels refurbished and a pair of new Bridgestone tyres to make the set match. It even has both keys.
- Fit towbar (saved from my last Mk5 hatch)
- Recover security code from car and generate car pass
- Set convenience preferences up in the various ECUs (auto locking, auto mirror fold)
- Fit Vauxhall CDC40 DAB/CD changer head unit and UHP Bluetooth gateway
- Keep it at a factory standard specification
Observations for future maintenance / attention:
- Cam Cover gasket weeping (like they all do, but needs replacement)
- Battery seems weak (engine turns over fairly slowly – could be normal for this engine)
- Clutch has very little travel before slipping (pulls in OK, so not concerned yet)
- Both headlamps need polishing to counter chips and sun damage to outer lacquer layer
- Drivers seat worn on bottom bolster
- Drivers door card marked on top outer corner