Vauxhall Ampera takes on the Channel Tunnel

Unsurprisingly, the stunt was undertaken by BBC’s Top Gear – the magazine version this time – and it involved descending 75 metres below the English Channel to travel the length of the service tunnel and back.

However, they were warned any car taking on the task would need to travel using electric power only for the duration of the time in the tunnel.

The Vauxhall Ampera has an official electric range of 50 miles but measured over 60 miles thanks to frugal driving.

At the other end of the tunnel, the Ampera was able to turn on petrol-electric mode to extend the range by another 300 miles.

The Vauxhall Ampera delivers just 27g/km of CO2 emissions in petrol-electric mode and a massive 230mpg.

The upmarket five-door hatchback is one of the first to use Vauxhall’s new design language including those boomerang-shaped front headlamps.

Available in three premium trim levels, all models get CD/MP3 player, DAB digital radio, USB connectivity, cruise control, LED daytime running lights, alloy wheels and heated door mirrors.

The Vauxhall Ampera is on sale in the UK now from £30,000 for the entry-level Earth trim. A mid-range Positiv trim adds leather seat facings, heated front seats, leather-covered steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors and a rear view camera.

Vauxhall Ampera Electron models at the top of the range add a sat-nav and DVD player, a 30gb hard drive and a BOSE sound system with six speakers and single subwoofer.

The new Vauxhall Ampera, the European Car of the Year 2012, is available to buy now from Perrys Vauxhall dealership.