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First look: Astra blows its top

Drop-top: Astra TwinTop will eventually join this year's Tigra TwinTop in Holden's range.

Opel previews next-generation Astra convertible ahead of its Frankfurt show debut

Holden logo2 Aug 2005

HOLDEN may be about to launch its Tigra TwinTop micro-convertible in Australia, but its European GM affiliate Opel has already revealed the next-generation version of its larger Astra stablemate ahead of its Frankfurt motor show premiere next month.

As expected, Astra has joined the folding steel roof brigade for its next drop-top derivative, which follows sedan, wagon and hatch derivatives as the fourth AH Astra derivative to emerge.

Holden last month added the three-door hatch and five-door wagon bodystyles to its Astra range, which continues to include the now-superseded TS convertible – a situation it says won’t change in the short-term.

"It’s something we’re obviously looking at, but isn’t confirmed for Australia," olden’s Jason Laird told GoAuto.

"The TS convertible has been an incredible success for Holden and obviously with Tigra (TwinTop) we’ll spread the convertible message even further. So the prospect of a next-generation Astra convertible is something we’re considering." The four-seat Astra TwinTop, which goes on sale in Europe around March next year, features a three-piece electro-hydraulic retractable steel roof, 440 litres of boot space (shrinking to 200 with the roof down) and a length of almost 4.5 metres, making it as big as some mid-sized cabrios.

In Europe, Astra TwinTop will be available with four petrol engines, ranging from 105kW to the 150kW 2.0-litre turbocharged Ecotec four-cylinder capable of a 230km/h top speed, plus a 112kW 1.9-litre CDTI common-rail turbo-diesel with particulate filter.

New (optional) Astra TwinTop technology will include an adaptive IDSPlus interactive driving system with electronic continuous damping control (CDC) and steering-linked bi-Xenon headlights (Adaptive Forward Lighting).

13 center image The current Astra convertible entered production at Bertone, Italy in 2000, while the first convertible Astra from 1993 and the Kadett cabrio from 1987 together sold over 100,000 units.

Some 41,000 examples of Opel's two-seater Tigra TwinTop have already been built since September 2004, and it's due here later this year.

Astra TwinTop will be built from early 2006 in Antwerp, Belgium, alongside the Astra sedan and three-door.

"With the Astra TwinTop we are introducing another exciting niche car, while extending our model range in the important compact segment," said Hans H Demant, vice-president engineering, General Motors Europe, and managing director of Adam Opel AG.

"Four Astra versions and the Zafira represent five different car concepts on one technical basis. That makes us more attractively positioned in this segment than any other competitor." * HOLDEN has been forced to confirm the price of its Peugeot 206 CC-chasing Tigra coupe-convertible ahead of the vehicle’s launch.

Featuring an electrically operated folding steel roof, the 1.8-litre five-speed manual model will be priced from $34,990.

Holden divulged the pricing after a rival importer’s July 2005 new-vehicle price guide compiled by Robert J Pound Pty Ltd printed the detail. It seems the Tigra price was meant for the August guide.

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