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First look: Opel previews Astra three-door

Hatch hatched: Opel's GTC Paris Concept is really the new three-door Astra for both Opel and Vauxhall.

Three-door Astra emerges as Opel and Vauxhall’s dramatic GTC Paris Concept

8 Sep 2010

GENERAL Motors has revealed a sexy new hot-hatch concept that will preview the next-generation Astra ‘coupe’ from its European brands Opel and Vauxhall.

The GTC Paris Concept is guaranteed to morph into the all-new Astra three-door by late next year, when it should be launched in Europe simultaneously with a replacement for the VXR hot-hatch variant that was also sold in Australia by Holden Special Vehicles.

The mainstream Astra coupe will not be released in Australia, where GM Holden chose not to import Opel’s latest-generation Astra five-door because it would have been unprofitable, unless Holden establishes a business case for the Opel brand itself here.

If it does so, both versions of the Astra would be sold here alongside the Holden-designed and developed five-door hatchback version of the small Korean-built Cruze sedan - both of which will enter production at Holden's Adelaide plant next year.

The GTC Paris show car was designed under the direction of GM Europe design chief, British-born Mark Adams, and features ‘blade’ surfacing on the car’s flanks but reversed from the five-door Astra design, leading from the front door instead.

52 center imageLeft: Opel GTC Paris concept. Below: HSV Astra VXR.

As with the mid-size Insignia, which could also be sold here under the Opel banner, the GTC’s reversed blade surfacing creates a subtle, integrated side skirt, while a second crease runs from the front edge of the door handles to the rear lights.

Meantime, a sharp central bonnet crease is flanked by swept-back headlights and daytime LED running lights, while LED tail-lights form a “flying wing” motif below a discreet hatch spoiler.

GM Europe says the GTC concept measures 4.46 metres long, making it around 40mm longer than the five-door Astra, although a heavily arched roofline and narrow rear glass area disguise its extra length.

It also claims the car still offers “ample space for five people”, despite the fact the GTC’s roof is quite clearly lower than the five-door Astra’s.

The GTC concept is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection engine with idle-stop function and a six-speed manual transmission, while its chassis comprises the same torsion beam rear suspension as the regular Astra but adds an updated version of Vauxhall’s Flexride adaptive damper system.

“We wanted to express the most emotional side of the Opel brand and we believe this vehicle creates an appropriate visual impact to reinforce our dynamic sporty character,” said Mr Adams.

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