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Opel GTC coupe confirmed for Australia

Easy as GTC: Opel’s decision to import the Astra GTC along with the rest of its launch line-up will enable it to field a sleek entrant in Australia’s resurgent compact coupe segment.

Astra GTC confirmed, Mokka micro-SUV a good chance for Oz as Opel preps for Geneva

Opel logo9 Feb 2012

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

OPEL has announced it will add the sporty three-door Astra GTC coupe to its Australian launch line-up in the third quarter of this year, alongside the five-door and wagon-bodied Astra, three- and five-door versions of the Corsa light car and the mid-size Insignia sedan and wagon.

The GTC will join a new wave of affordable compact coupes that began their march into Australian showrooms late last year with the Honda CR-Z hybrid, followed this month by the Hyundai Veloster and mid-year, the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins.

The news comes as General Motors’ German brand firms up its Geneva show line-up, with world premieres confirmed to include a sizzling high-performance OPC version of the GTC, the Mokka sub-compact SUV and, bizarrely, an electric bicycle concept dubbed RAD e (see separate story).

Opel Australia marketing and public relations manager Michelle Lang described the GTC as “the hero model in the line-up” and told GoAuto its addition to the range is “very exciting and something we have wanted to announce for months”.

Although it is still too early for the Australian variant mix to be announced, the European GTC line-up – not including the OPC flagship – is powered by a choice of turbocharged 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines plus a 2.0-litre diesel, priced at a small premium over the Astra five-door.

52 center imageFrom top: Opel Astra GTC, Mokka crossover and Astra OPC coupe.

Although based on more practical Astra variants, the GTC is extensively modified, with a 15mm lower ride height, 40mm wider front track, 30mm wider rear track and a 10mm longer wheelbase – the latter achieved through a modified version of the Watt’s link rear suspension.

Uniquely in the Astra range, the GTC also features HiPerStrut front suspension similar to that of the 270km/h Insignia OPC and Saab 9-5, said to improve steering precision and feedback, tyre grip and wheel guidance, while reducing torque steer and increasing cornering power.

The changes mean the GTC’s relationship with the Astra is similar to that between the Volkswagen Scirocco and Golf.

Opel Australia managing director Bill Mott said the company is “excited to be able to present this dynamic car to Australians, as it offers the ideal blend of emotion and functionality”.

Ahead of the 2.0-litre turbocharged Astra OPC’s Geneva world debut, Opel has issued more pictures of the car, which Ms Lang said the company is interested in importing to Australia.

She said Opel Australia is “interested in OPC altogether”, which means each model could eventually be topped with a high-performance variant here as in Europe, where OPC versions of the Corsa and Insignia exist.

Ms Lang added that although Opel’s Australian branch “would be mad not to be interested” in the performance sub-brand, its focus remains on the newly-expanded initial line-up and building the brand here.

The 206kW/400Nm Astra OPC will set a cat among the hot-hatch pigeons for it outguns all-comers by at least 16kW and 20Nm, including the Renault Megane RS250, Mazda3 MPS, Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV, Volkswagen’s R-rated Golf and Scirocco and the upcoming Ford Focus ST.

Opel quotes a top speed of 250km/h for the Nurburgring-developed Astra OPC, but is yet to announce the 0-100km/h acceleration time.

Helping keep the extra power under control are Brembo brakes and an adaptive suspension system dubbed FlexRide, linked to a switchable drive mode system – similar to Alfa Romeo’s DNA – which provides presets for the adjustable dampers, throttle response and steering.

The OPC also exclusively debuts an organic light-weight injection-moulded material on the shell of its bucket seats, claimed to reduce shell weight by 45 per cent.

Occupants of the OPC sit 17mm lower than in the standard GTC and 40mm lower than the five-door Astra hatch and wagon, and Opel claims the seats offer the widest range of adjustment in the compact coupe segment.

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