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Opel opens Astra GTC for business in Europe

Concept to reality: The production Astra GTC's looks are almost unchanged from the Opel GTC Paris concept from last year's Paris motor show.

Astra GTC coupe transformed by Opel from Paris concept to production reality

8 Jun 2011

OPEL has issued official details and photos of its production-ready Astra GTC coupe ahead of its initial public outing at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Britain on July 1, six weeks before its official world debut at the Frankfurt motor show on September 15.

The sleek coupe – which is likely to serve as a hero model for the Opel brand when it arrives in Australia next year – is claimed to share only its door mirror housings and radio antenna with the five-door Astra.

Pricing starts from €21,750 ($A29,776) in Europe, where the GTC will go head-to-head with the Volkswagen Scirocco and Renault Megane Coupe.

The most powerful Astra GTC until the range-topping OPC arrives will be powered by a 132kW 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, good for a top speed of 220km/h.

Opel promises more powertrains to be announced at the Frankfurt motor show in September, and up to 220kW expected from the OPC’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

52 center imageIf that powertrain makes it to Australia as expected, it would take the hot hatch battle up to the three-door Megane in 184kW RS250 spec and the 195kW VW Scirocco that arrives next year in R guise.

Lesser GTC variants might be pitched at the Volvo C30 and Alfa Romeo’s Giulietta.

Few styling changes are apparent between the 2010 GTC Paris concept and the production car, with only the front and rear bumpers, wheel size and the interior’s red sports seats toned down.

The concept’s gaping air intakes, dual exhausts and rear splitter can be expected to return for the OPC, which Opel has confirmed for European debut next year.

Opel says the GTC, which it estimates will account for 15 to 20 per cent of European Astra sales, has a wheelbase 10mm longer than the five-door, while the track also increases by 40mm at the front and 30mm at the rear.

The changes to chassis dimensions allow larger wheels, which combined with a ride height 15mm lower than its more practical sibling, provide the GTC with short overhangs and a purposeful stance that suggests high levels of cornering stability.

Further differentiating the GTC from the Astra hatch, and part of Opel’s effort to make the car fun to drive, is a HiPerStrut front suspension setup similar to that of the 270km/h Insignia OPC and Saab 9-5.

Opel says the configuration offers improved wheel guidance and grip, reduces torque steer and increases cornering power while offering high levels of precision and feedback compared with the standard Astra’s MacPherson strut arrangement.

Rear-end suspension is a modified version of the Watt’s link – with extended control arms providing the GTC’s extended wheelbase – as fitted to the standard Astra and 1.4-litre versions of the Australian-built Holden Cruze.

The Watt’s link is said to be lighter and more compact than a multi-link axle – as fitted, for example, to the Volkswagen Golf – while providing a comfortable ride, low noise and high levels of stability and control.

Three-mode adaptive damping that automatically adjusts to road conditions and driving style will be optional.

Confirmed so far are four engines, opening with an 88kW version of the 1.4-litre ‘iTi’ turbo-petrol engine fitted to the Australian Cruze. Next up is the Cruze’s 103kW powerplant. Both are equipped with idle-stop, return claimed fuel consumption of 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres and output 139 grams per kilometre of CO2.

Offering a performance and economy mix will be the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, producing 121kW and 380Nm of torque, with combined fuel consumption of 4.9L/100km enabling a claimed tank range of 1100km. A low 129g/km CO2 output belies its 8.9 second 0-100km/h sprinting ability and 210km/h top speed.

The GTC’s interior layout is virtually identical to that of the standard Astra in that it resembles the cockpit of the Cruze, except more upmarket and with a space-saving electric parking brake. The GTC goes further, featuring a standard-fit sports steering wheel and new premium upholstery options including Nappa leather and Alcantara.

Opel is also promising practicality, with a 370-litre boot capacity eclipsing the five-door Volkswagen Golf’s 350 litres.

As GoAuto reported in April when Opel released computer-generated images of the production Astra GTC, GM Holden has announced that the light-sized Corsa hatch, small Astra hatch and mid-sized Insignia range will be the three core models for the Opel line-up it plans to introduce in Australia next year.

Holden will not comment on the chances of their local release, but has said it would consider every model in the Corsa, Astra and Insignia ranges, and the OPC/GTC trio would make the perfect flagships for each model.

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