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Holden peeks at Astra Coupe

Unremarkable: The Opel Coupe will go on sale in Europe next year.

Holden may have another crack at the sporty two-door market with the Opel Coupe to be unveiled in Europe in September

22 Jun 1999

HOLDEN product planners are looking closely at a new Astra-based Coupe to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, despite an unhappy history with sexy sports coupes. Holden may have a soft spot for the Astra as it was developed under the watchful eye of the company's new boss Peter Hanenberger during his previous tenure as the head of Opel's technical centre. The new Opel Coupe will go on sale in Europe in the second quarter of next year and a Convertible is also on the way, possibly a year further down the line. Holden insiders are coy about the car's future in Australia, but production limitations may be a problem as the Opel Coupe will be built by Italian coachbuilder Bertone at its Turin studio, which only plans to build 30,000 units a year. The Opel Coupe contains Astra design elements but also looks like a downscaled Calibra, which failed to make any market impression in Australia despite its stunning looks and considerable success overseas. With the Calibra, Holden chose not to take the turbo version and it will be interesting to see if it follows the same path should it succeed in getting the new Coupe (which carries no other name). Not that a turbo helped the short-lived and unloved Isuzu-built Piazza of the 1980s. The Opel Coupe base models in Europe will be fitted with two conventional 16-valve engines, the 1.8-litre, 85kW unit fitted to the Astra in Australia and an all-new 2.2-litre aluminium engine developing 108kW. But the performance leader will be a new turbocharged 2.0-litre turning out 140kW, enough to give it a top speed of 240km/h -- 35km/h faster than the base model -- and a 0-100km/h time of about six seconds, faster than the latest 5.7-litre V8 Holden Commodores. The frameless door, sloping windscreen and smooth one-piece bumpers contribute to a low aerodynamic drag figure of 0.28. The front-wheel-drive Astra chassis has been lowered 20mm to suit the sporty nature of the Coupe and provides seating for four people. Although still under development, the photos released by Opel revealed a fully-formed vehicle, but one which many Opel insiders have criticised as being bland. Certainly it is unremarkable.

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