Wednesday, 8 June 2011

New Car: 2012 Vauxhall/Opel Astra GTC

GM has unveiled the Astra GTC, ahead of its world debut at the Frankfurt motor show. With four turbocharged engines, a revised chassis, and a 6 speed manual at your disposal, prices in the UK start from £18,495 for the entry-level Sport, or €21,750 in Germany. The former price tag undercuts the base Volkswagen Scirocco by £1,100.

Handling has been improved thanks to a 15mm lowered ride height, an additional 10mm to the wheelbase at 2,695mm, wider front and rear tracks by 40mm and 30mm, and bespoke HiPerStrut suspension.

The four turbocharged engines will include two 1.4T producing 119bhp (120PS/88kW) and 138bhp (140PS/103kW) with 200Nm (147lb-ft) of torque, a 1.6T with 177bhp (180PS/132kW), and a 2.0 CDTI that kicks out 163bhp (165PS/121kW) and 380Nm (280lb-ft) of torque. No automatic transmission will be available so customer's are limited to a slick-shifting 6-speed manual gearbox.

In the pipeline, a range-topping VXR/OPC variant will join producing around 286bhp (290PS/2013kW) from a 2.0T petrol unit.

Two trim-levels will be available in the UK; a base Sport and SRi. The Sport is equipped with 18” alloy wheels, DAB digital radio w/USB port, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, height adjustable driver's seat, electric door mirrors, and electric front windows. The SRi trim features a leather steering wheel w/cruise control, trip-computer, tinted windows, and front fog lamps.

Adaptive bi-xenon headlamps w/LED daytime running lights, satellite navigation system, FlexRide adaptive suspension system, upgraded audio system, and a range of alloy wheels will be offered optionally, ranging upto 20”. Vauxhall claims upto 20% of Astra sales will go towards the GTC due to its practicality.

“The GTC is a high-profile addition to the Astra range and one that’s sure to appeal to anyone who loves cars and driving,” said Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall’s Managing Director. “Better still, its chassis has been fine-tuned by Vauxhall Engineering Centre in the UK, reflecting the importance of our Millbrook-based operation, and also the fact that the UK will be the dominant market for GTC when it arrives in showrooms later this year.”

Mark Adams, design chief of Vauxhall/Opel said in a statement: "We wanted the Astra GTC to be the ultimate expression of Opel's design language ‘sculptural artistry meets German precision' and to embody our passion for the automobile."

Adams said in a Vauxhall statement: “We wanted the Astra GTC to be the ultimate expression of Vauxhall’s design language, and to embody our passion for the motor car,” said Mark Adams, Vice President of Vauxhall/Opel design. “But we didn’t want emotion to get in the way of functionality: the Astra GTC still needed to be clever, affordable and practical.”.

Order books opened yesterday, ahead its world debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

Press Release:

New Opel Astra GTC: Sharp Looks, Sharp Drive

• Stunning design: Sports Coupé with dramatic proportions and road-planted stance

• Exclusive chassis layout: All GTC versions receive the high performance front strut

• Perfect for everyday use: Roomy, flexible and packed with innovative technologies

Rüsselsheim. Opel will have a busy fall this year with the introduction of three new icons: the revolutionary electric Ampera with extended range capabilities, the new generation Zafira Tourer flexibility master, and the Astra GTC three-door sports compact. The Astra GTC will have its world premiere at the 64th International Motor Show in Frankfurt am Main, September 15 - 25, 2011.

The new Astra GTC stands out with sharp design and driving capabilities. On the outside, sculpted shapes with precise accents add drama to clean, sweeping coupé lines. And on the road, all Astra GTC versions benefit from a premium front axle layout with HiPerStrut - High Performance Strut - that ideally combines with the clever Opel patented Watt's link rear axle to provide unmatched stability and the sharpest driving precision. Only very few, radical sporty cars in the segment offer such a sophisticated front axle architecture.

"The Astra GTC is the sporty member of the Opel family," says Karl-Friedrich Stracke, Chief Executive Officer of Opel/Vauxhall. "It has been designed and engineered in our facilities in Rüsselsheim to be a highly desirable sports coupé with invigorating driving performance while remaining affordable, roomy and flexible. We're convinced that it will bring a breath of fresh air into the sports compact segment".

The GTC is the ultimate Astra in design and driving dynamics. Accounting for 15 to 20% of all Astra sales, it will further energize the successful Opel compact family, which increased its segment share in from 8.3% in 2009 to 11.4% in 2010.

Muscular body design structured by sharp tendon lines:

The new Astra GTC is very much inspired by the Opel GTC Paris Concept revealed last fall at the Mondial de l'Automobile in . A compact, sporty five-seater with coupé appeal and dramatic proportions, the Astra GTC has a unique design: it does not share any exterior element with other members of the Astra family, except for the outside rear view mirror housing and the rod antenna. Six of the seven 17- to 20-inch wheel designs on offer are also GTC-only features.

"We wanted the Astra GTC to be the ultimate expression of Opel's design language ‘sculptural artistry meets German precision' and to embody our passion for the automobile," says Mark Adams, Vice President, Opel/Vauxhall Design. "However, we did not want emotion to overshadow functionality: the Astra GTC is a clever and affordable dream car."

In profile, the designers have maximized drama by limiting the amount of lines: just three create tension and sculpt the shape of the Astra GTC. A fine, crisp line that sweeps downward from the front door to the bottom of the rear fender and energizes the body side, the Opel signature blade is introduced in the same direction as in the Insignia. A second line encapsulates the door handle and stretches to the rear, emphasizing the GTC's dramatic stance by spreading the surfaces to a fine undercut and a broad shoulder. The third line following the clean, sporty silhouette of the roof is finished in chrome and accentuates the window graphic, which guides the eye to the sharply integrated spoiler.

The clean front features Opel's typical centerline crease and is accented by intense, slim eagle-eye designed headlamps featuring "wing-shaped" daytime running light graphics. These act as parentheses around the refined chrome emblem bar and the separate, dramatic trapezoidal grille, which is placed lower for a race track feel that hints at a sporty character.

The shoulder section is the most dramatic area of the Astra GTC. Its powerful design gives the car imposing proportions and a very purposeful road presence in highlighting its low, wide road-holding stance. The line from the C-pillar slides into the tail and curls around into the rear spoiler, which is ingeniously integrated into the continuing roof line. Optional LEDs highlight the stretched "wing-shaped" motif of the tail lamps.

Exclusive high-tech front suspension layout sharpens steering feel:

The Astra GTC mechatronic chassis features an exclusive, high-tech front suspension architecture, similar to the one of the Insignia OPC, that improves handling performance and provides the sharper steering demanding drivers expect in a sporty-looking car.

Compared to the five-door Astra, the ride height of the GTC is lowered by 15 mm while the basic dimensions of the chassis slightly increase. Due to extended control arms in the rear, the wheelbase grows by 10 mm, from 2,685 to 2,695 mm. Both tracks are wider, at 1,584 mm (+ 40 mm) in front and 1,588 mm (+ 30 mm) in the rear. This allows for the accommodation of sporty wheels with enhanced tire diameter, which improve both stability, road stance and visual impact.

The major change, however, is not visible to the naked eye. All Astra GTC versions, regardless of the powertrain and trim level, are fitted with an extra feature, normally only available in high-end sports cars: front suspension with High Performance Strut (HiPerStrut). Compared to the standard McPherson suspension from the Astra, HiPerStrut has reduced kingpin inclination and offset and a shorter spindle length. This improves wheel guidance and grip, reduces torque steering reactions and increases cornering power, offering Astra GTC drivers the sporty, crisp feel they expect, with enhanced precision and feedback.

In addition, HiPerStut reduces tire flops, which allows the car to accommodate larger-diameter wheels. This up-level layout that glues the car to the road guarantees driving excitement to all GTC drivers even before the very sporty versions planned for the near future are available.

The layout of the rear axle combines a compound crank with a Watt's link. This clever construction, exclusive to Opel, has demonstrated its multiple benefits in the Astra already. While it is lighter and more compact than a multi-link axle, it provides great comfort, excellent noise insulation and outstanding stability/control.

The Astra GTC chassis has been designed to perfectly integrate Opel's intelligent, fully-adaptive FlexRide chassis control system. It enhances driving stability with better cornering behavior and steering response by automatically adapting to road conditions, cornering speed, vehicle movements and individual driving style. Better road holding and vehicle balance also enhance driving safety in emergency situations. In addition, FlexRide offers three different settings, enabling a change to the car's character on demand by the push of a button: one can choose anytime between the balanced Standard mode, the comfort-oriented "Tour" mode or the more active "Sport" mode.

Four engines to start with - sporty versions to come soon:

The Astra GTC can be ordered immediately with a choice of four powertrains - one diesel and three gasoline units.

The upgraded 2.0 CDTI common-rail turbo diesel engine with output raised to 121 kW/165 hp is fitted with a diesel particulate filter and a six-speed manual transmission. Opel's new Start/Stop technology which reduces fuel consumption in urban stop and go traffic is standard equipment. The 2.0 CDTI combines excellent performance with high efficiency. It delivers up to 380 Nm of torque thanks to an overboost function and allows the Astra GTC to reach 100 km/h in 8.9 seconds. Top speed is 210 km/h. The combined fuel consumption does not exceed 4.9 liters of diesel per 100 km and CO2 emissions are 129 g/km. With its 56-litre fuel tank, the Astra GTC 2.0 CDTI can cover over 1,100 km.

Start/Stop is also standard with the two 1.4 turbo-compressed gasoline engines with 88 kW/120 hp and 103 kW/140 hp outputs. Both have a six-speed manual gearbox, deliver 200 Nm of torque and require 5.9 liters of fuel per 100 km (139 g/km CO2). The gasoline offer is currently topped by the 132 kW/180 hp 1.6 turbo with six-speed manual transmission, which has a top speed of 220 km/h.

More powertrains will be offered around the world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The sportiest versions including the future high-performance OPC will follow in 2012.

Innovative technologies enhance driving fun and safety:

Whatever the engine, driving an Astra GTC is a rewarding experience thanks to its outstanding chassis. Fun - as well as safety - can be enhanced by a host of innovative systems.

The second-generation Opel Eye front camera system benefits from improved and extended functionalities. The Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) can identify more signs than before and the information it provides is supplemented by input from the navigation system. In addition to the familiar Lane Departure Warning (LDW), the camera now also supports a new Following Distance Indication function (FDI) that visually informs the driver about the distance to the vehicle ahead.

The new, fourth-generation Bi-Xenon Advanced Forward Lighting (AFL 4) makes its debut in the Astra GTC. In addition to the nine functions from AFL+ - which include a High Beam Assist that switches the high beams on and off depending on the presence of other vehicles - it can be enhanced with an Intelligent Light Ranging system (ILR) that uses the front camera from the Opel Eye to measure the distance from the vehicle ahead and adjust the headlamp low beam pattern. This allows it to continuously optimize roadway illumination without blinding. With these ten functions, the Astra GTC features the best lighting package in the segment.

Stylish, purposeful design:

Compared to its competitors, the Astra GTC does not compromise on functionality despite its coupé-like design. It does not only accommodate five persons in its cockpit, its flexible luggage compartment also provides 370 to 1,235 liters of space - over 200 liters more than the competition. The storage volume in the cockpit has been improved by 50% over the previous generation GTC, also thanks to the electric park brake that frees up space in the center console - exactly where storage is the most accessible.

The design of the Astra GTC high quality cockpit combines sculptured shapes and dynamic lines, and its distinct sporty character is enhanced by new fabrics, colors and decors on both the Enjoy and Sport executions. New premium leather trims mixing Alcantara and Nappa applications are available. The standard sport steering wheel with enhanced grips also highlights the GTC's exciting character.

To fit all kinds of drivers, the front seats in the Astra GTC offer the widest range of adjustments in the segment. Ergonomically enhanced front seats with eight-way adjustments, four-way lumbar and upper leg extension, certified by the independent back health experts from the AGR organization (Aktion Gesunder Rücken - Action for Healthy Backs) are an accessible option with prices starting at 390 euro.

The Astra GTC has been designed and developed at Opel's in Rüsselsheim and will be built in .

Four powertrains and two trim levels can be ordered as of June 7, 2011. Prices so far range from 21,750 euro (Astra GTC Enjoy 1.4 Turbo 88 kW/120 hp) to 27,855 euro (Astra GTC Sport 2.0 CDTI 121 kW/165 hp).

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