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First look: Opel maxes out Astra GTC coupe

Slick: The GTC coupe could become the flagship of the local Astra line-up.

Production GTC coupe emerges and could top Opel’s Astra line-up in Australia

27 Apr 2011

OPEL has revealed the showroom-ready version of its wild GTC Paris concept, which will make its global debut at September’s Paris motor show as the Astra GTC coupe – and could top Holden’s born-again Astra line-up in Australia next year.

The Astra GTC is the latest of three range-topping Opel model variants to appear in the past two weeks, following last week’s limited-edition Corsa Nurburgring Edition and the Insignia OPC ‘Unlimited’ on April 15.

GM Holden has announced 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 will consider every model in the Corsa, Astra and Insignia ranges, and the OPC/GTC trio would make the perfect flagships for each model.

Revealed simultaneously in Germany and England overnight by Opel and its British sister company Vauxhall, the Astra GTC pictured in two computer-generated images looks almost identical to the GTC Paris concept from last year’s Paris motor show.

Dressed in the same sleek three-door body, it differs only in its use of toned-down front and rear bumpers with revised foglights and a less radical rear diffuser with single (rather than twin) exhaust outlets.

52 center imageLeft: Opel Corsa OPC Nurburgring edition. Below: Opel Insignia OPC 'Unlimited' edition.

As we’ve reported, Holden – which designed the five-door version of the Cruze that will join the sedan on sale here later this year – was responsible for styling one of three upcoming Opel models, including the Astra GTC a small Corsa-based SUV codenamed Junior and the all-new Astra convertible.

However, we understand Holden Design did not have a hand in styling the Astra GTC.

At Paris last year, GM said the GTC concept measured 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.

GM Europe says full details – including pricing – of the Astra GTC, which is in final validation testing, will be revealed in six weeks on June 7, when European order books will also open.

It said the first three-door version of Opel’s new-generation Astra hatch, which is yet to be made available in Australia, will still be capable of accommodating five adults and will also feature all of Opel/Vauxhall’s latest technologies and “unique chassis features”.

Under the bonnet is likely to reside a variation of the 213kW twin-scroll turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine that powered the GTC Paris show car, and which could also power a locally developed Holden Special Vehicles version of the Cruze, to replace the discontinued 177kW/320Nm Astra VXR.

The Astra and Cruze both share General Motors’ Delta II platform, making an engine transplant from the Astra to the Cruze relatively simple.

The Astra GTC will be Opel’s answer to Ford’s Focus RS, which was launched in Australia last year with a Volvo-sourced 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo engine producing 224kW and 440Nm.

The GTC engine employs double camshaft phasing and twin balance shafts, and drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and a sophisticated limited-slip differential that Opel says controls traction without limiting the torque.

To neutralise torque-steer, the front-drive Ford features a patented two-piece steering knuckle – called RevoKnuckle – working in tandem with a sophisticated front differential and ‘Control Blade’ independent rear suspension.

It’s understood Holden is also considering an ‘SS’ version of the Adelaide-built JH Cruze, potentially powered by a variation of the 132kW/230Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Ecotec petrol engine employed in the Astra, which could be positioned above the newly announced Cruze SRi-V flagship.

Likely to be available in both sedan and hatch guises, the Cruze ‘SS’ would be Holden’s direct answer to the VW Golf GTI, Mazda3 MPS and Ford’s upcoming Focus ST/XR.

The reveal of Opel’s range-topping new Astra GTC coupe was preceded last week by the announcement of the limited-edition Corsa OPC Nurburgring, which increases power over the standard 1.6-litre Corsa OPC turbo from 141 to 154kW and peak torque from 250 to 280Nm during overboost.

The limited-edition Corsa, just 500 of which will be produced, also features a mechanical multi-plate limited-slip front differential, a newly-developed Bilstein-fettled performance chassis and unique high-performance Brembo brakes.

Opel says its most powerful Corsa can sprint to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 230km/h.

As we’ve reported, Opel has also released the Insignia OPC ‘Unlimited’ sedan in Europe, featuring the same 239kW Holden-sourced twin-turbo 2.8-litre V6 as the standard Insignia OPC, but an unrestricted 270km/h top speed.

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