HEADED FOR SA: Expect Opel's seventh-generation Astra to arrive locally in 2016. Image: Quickpic
• New Astra headed for SA in 2016
• New 1.4-litre turbopetrol - 107kW
• Up to 200kg lighter
• New IntelliLux LED
RUSSELSHEIM, Germany – Opel will debut its seventh-generation Astra at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show in September.
The new Astra, based on the awesome Monza concept shown in Frankfurt 2013, is built on a new, lightweight platform and will be equipped with the automaker’s latest engines.
The new Astra is under consideration for local introduction in 2016. We’ll have prices and details closer to its launch in South Africa.
UP TO 200KG LIGHTER
According to Opel: "Depending on the model it will be up to 200 kilograms - at the very least 120kg - lighter than its predecessor.
"The end result of this fitness program: agility and driving comfort are improved in the new Astra. It is more responsive, corners better and gives a much more direct overall driving experience. In a nutshell, the new Astra is more fun to drive than ever before."
The new Astra will be available in Europe with a choice of two petrol engines (1.4 and 1.6-litre) and one turbodiesel (1.6), with power outputs ranging from 77kW to 147kW.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Opel Astra
Opel says the highlight of its engine range is the new four-cylinder 1.4-litre EcoTec turbopetrol capable of 107kW/250Nm. The 1.0-litre Ecotec turbo is a capable of 77kW. The 1.6 CDTI turbodiesel will be offered in a range of outputs starting from 70kW.
The design of the new model is an evolution of Opel’s philosophy of “sculptural Artistry meets German Precision” to create a lighter, more athletic appearance instead of a muscular look.
With a total length of 4.37m it’s almost 5cm shorter than its predecessor and at 1.46m tall, is 2.6cm lower. Its wheelbase is 2cm shorter though Opel claims the new model has 35mm extra legroom for rear passengers.
Inside, Opel says its reduced the amount of control switches and buttons along the centre console for an uncluttered look.
Opel will debut its IntelliLink infotainment system in its new Astra. It’s compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay* and builds off the features smartphone users regularly use. Android Auto offers Google Maps, Google Now (with voice commands), WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify and podcast players.
Apple CarPlay offers Siri and supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third party apps.
Functions can be controlled via the large touchscreen (up to 20cm depending on specification), via the steering wheel or using voice control.
The Astra debits Opel’s new LEDs sporting, the automaker says, “glare-free high beams”. The new headlights comprise 16 LEDS, eight on each side of the vehicle, and automatically adapts the length and distribution of the light beam. Working with Opel Eye front camera, as soon as the vehicle exits urban areas, high-beam lighting is automatically switched on.
How it works:
According to Opel: “At speeds of 80 km/h, drivers detect objects at the side of the road around 30 to 40m sooner than with conventional halogen or xenon low beam lighting. This gives it around 1.5 seconds more time to react. Dazzling other road users is also not a problem.
“When the camera detects light sources from oncoming or preceding traffic, individual LEDs in the relevant zone are deactivated, simply "cutting out" the area around the vehicles. The rest of the road and its surroundings remain brightly illuminated.”
ONSTAR TO THE RESCUE
The new Astra will be the first Opel to be fitted with OnStar roadside-assistance; If any of its airbags is deployed, an alarm is triggered contacting an Opel service centre operator. OnStar also turns the new model into a 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot.
In terms of safety, it’s equipped with traffic sign assist, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, following distance indication and forward collision alert with collision imminent braking. It also has cruise control with speed limiter, advanced park assist with reversing camera and blind spot alert.
The Astra is equipped with 18-way adjustable front seats with massage function, ventilation and seat-width setting. The rear seats can be heatable as an option.
*Opel says Apple and Google has yet to make these systems available in South Africa.
NEXT-GENERATION ASTRA: The new Opel Astra sports a new design, new engines and the automaker's latest technology, including OnStar roadsid assistance. Image: Opel