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New Opel Astra: Images, info

2009-05-13 07:23
After yesterday’s teaser images, Opel has leaked details and images of the fourth generation Astra.

Despite the company facing an uncertain future due to pending bankruptcy issues at parent GM, Opel’s latest Astra hardly looks like a budget design exercise.

Based on GM’s Delta platform (which underpins the Chevrolet Cruze and Volt electric car) the new Astra is a significantly more substantial car than the current, third generation, version - it measures a full 170mm more from bumper to bumper, including a wheelbase stretched by 71mm. In fact, at 4.42m in length, it’s 220mm longer than Golf VI...

Neat bonnet creases and a generous grouping of LEDs around the headlights create a fetching front styling design.

Smaller engines, with turbo plumbing

Engines for the new Astra range are much in line with current, downsizing, design trends.

Petrol power will start at 1.4l capacity, good for 73kW in naturally aspirated configuration, with turbocharged versions of the 1.4l engine producing either 88- or 102kW, depending on trim level.

Rotational force generated by the forced induction petrol 1.4s equates to 175- and 200Nm respectively, comparable to figures produced by chief rival Golf VI’s 1.4 TSI engine in base form. Mainline Astra petrol power is predicted to peak with a 1.6l turbo producing 132kW.

Considering Opel’s European roots, there are appealing compression ignition engine options too, with the buy-in point predicted to start with a 1.3l turbodiesel producing 69kW, with CDTi nomenclature Astras rounded off by a 2.0l offering 117kW.

In view of VW’s Scirocco success, Opel now has a worthy rival to benchmark its Astra GTC two-door against, and expect an OPC version to appease Opel performance fans with 2.0l, 198kW, turbo power.

Contemporary features

Dynamically the new Astra will benefit from Opel’s FlexRide system which offers adaptive damping calibrated to three modes – "Standard’, "Sport" and "Tour".

Opel’s Eye Front Camera System will be onboard the Astra too, taking driver nannying to a new level.

This camera system – a technical joint venture between Opel and German lighting technology giant Hella - recognises and interprets both traffic signs and road markings, thereby warning the driver if they are exceeding the speed limit or about to overtake on a solid line.

Featuring new, lower emission, yet powerful engines and neatly proportioned, strikingly executed exterior styling, one hopes the interior – an example of which was not amongst the batch of leaked images – has made a quantum leap in design too.

Despite the GM restructuring deadline of 1 June hanging like a sword over Russelsheim, Opel’s design and engineering staff have continued to work with admirable resolve, especially if the new Astra is something to judge them by.

Astra is expected to make a public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and go on sale in Europe shortly thereafter, with GTC and OPC derivatives arriving next year.

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