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Hot Opels for SA

2005-11-07 07:35

The Opel OPC range, from left is the Vectra estate, Vectra sedan, Astra and Zafira.

What's more the 2-litre 177 kW GTC, one of the most handsome cars Opel has ever made, will be accompanied by at least one other OPC version - a new Zafira OPC people-carrier - and possibly an upmarket Vectra saloon and station wagon.

Prices have not yet been fixed, but it is probable General Motors SA will bring the OPC version of the Astra GTC (OPC stands for Opel Performance Centre) in at around the price of the hot-selling Golf GTI.

No decision has been made yet on whether or not the Vectra OPCs will make it to SA, but it is hoped the luxury 188 kW V6 turbo cars can be imported alongside the other OPC models, which will hit this country early next year.

Wheels24 managing editor John Oxley is currently in Sicily, at the "toe" of Italy's "boot" (look at a map and you'll see what we mean) where he has been testing the cars alongside former Le Mans winner Jo Winkelhock.

He reports that the cars have handling that makes their competition, including the high-powered Renault Megane RS, look tame by comparison, while retaining superb driveability and tractability.

"We danced from corner to corner on parts of the old Targo Florio racing circuit like butterflies through a flower garden," he writes in his latest brief from Palermo, the capital of Sicily.

"With the latest version of IDS, Opel's interactive suspension system, and ESP Plus II, an updated version of electronic stability control, the cars handle more like rear-drive cars than front-wheelers, while the huge low-end torque means you can wring the best out of the car without constant gear-changing.

"Without doubt these are the most exciting cars Opel has ever made."

Oxley continues his tests on Monday, and will be back in South Africa late tomorrow.

Watch this page for more!

John Oxley (left) with Jo Winkelhock

  • Astra OPC gallery
  • Zafira OPC gallery
  • Vectra OPC gallery

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