Opel’s (and Vauxhall’s) Astra has been a love-hate affair for myself; see I quite fancy the more recent OPC/VXR twins of recent years due to their rapid performance and uber-slick styling.
Yet back in the late 90’s, early 2000’s, it was a nameplate adorned with mediocrity; especially its comer-inducing styling that sat in stark contrast to the radical Ford Focus of its era.
Fortunately, GM’s European subsidiary is not in the business of repeating those earlier mistakes and has been putting the finishing touches on its next-generation small hatch – illustrated exclusively here in spicy GSI hot-hatch guise.
Athletic New Design:
There is nothing too much wrong with the out-going Astra; a reasonably attractive car with solid fundamentals. The MY2016 refines the formula and gives the car a leaner, toned, more athletic attire. Elements like the bodyside shoulder line and lower door scallops are very pronounced, whilst the rear door cut-line almost has an VW Golf vibe to it.
At the front, IntelliLux full-LED matrix headlamps have horizontal chrome elements that flow towards the upper portion of the grille. Lower down, the foglight’s are enclosed in chrome blade-like housings – not too dissimilar to the design treatment adorned on Opel’s stunning Monza Concept.
On The Inside:
A bugbear of the current Astra interior is its button-laden center stack; whilst not too complicated to use, it’s a visual nightmare. Good news is that the all-new car has gone for a much cleaner, button-free look with separated HVAC zones and an new touchscreen infotainment display.
Interior styling largely carries over the same theme as the old car, however it’s much more refined with premium materials and detailing – gunning directly at its Volkswagen rival for interior ambience.
What Could Drive It:
Powering the standard Astra will be a range of all-new Ecotec small displacement petrol engines. These range from 1.0 to 1.5-liters in capacity and will offer turbocharging; they’ve also been designed for hybrid capability later down the track.
What will power the rumored GSI and higher performance OPC variants remains to be seen; the former will need to be in the Ford Focus ST’s 250hp range to keep competitive, whilst the OPC/VXR will most likely punch 300hp or above.
Riding on a revised Delta platform and accompanied diet program; the new car should be at the top of the aforementioned pack with nimble handling and class-leading fuel economy – but will it be enough to dethrone the Golf? We can’t wait to find out.
A full reveal for the five-door hatch is penciled in for June with other variants like the wagon, sedan and high-performance versions being unveiled later on.
It would be interesting to see if GM had any thoughts about bringing the car to the US as a sister model to the Buick Verano.
Tell us what you think in the discussion area below.
By Josh Byrnes
Photo Renderings Copyright Carscoops / Josh Byrnes