The new Opel Astra GTC´s sculpted shapes with precise accents and dramatic proportions make it the ultimate expression of Opel´s design language. This car manages to combine the best of both worlds: on the one hand passion and emotion, on the other a high degree of utility in day-to-day usage.
Unlike many three-door versions of existing compact hatches, the GTC will be a standalone model in Opel’s range and the ultimate Astra in design and driving dynamics. It does not share any exterior element with other members of the Astra family, except for the outside rear view mirror housing and the rod antenna.
Also exclusive for the new Opel Astra GTC is the panoramic windscreen. With no cross-member to spoil the view, it offers driver and passengers a unique driving experience and a completely new sense of space and visibility with an almost unlimited field of vision, similar to the view from a jet plane cockpit.
What do you think of the design? It looks quite striking for small hatch doesn’t it? Despite being a German vehicle, Opel’s design team is actually lead by Australian-born Niels Loeb. On the GTC, and in fact all of the current Opel vehicles, there’s a distinct styling DNA, a philosophy which stamps every vehicle as an Opel.
One of the ‘chromosomes’ of the DNA are the swooping and swishing lines. On the GTC, there are only three lines that create tension and define the outline of the silhouette. A fine, crisp line sweeps downward from the front door to the bottom of the rear fender and energizes the body side. A second line encapsulates the door handle and stretches to the rear, emphasizing the GTC’s dramatic stance by spreading the surfaces to a fine undercut and a broad shoulder. The third line follows the clean, sporty silhouette of the roof.
The atmosphere of the roomy interior is sporty and classy. There’s plenty of equipment on the top-spec GTC Sport, including sat-nav, leather trim, electric windows with auto function on both, seat warmers, and a very good seven-speaker stereo system. I found the entire multimedia unit to be quite friendly to use even there’s buttons overwhelmingly sneezed all over it. You really do have to study a bit the dash before setting off on your journey for the first time to get used to where everything is.
In terms of comfort though and the overall environment, it’s a great place to be and the ergonomics are excellent. A good driving position can also be found really easily. Opel has done a great job with the ‘Ergonomic’ seats in particular. They’re properly sporty bucket items that you snug right into. Lateral bolstering for the legs and hips is very good, while for taller drivers the front section of the front seats can be pulled out to provide additional support under the thighs.
Another innovation in the new Astra GTC I really appreciated is the driver assistance systems based on the second generation Opel Eye front camera with expanded functionality and the new, fourth generation Bi-Xenon Advanced Forward Lighting.
ENGINE AND PERFORMACE
Right from the start of the GTC’s development program the target was to deliver a driver-oriented feel to the car. The precise response of steering and dampers should not reduce comfort and performance in daily traffic. The solution is called HiPerStrut (High-Performance Strut). In all its versions, the Opel Astra GTC possesses this exclusive high-performance suspension strut. This system has been currently seen on the Insignia OPC. In its newly adapted form to the compact coupe, the new front suspension provides better handling and more responsive steering – just what sports car drivers are looking for.
The new Opel Astra GTC has been available with a choice of five engines, all of them compliant with Eur-5 and combined with six-gear manual transmissions. All are equipped with fuel saving Start/Stop technology.
My GTC was motorized by the powerful 2.0 liter turbo diesel with 121kW/165hp.
The engine performance enables the car to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 8.9 s. Its maximum speed is 210 km/h. The engine combines a powerful driving performance with a high level of economy. In fact, the average fuel consumption is a mere 4.8 liters on 100 kilometers. This is equivalent to 127 g/km of CO2 emissions. This 2.0 CDTI version of the Opel Astra GTC can travel more than 1.100 km on a tank of 56 liters.
Driving it, I can say that the performance is superb and responsive. The ride quality is excellent, able to soak up poor roads in excellent comfort.
The GTC has a kind of two-faced personality though. When you hit the Sport button and really grab the GTC by the scruff of the neck, it responds with complete obedience. It loves being told what to do, especially with a stern attitude. Turn in is sharp and the chassis feels wonderfully balanced. You can keep pushing it and pushing it and it’ll guide around with confidence and composure.
The more time I spent behind the GTC’s wheel the more I enjoyed it. It’s not overtly sporty but you’ll be well-pleased with its handling and punchy engine. This car is perfect for who wants the performance looks but without the added hooliganism. It looks fast and powerful enough, doesn’t it?
The Opel GTC is offering the German quality, a great design, especially for a conventional hatch, an innovative interior functions and the precision, matched with an excellent price tag for the top-spec ‘Sport’.