The Vauxhall Astra is one of Britain’s most popular cars, and is also known as the spectacular flop that was the Saturn Astra in North America. While North Americans didn’t take too kindly to the compact, Belgian-built hatch, Europeans adore the Astra, but the next generation will face some stiff competition from the upcoming Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Golf.
The Vauxhall GTC concept should give us a glimpse of what the next Astra looks like, and while GM certainly has the styling part down, the guts of the car make us even more optimistic. A 2.0L turbo four-cylinder, 6 speed manual gearbox and big wheels feature prominently, as does a start-stop system. We’d wager that this particular car will pave the way for some kind of sporty hatch. After all, most Astras are sold to families and police departments, where diesel engines and steel wheels are the equipment of choice.
Gallery: Vauxhall GTC Concept
Hit the jump to see the official press release
GTC PARIS CONCEPT MARKS VAUXHALL’S NEXT BOLD DESIGN MOVE
* Three door Astra-based concept stars on Vauxhall’s Paris Show Stand
* Dynamic, sweeping lines make bold statement about Vauxhall’s design evolution
* Innovative suspension and drivetrain features hint at performance remit
Luton–These are the first official pictures of Vauxhall’s GTC Paris Concept, which gives the strongest hint yet to the Astra Sport Hatch’s successor and is set to cause a stir when it receives its debut on September 30 at the Paris Motor Show.
Mark Adams, Vauxhall/Opel’s Vice President of Design, has described the GTC Paris as, ‘bold, pure and iconic’ in its appearance. Vauxhall has hinted that a production version will not stray far from the rakish lines of the concept, and if the GTC moniker were to be adopted, it would be the first time that a Vauxhall has been so named.
At 4.46 metres, the GTC Paris offers ample space for five people, yet still maintains a svelte and sporting appearance. Adams’ team has maximised ‘tension’ in the design by limiting the amount of lines in the car’s profile, and leaving the impression that the car’s highlights and surfacing are ‘pressed’ on to the concept’s 21-inch wheels.
Vauxhall’s signature blade mimics that on the Insignia and creates a fine, tense crease along the rocker panel. This combines with a second line running from the door handle to the rear of the car, emphasising both a fine undercut and broad shoulder. A third line following the silhouette of the roof is finished in fine brushed aluminium accentuating the window graphic and leads to a sharply accented integrated spoiler.
Slim, eagle-eye shaped headlamps, flanked by LED running lights with chrome surrounds dominate the front of the GTC Paris. A sharp centreline crease runs down the bonnet (a trademark styling cue from Vauxhalls of yore) and leads to a dramatically low trapezoidal grille incorporating a chrome emblem bar.
At the rear, the imposing features of the concept are enhanced with LED tail lights, showcasing a long, stretched ‘wing’ night time graphic.
Underpinning the GTC Paris is a specially designed chassis with an extra-wide stance. Hinting at the car’s power potential is an electronic limited slip differential and an updated version of Vauxhall’s FlexRide adaptive damping system. The new Astra’s unique compound crank / Watt’s link rear suspension provides excellent packaging and secure, driver-focused dynamics.
A four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, with direct petrol injection and Start/Stop technology is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, providing drivers with high levels of performance and fuel efficiency.
More details about the GTC Paris Concept will be revealed before the Paris Motor Show.