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A promising new generation Astra for a new generation Opel?
Premium mechatronics for the mainstream compact cars

2010 Opel Astra, front view.

Longer body: 4.42m, compared to the current 4.25m.

APN

19 May 2009.

It is certainly true that current times are tough for all car manufacturers, albeit in different degrees of course. But it can be hardly conceivable to see some highly respected mainstream car brands, such as Opel, vanish as it did happen to Oldsmobile, Plymouth or other defunct or eternally hibernating brands.

The reason cannot be simply in the brand's name equity, but in Opel's products and technological know-how. Whoever gets the luck to own Opel after General Motors will find a mine of talents and a wide product line-up that can compete with any major car brand, if development is continued as an investment in the future, not as another short sighted, selfish speculation exercise.

2010 Opel Astra, front-side view.

More generous wheelbase (+71 mm) with increased cabin space.

Is it necessary to remind ourselves that Opel's current problems are a consequence of it's parent company's troubles, as General Motors is undergoing a critical restructuring itself. Otherwise, Opel's development and production costs are after all as German as those of a successful  brand like... Volkswagen.

Through the uncovering of the new generation Astra images and some technical information, Opel is precisely showing a significant facet of a potential ready to exploit by a serious structure that can carry the company through the current global crisis, to the success it deserves. Just as General Motors did in 1929.

2010 Opel Astra, rear-side view.

A dynamic inverted blade on the flank that visually connects to the movement of the rear window and C-pillar.

Being in one of the most important segments worldwide, and not just in Europe, with the growing interest in consumption an emissions reduction, the all-new, compact Astra shows upscale product characteristics in a mainstream car brand, with exceptional technologies for the C-segment, such as chassis mechatronics confirming the German technical DNA with the European handling language.

2010 Opel Astra, rear.

A cab-forward hatchback with a falling rear roofline.

Developed in Rüsselsheim, Germany, the new Opel Astra will get its world premiere on September 17 at the 2009 IAA motor show in Frankfurt, first in the five-door hatchback body.

The German brand says that the next generation Astra brings many features to the compact class that the Opel Insignia (European car of the year 2009) first introduced to the midsize segment (D-segment, upper medium).

These advanced technologies include an all-new mechatronic chassis (combination of electronically controlled mechanical functions), one of the most advanced lighting system, a front camera that recognizes traffic signs and seat technology with innovative ergonomics.

2010 Opel Astra, tail light image.

Double wings in each of the rear lights.

As Alain Visser, Vice President of Opel says: “Opel’s... expertise of making new technologies accessible in compact cars is... highlighted with this tenth (Astra) generation. (It) carries the spirit of the Insignia into the compact segment.”

  Design

Hardly can a compact car be as beautifully designed from any angle, with expressive three-dimensional edges and curves, all in this harmonious fluidity.

Thanks to its longer wheelbase (+71 mm), the new Astra offers increased passenger space compared to the current generation's 2.615-metre wheelbase, with a longer body of 4.42 metres, compared to the current 4.25 metres.

Proportions are those of a cab-forward hatchback with a steeply-raked windshield and falling rear roofline. Mark Adams, Vice President of Design, General Motors Europe says: “The design themes introduced in the Insignia, like the wing and the blade, have been given a fresh interpretation in the Astra... This is why you see double wings in each of the rear lights and a dynamic inverted blade on the flank that visually connects to the powerful movement of the rear window and C-pillar.”

Opel says that the interior continues the wing and blade design theme, with clever and flexible storage solutions.

  Chassis

The 2010 Astra comes with an all-new chassis. The longer wheelbase, wider tracks and new rear axle construction should contribute to enhance agility, stability and comfort.

The chassis was developed as a mechatronic system that integrates mechanical functions and electronic controls. Like the Insignia, it can come with the Opel FlexRide electronic driving system, offering three settings – standard, Sport and Tour – while being fully and continuously adaptive to changes in driving style and cornering speed.

Other technical features introduced to the segment by the new Astra include a new generation of bi-xenon Advanced Forward Lighting (AFL+) that changes both intensity and reach to suit prevailing drive and road conditions, using nine different lighting functions.

2008 Opel Astra, front view.

2008 Opel Astra, side view.

For comparison: current Opel Astra generation.

The Opel Eye front camera system recognizes road signs and warns the driver when the car inadvertently departs from its lane.

  Engines

The powertrain line-up features eight Euro 5 compliant engines. All except the lowest powered units are equipped with six-speed transmissions. A new compact automatic gearbox will debut with an Active Select, clutch-free selection.

  Diesel

The CDTI turbo diesel line-up includes four common-rail, multiple (direct) injection units from 1.3 to 2.0 litre with outputs ranging from 70 kW/95 hp to 118 kW/160 hp. All are equipped with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). An ecoFLEX version with particularly low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions will be part of the program.

  Petrol

Four petrol (gasoline) engines with 1.4 and 1.6 litre capacities deliver from 74 kW/100 hp to 132 kW/180 hp. A new, downsized 103 kW/140 hp 1.4 Turbo replaces the current naturally-aspirated 1.8 litre engine. High-tech features in the 1.4 Turbo give 14 percent more torque with sensibly lower fuel consumption than the current 1.8 litre.

The Opel Astra have consistently been in the top-three list of Europe’s best-selling compacts (the segment accounts for 27 percent of the total car market), representing a third of all Opel sales (under the Vauxhall brand in the UK), with an average volume of half a million units per year.

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