GM Europe's New Astra Revealed
GM Europe's new Astra will be the basis|
of Holden's new small car for 2010.
(Vauxhall Astra shown above and below)
14th May, 2009
- Set to replicate current Astra’s success as best-selling British-built car
- Bold, distinctive exterior design matched with spacious, premium-feel cabin
- All new chassis with adaptive damping will raise the bar in class for comfort & handling
These are the first official images of the new Vauxhall Astra, which will debut as a five-door
hatchback at this September’s Frankfurt Show and will appear in UK showrooms at the end of the year.
Marking the sixth generation of Astra in 30 years, the new car’s design team was led by Mark Adams, the
British designer responsible for last year’s European Car of the Year-winning Vauxhall Insignia.
With its strong, cab-forward silhouette, steeply-raked windscreen and sloping rear roofline, the new
Astra makes ingenious use of many of the design features found in the Insignia, but in a fresh and
innovative way. Also like the Insignia, it has spent over 600 hours in the wind tunnel, benefiting
performance, economy and overall refinement.
“We’re continuing with the same premium design cues as the Insignia, inside and out of the car,”
said Adams, Vice President of GM Europe Design. “However, the main design themes, like the wing-shaped
light signatures and the blade, needed an individual execution to avoid ‘cloning’ the model ranges. This
is why, for instance, you see twin wings in the rear lights and a reversed blade on its flanks.”
Underpinning the Astra’s rakish, 4.4 metre-length body, is an all-new chassis with a 71
millimetre-longer wheelbase, benefiting both passenger comfort and packaging. Wider tracks front and rear
feature, as does a new rear axle design, which not only improves stability and agility, but takes the
Astra’s ride comfort into a different league.
Enhancing the Astra’s dynamic performance still further is the option of Vauxhall’s clever FlexRide
system, a rarity in this sector which offers drivers three unique damper settings – standard, sport and
tour – while being fully adaptive to changes in driving style and cornering speed.
Pictures of the new Astra’s interior will be released soon, but in the meantime expect similar strides
in quality to those found in GM Europe's Insignia (the model that replaced the Vectra), combined with big
improvements in packaging, seat design and in-cabin storage. Mark Adams’ unique wrap-round dash treatment
will also appear in the Astra, but with a different take on that found in the Insignia.
Unique in this sector will be the Astra’s optional, latest generation AFL (Adaptive Forward Lighting),
which features bi-xenon lighting that changes its intensity and reach to suit prevailing road conditions.
A similar system was introduced on the Insignia, and is now recognised as one of the most advanced systems
The highlight of the new Astra’s powertrain line-up is the introduction of an all-new, 140 PS
turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol unit, which builds on Vauxhall’s commitment to engine downsizing and reduced
emissions/fuel consumption, while retaining the performance of a larger capacity vehicle. The 1.4T joins
three further petrol engines, which range from 100 PS to 180 PS, and four diesel engines ranging from 95
PS to 160 PS. All engines are Euro 5 compliant.
“The only part of the Astra which isn’t new is its name,” said Andy Gilson, Vauxhall’s Marketing
Director. “And that name currently accounts for around 30 per cent of all Vauxhall’s car sales, with
the five-door hatch taking 60 per cent of those sales alone – so it’s important to lead with this body
style. Not only is the Astra a crucial new model for Vauxhall, but we’re confident that its blend of
dynamic design, new-to-class technology and immense driver appeal will attract an even broader spectrum
of buyers in this sector.”