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Opel Astra GTC Sport Coupe
road test

by Mark Walker

20th March, 2013

Home > Road Tests > GM > Opel


Related stories:
Opel introduces "Capped Price" servicing
13th September, 2012
Opel announce dealer locations
28th June, 2012


Until the recent Australian release of the Opel Performance Centre (OPC) range of cars, the Opel Astra GTC Sport coupe was Opels closest thing to a hero car in Australia. Despite the OPC range taking the mantle convincingly, the GTC Sport coupe has the makings to enjoy a positive future in the Australian market.

Test Car particulars

The vehicle driven is the Opel Astra GTC Sport coupe finished in the very distinctive Flaming Yellow with black trim.

Model background

The Astra model is well known to Australian drivers thanks to Holden using the nameplate from as early as the mid 80s when it was simply a rebadged Nissan Pulsar. After a brief absence of the Astra name, Holden started importing Opel made variants in the 90s, continuing through the TR, TS and AH series before suspending imports in 2009.

Always popular with buyers, the Astra is much improved in its latest J series evolution.

The GTC variant is the three door coupe which debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011 and arrived on Australian shores in 2012. The Astra is also sold in Australia as a five door hatchback and the Sports Tourer which is a five door wagon.

Variants and Prices*

The GTC is available in two spec levels. The entry GTC is equipped with a 1.4 litre, four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and is currently priced for a limited time from a competitive $29,990 drive away for the manual version (conditions apply). Auto adds $2,000*. The GTC spec still includes a very generous level of equipment and leather seats. Its interesting to note that Opel have already responded to the market to discount the Astra. The original manufacturer's list price* when launched in 2012 was $28,990* plus on road costs.

The GTC Sport is currently priced from $35,990 drive away and is only available in manual.

The test car was fitted with Premium paint ($695*), Premium Forward Lighting Pack ($2,000*) and the FlexRide chassis control system ($2,000*), pushing the price to $39,685*.

Driving the Astra GTC Sport

The GTC Sport is powered by a punchy 1.6 litre four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine which produces maximum power of 132Kw at 5,500 rpm and 230Nm of torque at 2,200 rpm. The little turbo produces surprisingly decent performance and the six-speed manual transmission compliments it well.

Acceleration is a breeze through the lower gears although the statistics dont exactly flatter. Opel claim the GTC Sport takes 8.3 seconds from standstill to 100 km/h but the car feels quicker than that. If you want outright acceleration, the Astra OPC is much faster, taking just 6 seconds to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h.

Opel have managed to include large 19 alloy wheels on the GTC and maintain the balance between handling, appearance and ride comfort very well. The ride is very comfortable although the big wheels do not cope well with pot holes. The test car was fitted with the optional FlexRide system which allows three different suspension settings: normal, touring (aimed at comfort) and sport mode. In addition to subtle changes to the ride characteristics, if you switch to sport mode you also get funky red lighting on the instrument cluster. We completed the majority of our drive in normal mode and hence were happy to live without the FlexRide option.

Living with the Astra GTC Sport

The Astra GTC Sport is easily the most stylish of the new Astra models when it comes to appearance. The GTC sits 10mm lower and has a slightly longer wheel base than the Astra hatchback. The big wheels and sports lower body kit finish the exterior very well.

The interior quality is pleasantly high. The GTC Sport is trimmed in black leather as standard. The brushed aluminium dash inserts and moody red feature lights set it apart from other vehicles in the segment and give off a feeling of quality and class.

The fronts seats are heated and 6 way (mostly) manually adjustable. The lumbar adjustment is power operated. The seats even include the adjustable cushion extenders often found on other more expensive German cars a nice touch perhaps not appreciated by many.

The OPC line steering wheel is sculpted for comfort. The soft leather feels great and it looks sporty thanks to silver inserts and the subtle flat bottom. The leather shifter and sports alloy pedals are also taken from the OPC line.

The infotainment system is generously equipped to include standard satellite navigation with 2D and 3D maps as well as integrated Bluetooth & iPod connectivity but it lets itself down by being too fiddly to use. Another downside is the Bluetooth connection does not permit audio streaming and bizarrely, does not switch off when the car is turned off if you are on a call. Normally, the system disconnects allowing you to continue your call on the mobile phone and walk away from the car. This one does not stop until you hang up on the call even if you lock the car.

Space for rear occupants isnt great, particularly headroom and access for taller people is difficult. That said the back seat is fine on short trips for average sized or short adults and kids can jump in and out with ease.

The rear seats are split folding and there is also a ski hatch offering extra flexibility for cargo. The boot itself is a very useable 380 litres with the rear seats upright and expands up to a capacity of 1,165 litres with the rear seats both folded down.

The exterior mirrors are electric as youd expect but also automatically fold when the car is locked/unlocked. Parking is assisted by sensors both front and rear.

Safety

Standard safety features include dual front, front-side and full-length curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, pedal release system, electronic stability programme and traction control.

Daytime running lights, electric park brake and hill start assist are also standard. The test car is fitted with the optional premium forward lighting package which includes bi-xenon adaptive headlights.

Fuel and emissions

Opel advise the fuel economy rating, using the standard laboratory test procedure, over the combined cycle is 7.3 litres per 100 km.

During our 559 kms the onboard trip computer recorded an average fuel consumption of 9.1 litres per 100 kms. Our drive experience included approximately 100 freeway kilometres, 100 kilometres of regional highway travelling with the remaining 350 odd kilometres being city and suburban driving.

The fuel tank has a capacity of 56 litres.

CO2 emissions are 171 g/km on the combined cycle from the Euro V compliant petrol-fuelled engine.

Dimensions

Length: 4,466 mm
Width: 2,020 mm (including mirrors)
Height: 1,489 mm
Wheelbase: 2,695 mm
Boot capacity: 380 litres

Towing

The Astra GTC Sport has a towing capacity of 720 kg for an unbraked trailer and 1,450 kg for a braked trailer.

After Sales

The Astra is supported by a warranty of 3 years or 100,000 kms, whichever comes first, which is the market norm.

Service intervals are 15,000 kms or 1 year. All Opels are currently backed by Opel Service Plus which caps the pricing of the first three scheduled services. Each of the first three Astra GTC services up to 3 years or 45,000 km is restricted to a maximum charge of (currently) $299.

Opel also offer 36 months of roadside assistance to all customers with their compliments.

Conclusion

Opel Australia have done very well to include a high level of standard equipment and luxury features for the new Astra that you will pay hefty option prices for on many of its competitors. Its definitely not a Holden and well worth a look if you are looking for a stylish hatch with a bit of performance on the side.



NOTE: * Manufacturer's List Price (MLP) excludes dealer delivery fees and the numerous statutory charges (commonly known as on-road costs). Additionally, please note that all prices, fees and charges are subject to change without notice, as are the specifications.


E&OE



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