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Opel Astra OPC - Europe

Broadcast dates : 26th February 2006
4th March 2006

The toughest trick Opel’s OPC stylists had with their numero uno performance version was to make a trick-looking car – the Astra Gsi – look trickier, without going over the top.

Dominating the front end is the deep front spoiler flanked by low-mounted fog lamps, which are recessed into the spoiler.

The main, larger air intake duct uses honeycomb mesh to denote sportiness – a-la the old Le Mans Bentleys from the thirties and such-like - and adding to the squat ground hugger approach are fatter door sills.

The rear end had to receive some optical treatment, as most Opel freaks would like to think that this is the view most other drivers would see, at least when it’s on the move.

There’s a rather overt rear spoiler and a centrally-mounted tailpipe in what Opel describes as a "trapezoidal" shape, but which to us just looks like a flattened big bore gazoom pipe.

The brakes are truly massive with multi-pot calipers.

Inside you are talking Recaro seats in either fabric and leather combos, or full leather. 

Décor strips are available in anthracite – tasty – and no fake wood or brushed alloy which is becoming passé.

All this is meaningless when you whip open the bonnet and contemplate a 177 kilowatts of turbo power – Opel style. 

Opel was always king when it came to punch, and it seems the new mill will restore things back to Superboss late '80's standards.

Torque builds from way down to peak at 2400 rpm – with 320 Newton metres on tap.
The engine internals have been suitably beefed up. Oil sprayers keep the forged pistons cool under duress, the balance shafts have been removed in the interest of lighter weight and quicker spin-up, and the turbo and intercooler have been given increased flow rates to make that 177 kilowatt power-peak a breeze.

On the handling front, the body – based on the sexier-looking three door variant – has been lowered, spring rates tensioned and dampers suitably re-valved to give at least a semblance of civilized ride quality.

How does she run? 0-100 in 6,4 - a top speed of 244.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 9,6 litres per hundred, which will have us eating our Ayrton Senna commemorative caps if any OPC owner actually achieves that.

Good news is that it will be launched at Auto Africa towards the end of the year and prices, according to an unnamed source at Opel, may well be in the current GSI R250 000 level.

Sounds like we’re in for a fun time come October.

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