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Opel Astra GTC

Broadcast date : 13th August 2006

The reaction to the Opel GTC amongst enthusiasts has generally been one ofÖ "at Last!" Finally! An Opel that delivers in the visual department as well as in the dynamics, which weíve taken for granted for so long.

The GTC exterior may be dramatically different from its five-door GSi sibling, but inside this coupe will be pretty familiar to Opel fans.

Apart from the practicality of a rear-hatch and enough space for four adults, thereís a bold dash with clean-cut instrumentation, a familiar pattern to the aluminum console and patterned dash trims, and well-conceived remote controls on the attractive sports steering wheel.

Thereís a refreshing lack of clutter to the controls and instrumentation thatís very businesslike, and the mechanicals mean business too.

Letís face it, diesel engines donít inspire the same excitement as petrol engines do in a race track environment. But Gugu had an open mind during his exploratory laps at Zwartkops Raceway.

The Opel chassis is not bad at all in the handling department. The front end does wash away under extreme cornering, but itís all impressive, controlled by the understeer control logic.

The 1,9 litre turbo-diesel engine is commendably free of turbo lag, and the six-speed gearbox is well-matched to the typically narrow diesel power band.

In this respect itís superior to the similar two-litre diesels from VW and Audi weíve tested lately, which suffer lots of lag at very low speeds.

Gugu expected the car to be a bit twitchy under braking on Zwartkops, but the GTC behaved well.

Googs was driving in a fast-controlled style rather than really chucking it to grand-stand for the cameras, and this is the driving style that suits the GTC.

It doesnít quite match the handling benchmarks set by the Golf GTi , but at just under R230 000, itís a swanky ride for the money.

Opel Astra GTC
  • Engine: Four-cylinder turbodiesel, 1 910 cc
  • Power: 110 kW @ 4 000 rpm
  • Torque: 320 Nm @ 2 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 9,8 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 185 km/h (claimed)
  • Fuel consumption: 7,1 litres/100 km (estimated)
  • Price: R229 700
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