The Astra is sporting a new look! This is the GTC Paris, and it gives us our first look at how the rakish new three-door Vauxhall will shape up.
It’s been styled to preview the high-octane VXR version – but strip away the twin tailpipes and the enormous 21-inch forged wheels, and you’re looking at the production-spec Astra three-door. All that’s missing is a tax disc and number plate!
The flowing shape takes its lead from the elegant five-door Astra and handsome Insignia, and aims to put the much more conservative VW Golf and Ford Focus in the shade. Slim, eagle-eye headlights are topped off by LED ‘eyebrows’ which dominate the front end. A sharp centre line runs the length of the bonnet, leading to a low grille.
Curving ‘blades’ in the door panels create a dynamic profile, as do the sharp creases running from the door handles to the tail-light clusters. These features work together to give the GTC a honed, narrow look at the front and a purposeful, broad-shouldered stance at the rear. At 4.46 metres long, the stylish concept offers space for five people, yet still maintains compact and sporty proportions.
Under the skin, the GTC Paris features a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, with direct injection. This is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, and incorporates stop/start.
The layout is a hint to the powertrain of the next Astra VXR – the unit is likely to deliver in excess of 300bhp as Vauxhall chases arch-rival Ford’s Focus RS.
Lesser variants will get the same range of engines as the five-door – that means 1.4-litre turbo and naturally aspirated 1.6 petrols will be joined by a 2.0-litre diesel, as well as a super-efficient 1.7-litre ecoFLEX oil-burner.
The firebreathing VXR won’t be the only performance version to be offered, though. A 210bhp 1.6-litre turbo SRi is designed to take on the VW Golf GTI.
Under the skin, the GTC has a revised chassis and widened track, which provide more clues to the VXR’s spec. An electronic limited-slip differential features, as does Vauxhall’s FlexRide adaptive damping system. The latter alters the throttle, steering and suspension responses to suit drivers’ tastes.
To cope with the huge power output, and prevent torque steer, the flagship is expected to use the HyPerStrut front suspension layout from the Insignia VXR.
The interior will remain secret until the wraps come off the GTC at Paris, but through the windows of the car in these pictures, you can see the wing-backed bucket seats that will grace the VXR. The rest of the design will be similar to the five-door’s, with a high-quality finish, plus special branding.
The Astra VXR arrives in the UK late next year, at the same time as the three-door. We’ll have more details ahead of the GTC’s debut.