Astra GTC SRi 2.0 CDTi Start/Stop
new coupe-style, three-door
Astra GTC joins the Astra line-up
and keen drivers attracted by the
sporty styling wont
by the GTCs
responsive and very
agile feel on the road...
AT THIS WEEK'S UK MEDIA LAUNCH Vauxhall were keen to point out
that, priced from £18,495, the GTC costs nearly £1,350 less than the basic Scirocco
(the GTC will sell against the VW Scirocco, Audi A3, Renault Megane Coupe, Volvo
C30 and even the BMW 1 Series Coupe).
Initially customers will have a choice of six engines three petrol
and three diesels combined with two levels of trim and equipment:
Sport and SRi. A high-performance VXR version will be added in the first six
months of next year, along with a cleaner (109g/km) diesel.
The three-door Astra GTC shares no body panels with either the Astra Hatch or
Sports Tourer; only the front door handles and the aerial are carried over,
so it has a unique appearance the intention was to retain functionality
but to make it clever, practical and affordable.
the front of the GTC, a centre-line crease through the bonnet is complemented
by slim, 'eagle-eye'-style headlamps featuring wing-shaped daytime running light
graphics. Equally dramatic is the rear treatment: the rear-quarter C-pillar
and pronounced rear haunches wrap around the tail and the rear spoiler is seamlessly
integrated with the roofline. LED rear lighting optional across
the GTC range echoes the stretched 'wing' motif created by the
The long wheelbase,
and wide lower section
body, enhanced by
the flared wheelarches,
gives the GTC
a really dynamic stance
on the road...
long wheelbase, rising waistline and wide lower section body, enhanced by the
flared wheelarches, gives the GTC a really dynamic stance on the road.
On the downside, the relatively small rear side windows do nothing to help the
driver's rear-quarter visibility; and while the headroom in the rear passenger
compartment is just about sufficient for taller passengers, the 'nipped-in'
dimensions from the shoulder up also reduce the space for rear seat passengers.
To call it a five-seater is optimistic unless, that is, the rear seats are used
by three children.
Thanks to the long wheelbase there is lots of legroom in the front and just
about enough for adults in the rear. Being a three-door, access to the back
seats is not that easy for adults. However, there is a good sized boot with
380 litres of space; with the rear seats folded this goes up to 1,165 litres.
Talking of space, in line with the current Astra, the GTC's cabin storage has
also been improved: by fifty per cent over that of the old Sport Hatch.
Completing the exterior styling (and standard on both Sport and SRi models)
are 18-inch alloy wheels, each having a unique design. For the first time on
a Vauxhall coupe in this class, 20-inch rims are available as an option on SRi
models, with 19-inch wheels a further cost option on both trims. On the higher-specced
SRi model, tinted glass is standard. Optional across the GTC range is Adaptive
Forward Lighting and FlexRide (£790), Vauxhall's adaptive damping system, which
I think is a must for all buyers it automatically adapts to prevailing
road surfaces and driving styles, giving drivers fully optimised handling even
in the event of an emergency situation.
the undulating Worcestershire and Shropshire roads covered during the media
test drive it was obvious that GTC models fitted with this system handled better,
absorbing the patched road surfaces far more easily than the standard suspension.
The ride was also more comfortable and the car more settled driven at speeds
over rippled and adversely cambered roads.
more extreme driving, the GTCs were put through their paces at two hillclimb
stages; one at the famous Shelsley Walsh (the world's longest serving motorsport
venue and in continuous use since 1905) and the second at Loton Park.
The GTC is certainly
sharper and more
involving to drive. It has
also adopted the new
suspension derived from
the Insignia VXR.
The result is a flat and
level ride made better by
the FlexRide, which
out the quality
of ride and makes the
car more settled at
Obviously this was not the everyday driving experience customers will experience,
but the new GTC's agility and cornering grip were very welcome here, particularly
so in the wet.
GTC has undergone steering, chassis and suspension tuning on British roads by
staff from Vauxhall's Engineering Centre at Millbrook, so Vauxhall versions
(as opposed to European Opel-badged cars) are specifically set up for our poorer
Thanks to this 'homeland' tuning, the new GTC is sharper and more involving
to drive. It has also adopted the new HiPerStruts front suspension derived from
the 320bhp Insignia VXR. And compared to the Astra Hatch's suspension, that
of the GTC is lowered by 15mm, the wheelbase is 10mm longer, and the tracks
wider (40mm at the front; 30mm at the rear).
The result is a flat and level ride made better by the FlexRide, which significantly
smoothes out the quality of ride and makes the car more settled at higher speeds.
Also significantly better, thanks to the new front suspension, is the GTC's
turn-in ability for accurate, high speed cornering there also
seems to be considerably more cornering grip from the front wheels. Keen drivers
attracted by the sporty styling won't be disappointed by the GTC's responsive
and very agile feel on the road.
High quality trim materials are a given for all GTC models, with chrome-edged
instruments in deep-set binnacles providing the driver with clear information.
All GTC models come with DAB stereo and USB functionality; SRi versions have
many other standard items including an onboard computer and leather-rimmed steering
Externally setting the GTC apart from others in the Astra range are two new
colours: Flaming Yellow and Seashell. Inside there's a selection of new materials,
bespoke to the GTC. Furthermore, a new premium leather trim is also available
as an option and brings with it a six-way adjustable driver's seat.
Power can come from either petrol or diesel units: 1.4 and 1.6-litre turbocharged
petrol engines with power outputs of 118, 138 and 177bhp; or CDTi turbodiesels
of 1.7 and 2.0-litre capacity with 108, 128 and 162bhp.
in mind the GTC's sporty nature, the best choice for most average mileage private
buyers will be the 138bhp 1.4 turbocharged petrol engine with Start/Stop.
on the boil, this unit is responsive and fun to drive. However, let the revs
fall away in the mid-range and the engine's smaller capacity shows
despite its 147lb ft of torque, the response can become sluggish for overtaking
to other smaller capacity, new-generation turbocharged direct injection petrol
engines, maximum torque is developed from 4,900rpm competitor
engines develop their grunt from 2,000rpm or less, hence the lack of response
from low to medium speeds unless the engine is worked hard.
responsiveness and fuel
economy, the pick
of the bunch is the 2.0-
litre CDTi turbodiesel.
The four-cylinder unit
puts out 162bhp
and 258lb ft of torque.
Zero to 60mph takes 8.4
seconds and the top
speed is 131mph...
This turboed 1.4 will take the GTC to 125mph and get from zero to 60mph in 9.0
seconds. Officially, fuel consumption is 47.9mpg with CO2 emissions of 139g/km.
A GTC with this engine in best-selling SRi spec will cost you £20,345.
For performance, responsiveness and fuel economy, the pick of the bunch is expected
to be the likely top-selling 2.0-litre CDTi turbodiesel. Start/Stop is standard
and the four-cylinder unit puts out 162bhp of power supported by 258lb ft of
torque from 1,750rpm. Zero to 60mph takes 8.4 seconds and the top speed is 131mph.
Officially, the combined cycle economy is 58.9mpg driven in a
spirited manner, my test car returned 43mpg. Tailpipe emissions are 127g/km
so you don't pay any road tax the first year but after that it's £95 per annum.
Company car drivers will pay 18 per cent BIK tax and it's rated as 20E for insurance.
In SRi spec this GTC costs £22,430. You'd also be well advised to spend the
extra £790 for the FlexRide suspension as it undoubtedly make the very stylish
coupe even better.
Against: Poor rear-quarter visibility, rear shoulder room tight, confusing layout
on SRi models of the centrally-positioned controls and switches. And I'm no
fan of electric parking brakes.
For: Very stylish, high road presence, sharp handling, immense front-end cornering
grip, settled and comfortable ride with the optional FlexRide but unsettled
at speed without it. It's also roomy in the front, well equipped and competitively
priced in its sector and, best of all, it's involving to drive. David
Astra GTC SRi
CDTi Start/Stop | £22,430
Maximum speed: 131mph | 0-60mph: 8.4 seconds | Overall test MPG: 43mpg
Power: 162bhp | Torque: 258lb ft | CO2 127g/km