The Saturn Astra had its life cut short here in the United States, but its Euro-market sibling is alive and well in Europe already in its next generation. Opel will unveil its Astra GTC concept, now in its fourth generation, at next week's Paris Motor Show. The concept is being used as a launching pad for Opel to display the two-door Astra that is expected to go on sale early next year.
Opel largely retains the front end of the longer four-door Astra in its smaller two-door concept, but adds a restyled front fascia, with one center opening flanked by a pair of large air ducts. A pair of slim LED fog lights sits within the side openings, allowing added room for air to enter the engine bay. In back, a fairly simple rear bumper with a pair of slim chrome exhaust openings helps to distinguish it from a standard model. Several elegant creases on the sides of the hatchback give it a flowing and upscale look. Overall the GTC measures 14.6 feet in length, making the two-door hatchback 1.6 inches longer than the four-door model. A set of massive five-spoke, 21-inch wheels are accented by carbon-fiber center caps and inserts. Behind the impressive wheels are slotted rotors gripped by six-piston calipers at each corner.
Unique racing-style leather seats in contrasting shades replace the Astra's standard perches; for the driver, red leather is accented with black, and the same pattern reversed for the front passenger seat. Matching cloth inserts read "and the speed was pure beauty," in several languages, setting off the GTC's innovative interior design. The letters "GTC" are sprinkled throughout the cabin, including the door sills, steering wheel, and a metal application onto the front seat headrests. Brushed aluminum pedals are joined by several other metal-finish trim pieces.
The GTC concept gets its power from a 290-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection I-4 with stop-start technology. The front-wheel-drive GTC puts the power down through a six-speed manual transmission, and also features a limited-slip differential.
Although still a concept, we suspect Opel the GTC is a fairly good hint at an upcoming performance-minded Astra. Not only does the Opel GTC somewhat resemble Volkswagen's Scirocco R, but its power figures aren't far off, either. The front-wheel-drive Scirocco's 2.0-liter I-4 engine produces slightly less power at 261 horsepower, and VW may have its hands full should Opel's GTC become a reality. Neither model is likely headed to the United States, but we'll keep our fingers crossed.
We'll get a closer look at the GTC in Paris next week. Stay with Automobile Magazine for our coverage of the show.