Anyone who says you can’t have fun in a front-wheel-drive car will probably change their tune when the Opel Astra OPC Extreme concept reaches showrooms. The race-bred, carbon-fiber-clad hot hatch concept is set to debut at the 2014 Geneva auto show with over 300 hp from its turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, making it the fastest, most powerful Astra that Opel has ever built.
The Opel Astra OPC Extreme concept is all about high power and minimal weight, which starts with the all-aluminum 2.0-liter turbo-four. Power is routed through a six-manual gearbox and limited-slip differential to the front wheels. With direct injection and variable camshaft phasing, the 300-plus-hp Extreme is even more potent thanks to the car’s significantly reduced weight.
Carbon fiber goodies ported over from the Opel Astra OPC Cup racing car include its front spoiler and diffuser, hood, roof, aerodynamic rear wing, and wheels. Aluminum fenders also replace the standard steel. Thanks to those parts, the Opel Astra OPC Extreme is 220 lbs lighter than the regular Astra OPC, giving it a lower center of gravity, improved power-to-weight ratio, and better handling. Adjustable springs and dampers are also included, while high-performance stopping power comes courtesy of Brembo six-piston brakes. Nineteen-inch, 245/35 tires complete the track-ready package, making the Opel Astra OPC Extreme a no-nonsense racing car for the road.
It’s all business inside the OPC Extreme, as well. A safety roll bar replaces the rear seats, while Recaro seats with Schroth six-point safety belts are up front. The carbon-fiber and suede steering wheel features sporty yellow stitching, matching the exterior decals and multi-layer lacquer paint on the exterior.
The Opel Astra OPC Extreme concept is likely a near-production example of a future limited-run vehicle, which will also be sold in the U.K as the Vauxhall Astra VXR Extreme. When it eventually goes on sale in Europe it will squarely take on other front-wheel-drive hot hatch racers like the upcoming Honda Civic Type R. A battle is brewing between these two front-wheel-drive beasts — we already spied Honda testing the Civic Type R with a standard Opel Astra OPC around the Nürburgring, and the Civic Type R concept is also set to debut at Geneva.