The Opel Astra GTC concept shown at the 2010 Paris Motor Show was certainly a beautiful piece of sculpture, but it appears the production form may have the performance chops to match its good looks. New reports suggest that General Motors has tapped none other than Lotus to help develop a high-performance variant.
Although Opel engineers are largely responsible for the base GTC models, Autocar reports that the automaker has turned to Lotus’ engineering staff to help sort out the high-performance version, which will likely wear the OPC label (or VXR, when it’s sold in England as a Vauxhall). The magazine reports the company is largely focusing on chassis tuning, and not powertrain. That’s no problem, since GM’s turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 (which was also developed with aid from Lotus) will reportedly throw down close to 300 horsepower in this form.
Placing that kind of power in a front-wheel-drive vehicle, however, often leaves substantial amounts of torque steer. To counter that, Lotus is reportedly pushing for a mechanical limited-slip front differential in lieu of the electronic, brake-based system used in the current Astra OPC. Additionally, the new car is likely to use GM’s Hiperstruts, MacPherson-type struts with steering knuckles isolated from the strut itself.
That entire package is quite similar to what Ford employed with its current Focus RS. Although we’ve yet to see the next-generation RS, it seems Opel is dead set on giving Ford’s next hot hatch a good run for its money. Sadly, unlike the Focus, the Astra GTC, even in OPC form, will likely remain a European exclusive.