Opel Astra 2007: New Edition of Successful Model
With new, more economical engines, a refined look, enhanced technology and an expanded equipment range, the new edition of the Opel Astra is available at dealerships from February 2007 at a practically unchanged, affordable price starting from 16,160 euros. The whole Astra family benefits from the model update, from the five-door and station wagon variants to the sporty three-door GTC and dynamic, elegant TwinTop cabrio-coupé. The new Opel Astra made its world premiere at the Bologna Motor Show in December. With about 1.3 million units sold since its market launch in March 2004, the third-generation Astra plays a leading role in the fiercely competitive compact segment and in European sales statistics. The bestseller will now be available with a range of eleven different engine versions, producing between 90 and 240 hp.
“The Astra is our number one volume model and of considerable importance, having successfully asserted itself in an extremely fierce, competitive market. We naturally put a great deal of care and attention into the new edition. As a result, one of the most attractive and successful cars is now of even greater value and significance. Noticeable plus-points for customers such as refined performance, economy, comfort, safety and looks will help solidify the Astra’s position in Germany and Europe.” said Carl-Peter Forster, President GM Europe.
New engine range
With two additional 1.6-liter gasoline engines and two 1.7 CDTI common-rail turbo-diesels (available from spring 2007), the Astra engine range offers additional highly efficient propulsion units that are already technologically capable of meeting future emissions standards.
1.6 ECOTEC: Cam-phase meets drivers’ needs
The new 1.6 ECOTEC with 85 kW/115 hp offers improved elasticity and smoothness compared to the 1.6-liter engine with 77 kW/105 hp (10 percent more output as well as around three percent less consumption). The improved torque curve is especially noticeable during driving, peaking at 155 Nm and available across a wide rpm range. This translates into powerful propulsion power even at low rpm. With this new engine, the Astra GTC accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 11.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 193 km/h.
The advantages of the new 114 kilogram four-cylinder, four-valve engine, which has a power-to-weight ratio of 0.99 kg/hp, are based primarily on “Cam-Phase” technology. This involves continuous variable valve timings via intake and exhaust camshafts that are adjustable to the driving situation. Both camshafts are controlled seamlessly and independently from one other by engine management in real time, with two compact, vane-type hydraulic adjusters controlling the timing. This allows the intake and exhaust valve timings, and therefore also the engine characteristic, to be more spontaneous and better match each power and performance requirement, which the driver “defines” via the accelerator pedal and gear change.
The simple and yet so effective TWINPORT concept, which was introduced by Opel into all gasoline engines with up to 1.6 liters displacement in 2003, was furthered developed with the 115 hp 1.6-liter engine. Its cylinder head has two separate intake ports per cylinder, just like the 1.6 TWINPORT. While until now manifold flaps were required to ensure stable and consistent combustion, the 1.6 ECOTEC functions without these flaps in its new, two-stage, variable length, plastic intake pipe. This is thanks to the optimized inlet port alignment in combination with cam-phase. The dethrottled gas exchange improves fuel efficiency: the 115 hp GTC and five-door Astra require only an average of 6.3 liters of super unleaded gasoline per 100 kilometers when fitted with the five-speed Easytronic transmission.
The high rates of exhaust gas recirculation, a pre-requisite for reduced emissions, are typical of TWINPORT engines. Over one quarter of the cylinder charge during partial load comes from previously combusted fuel. Instead of the additional external line, an even more efficient internal recirculation system is in use. This enables the hot and combustible exhaust gases to be directly recycled within the cylinder head.
For the first time in this engine class, Opel also uses laser-structured cylinder barrels in the 1.6 ECOTEC. The exactly defined, minute recesses are etched during a special production stage, and act as a micro pressure chamber system. This leads to minimized piston friction and has a positive effect on abrasion, fuel and oil consumption. Other technological highlights of the high-tech engine include the map-controlled thermostat and new, low-drawn exhaust manifold with integrated catalytic converter.
1.6 Turbo ECOTEC: Light, compact powerhouse with Overboost
A similarly impressive balancing act between performance and economy is achieved by the 132 kW/180 hp 1.6 turbo engine, which replaces the 2.0-liter turbo with 125 kW/170 hp. The lighter engine, which also offers taxation benefits thanks to its smaller displacement, consumes an average of only 7.7 liters per 100 kilometers and boasts improved driving performance (Astra GTC top speed: 223 km/h; zero to 100 km/h in 8.2 seconds). Compared with its predecessor, consumption is reduced by 1.3 liters for a total consumption reduction of more than 13 percent. At the same time, the 131 kilogram compact engine − the most powerful series production turbo unit in this displacement class − produces considerable acceleration.
The Astra GTC reaches 100 km/h from a standing start in 8.2 seconds, and has a top speed of 223 km/h. In addition to the immediate turbo response, the pronounced elasticity of the engine with sequential manifold injection is also noticeable. This enables the GTC to accelerate from 80 to 120 km/h in fifth gear in just 8.4 seconds. The normal maximum torque of 230 Nm is available constantly between 1980 and 5500 rpm, and together with the standard six-speed manual transmission, is an essential precondition for top driving performance.
A special feature of the new engine is the turbocharger’s electronically controlled Overboost function. This enables a quick boost of torque to up to 266 Nm. The electronics recognize the need for Overboost by the speed with which the accelerator pedal is pressed. The additional power is available for a maximum of five seconds; after that, the control unit seamlessly regulates the torque back to the normal value of 230 Nm. This function helps the driver to complete quick and safe overtaking maneuvers.
Other construction highlights of the 1.6 turbo engine, which has an output per liter of 112.3 hp, include a rapid-response compressor with external water cooling integrated into the exhaust gas manifold. Its turbine reaches over 200,000 rpm. Other features include the air-cooled intercooler, exhaust valves that are cooled by sodium in the shaft, and oil-spray cooling of the flat pistons. There is also the stronger crankshaft drive, friction-optimized operation of the camshafts, and the new two-mass flywheel with torsional-vibration damper improves running smoothness. The preconverter directly behind the turbine outlet supplements the main underfloor catalytic converter and improves the quick response of the three-way exhaust emission control.
Seven gasoline engines from 1.4-liter fuel-saver to 2.0-liter power turbo
Including the new engines, seven gasoline units are now available for Astra customers − a range which sets the standard in this class. Current units include the extremely efficient 1.4 TWINPORT ECOTEC with 66 kW/90 hp, which like the 1.6-liter version with 105 hp also features Opel’s efficient TWINPORT fuel-saving technology. Introduced in November 2005, the 1.8 ECOTEC with 103 kW/140 hp is also very popular among Astra buyers. In order to optimize consumption and performance, this high-tech engine also operates with two variable camshafts, just like the new 115 hp 1.6-liter unit.
The Astra’s gasoline engine range also includes a refined 2.0 turbo unit with 147 kW/200 hp and the top-of-the-line 2.0-liter turbo with 177 kW/240 hp and 320 Nm of torque, which is reserved exclusively for the high-performance Astra OPC, pushing the powerful three-door car into established sports cars territory. The Astra OPC accelerates from zero to 100 km/h within 6.4 seconds and has a top speed of 244 km/h − at an average consumption rate of just 9.2 liters per 100 kilometers. Depending on the engine, a five or six-speed manual transmission, a five-speed Easytronic or a four-speed automatic gearbox is available.
Wide range of diesel engines expanded
The range of diesel engines for the new edition Astra is just as rich in variety. It has been expanded with the 1.7 CDTI units with 81 kW/110 hp or 92 kW/125 hp. The two high-tech diesel engines with six-speed manual transmission as standard and maintenance-free particulate filter – a standard feature of all Astra diesels – will replace the 1.9 CDTI with 74 kW/100 hp and the 1.9 CDTI with manual transmission and 88 kW/120 hp in the course of spring 2007. The 120 hp 1.9 CDTI with six-speed automatic gearbox remains in the range. Just like the gasoline engines, these boast increased power with lower consumption and reduced emission levels compared to the predecessor units. Both 1.7 CDTI engines feature common-rail direct injection and four-valve technology with swirl control for pronounced refinement, high responsiveness and exemplary fuel efficiency. For the five-door Astra for example, engineers cite a saving of more than 0.5 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers.
The new Astra’s selection of ultra-modern turbo diesels, from the 1.3 CDTI with 66 kW/90 hp to the 1.9 CDTI with 110 kW/150 hp, is wider than ever and unique in this class. This is also true of the modern transmission range. Depending on the diesel engine, the customer has the choice between the sporty manual gearbox, automated Easytronic manual transmission and comfortable converter gearbox − all of which are six-speed versions.
The panorama windshield is the best example of an Astra component which remains unrivalled in this class. For the first time in a series production car, the new edition of the Astra Cosmo GTC offers a field of view never seen before. The around 1.8 square meter glass panel extends from the end of the hood, over the front occupants’ heads to the middle of the roof. Unlike contemporary glass roof designs, there is no crossbeam to obstruct the view, enabling driver, front and rear passengers to enjoy an unrestricted view similar to that in the cockpit of a sport airplane. This makes journeys a special experience, be they across country or at night through a brightly-lit city.
The rigid panorama windshield is made from 5.5 mm-thick laminated safety glass. Numerous crash simulations and real tests showed that the passive safety is equal to that of the steel roof model, thanks to the GTC’s strong A and B-pillars and an additional cross-member between the B-pillars. The foil integrated in the panorama windshield prevents it from splintering or penetrating into the passenger compartment in the event of an accident. The same foil as in the lightly green-tinted panorama windshield, called Solar Protect Glass, also plays the role of a warmth-absorbing layer. In addition, a sophisticated shading system helps keep interior temperatures regulated: the steplessly adjustable shade is easy to operate via a knob in the ceiling. It disappears into the rear roof section when not in use. In total, 11 patents were registered for this system.
Interiors in feel-good quality
The new-edition Astra’s interior boasts surfaces with an even more high-quality look for the center console, additional chrome rings for the air conditioning and radio controls, as well as new trim for the instrument panel and doors.
The top Cosmo variant, for example, is enhanced with luxurious piano lacquer surfaces and inlays on the center console and steering wheel. Usually reserved for upper-class vehicles, these applications create additional personalization options. With cashmere beige upholstery designs, or saddle brown leather in the GTC, the Astra interior can be completely customized in exclusive feel-good quality. The CD 30 MP3 infotainment system, the most popular choice among Astra customers, is available from February with steering wheel remote controls and a stereo connection for external audio equipment, such as an iPod.
Other standard equipment enhancements include the IDS sport chassis for the Astra Sport and Board Info Display (BID) for the Astra Sport, Cosmo and OPC variants, new 16-inch design wheels for the Edition equipment line, new 16-inch alloy wheels for Astra Sport and Cosmo, as well as new wheel caps for the 16-inch steel wheels. The Cosmo variant now also features fog lamps as standard.
Step-by-step to dream car
Astra customers who wish to configure their dream car down to the last detail now have even more choice. The range of carefully selected Opel accessories extends from fitted sun blinds for the rear window and rear side windows to the mobile DVD player with seven-inch screen. The robust fiberglass roof box with a volume of 480 liters and the Opel DUO ISOFIX child seat for children weighing between nine and 18 kilograms are also easy to mount. The OPC line package 1 is exclusively available with the Astra GTC and includes a front and rear spoiler, side sills, rear apron and alloy wheels in various designs.
Five-star safety for maximum passenger protection
When it comes to safety equipment the new-edition Astra is at the top level, just like its predecessor. The consumer protection organization Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) rated the passive safety of the new-edition Astra at the highest level − just like the predecessor model. The Astra was awarded the top rating of five stars for passenger protection. With a total of 34 points, Euro NCAP classified it as one of the safest sedans in the compact class (small family cars). The Astra also achieved very good results for child protection: the five-door model was awarded four stars and 39 points.
The Astra comes standard with the extensive SAFETEC safety package, including shape-optimized thorax/pelvis side airbags in front. These complement the two front airbags and the head curtain airbags that stretch along the entire length of the interior in the left and right roof pillars. Both outer rear seats come with ISOFIX mountings for child seats as standard.
New chassis electronics
The new edition of the Astra offers driving performance with pronounced agility and precise handling with a high level of driving safety. These qualities helped the Astra win numerous comparison tests by the European specialist press and in customer polls. The basis for this agility is the IDS (Interactive Driving System) chassis with McPherson front axle and patented torsion-beam rear axle. Every Astra comes standard with the Electronic Stability Program ESPPlus, Traction Control TCPlus, front and rear disk brakes, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Brake Assist and electro-hydraulic power steering.
An exceptional dimension of balance between driving comfort and active safety is once again provided by the optional adaptive IDSPlus chassis with electronic Continuous Damping Control (CDC). This integrated chassis control system, in which the control units and sensors of ESPPlus, ABS and CDC exchange data constantly, was introduced to the compact class for the first time in the Opel Astra. Owners also benefit from IDSPlus when it comes to driving fun: the sport mode is activated at the touch of a button, resulting in more direct suspension, steering and gas pedal response, as well as modified shift points in the automatic and Easytronic transmission variants for greater sportiness.