With the new Astra GTC (Gran Turismo Compact), possibly the most exciting Astra ever comes to market. The new model has been available for order since the end of 2004 and will be available at dealerships in March. The third unique model in the new Astra generation is the most dramatic interpretation yet of Opel’s new design language.
While the GTC boasts output up to 200 hp and a top speed up to 234 km/h, its striking design includes sporty proportions, a sleek silhouette with an arched, sloping roofline and pronounced tapering of the front and rear overhangs. Its body is 15 mm lower, magnifying the car’s powerful look. The expressively designed body is completely new - only the hood and front fender were taken over from the five-door Astra. The GTC’s unique character is accentuated by an optional panorama windshield – offered for the first time in a production model – which extends from the hood up to the B-pillar and creates a whole new sense of space and visibility. The panorama windshield makes its world premiere in the GTC and is available beginning in April.
The Astra GTC’s dynamic looks turn into action on the road, thanks to its specially tuned IDS chassis (Interactive Driving System) with ESPPlus, traction control and ABS brake system with brake assist. The adaptive chassis system IDSPlus, with electronic damping control (CDC - Continuous Damping Control) and the networking of all electronic chassis systems, is available as an option. With IDSPlus, GTC drivers can also activate a sport set-up at the touch of a button located in the cockpit. This regulates damper adjustment as well as accelerator-pedal and power steering response. In conjunction with automatic and Easytronic transmissions, gear shift points are also modified.
Wide range of engines: Nine ECOTEC units from 90 to 200 hp
At market launch, the Astra GTC comes with a wide range of fuel-efficient and powerful ECOTEC engines to choose from: five gasoline units (1.4 – 2.0-liter displacements, 90 –
200 hp) and four CDTI common-rail turbo-diesel engines (1.3 – 1.9-liter displacements,
90 – 150 hp). Both the 2.0-liter top-of-the-line power unit, with output of 147 kW (200 hp) and the 1.9 CDTI diesel with 110 kW (150 hp) are a perfect fit to the Astra GTC’s dynamic character. These two engines come with a six-speed transmission and are really fun to drive. The 200 hp Astra GTC Turbo sprints from zero to 100 km/h in just 7.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 234 km/h. The 150 hp 1.9 CDTI is among the most powerful diesel engines in the compact class. The unit develops maximum torque of 320 Nm at only
2000 rpm, has a top speed of 210 km/h and goes from zero – 100 km/h in 8.9 seconds.
All ECOTEC engines comply with the Euro 4 emissions standard, and the two more powerful CDTI diesel units are also available with an optional maintenance-free diesel particulate filter (DPF). Innovative TWINPORT technology, for the Astra GTC’s 1.4-liter
and 1.6-liter four-valve gasoline engines, is a further plus for the environment, reducing fuel consumption by up to ten percent under normal driving conditions. All gasoline engines up to 1.8-liter displacements and the 1.7 CDTI come standard with a five-speed manual transmission, while the 1.3 CDTI, the two 1.9 CDTI turbo-diesels and both 2.0-liter turbo gasoline units are delivered ex-works with a six-speed transmission (optional for
1.7 CDTI). Easytronic automated five-speed manual transmission (1.6-liter gasoline models) or a four-speed automatic (1.8-liter gasoline models) are available on request.
Customer-oriented: Comprehensive safety and comfort equipment
The new GTC is offered in four model lines – besides the entry-level version these are Edition, Sport and Cosmo. Standard equipment includes the comprehensive SAFETEC safety system with IDS chassis including ESPPlus, TCPlus, ABS and brake assist as well as front, thorax/pelvis side and head curtain airbags. SAFETEC also features de-coupling pedals (PRS - Pedal Release System), active head restraints in front and three height-adjustable head restraints in the rear. All GTC versions also boast comfortable features like Easy Entry and memory function for the front seats, adjustable and heatable power exterior mirrors, power windows, cruise control, remote-control central locking, a pollen filter and 16-inch wheels.
Unique: Dynamic and expressive design
The new Astra GTC owes its unique, powerful look to its sporty proportions (length/width/
height: 4290/2033/1435 millimeters). The dynamic, V-shaped front end with the Opel logo on a crossmember in the radiator grille, along with the characteristic crease flowing from the hood into the passenger cabin to the rear, clearly identify the GTC as a member of the Astra family. V-shaped tapering much more pronounced than the five-door model’s, the newly designed bumper, a modified radiator grille and larger air inlets give the GTC an individual and unmistakable face. Although the front appears wider, thanks to a reduced frontal area and a slightly improved drag coefficient (cD =0.32), the GTC is roughly four percent more aerodynamic (cD x A = 0.66 m2) than its five-door counterpart.
The newcomer is no less distinctive from the rear. Here lamps consisting of two blocks mounted on chromed surfaces are among the GTC’s striking features. The chromed surfaces magnify the taillights, making them even more clearly visible to drivers approaching from behind.
The Astra GTC’s profile is dominated by its broad shoulders and strongly contoured side sills, as well as the characteristic arched sloping roofline. Together with the angular rear side windows, this creates a particularly taut profile. All this is further underscored by black B-pillars, which blend in with the side windows, giving the impression of a single uniform surface.
The GTC achieves its sporty look without compromise in terms of everyday functionality and spaciousness. Thanks to a sporty low seating position, headroom is only slightly less than in the five-door model. The GTC has the same wheelbase (2.61 meters) and luggage compartment volume (380 liters) as the five-door Astra. The rear seat backs can be folded down in a 60:40 split (optionally 40:20:40) for more flexible use of interior space. Even though the designers snugly pulled in the side windows to give the body-shoulder more tightness, the GTC seats three adults in the rear.
Quality from day 1: State-of-the-art production facilities
The new GTC is manufactured in the Belgian Astra plant in Antwerp. Like the other two Astra plants, located in Bochum (Germany) and Ellesmere Port (England), these production facilities were modernized at a total investment volume of one billion euro, to also ensure the carmaker’s high quality standards for the newest Opel model.
The fact that GTC buyers – like all Opel customers – get a top-quality product is underlined by the two-year manufacturer’s warranty that Opel offers instead of the customary compulsory version. Opel also grants a 12-year anti-perforation warranty.
Cost of ownership is further minimized by high value retention, long service intervals, low maintenance volumes and service-friendly design.
For 2005, production of the Astra GTC is planned at a capacity of around 60,000 units. Opel´s marketing experts expect that the GTC will make up 13 to 16 percent of total Astra sales, depending on the country.
Design and body
- Unique Astra variant with expressive styling
- Sporty proportions, a sleek silhouette and muscular shoulders
- World premiere: Panorama windshield creates new sense of space and visibility
GTC Embodies Dynamics and Emotion
With its expressive and decidedly dynamic design, the GTC is the most dramatic interpretation yet of the Astra´s design language. It is the third model in Opel ’s new-generation compact class, following the five-door hatchback and the station wagon. Its most notable features are its sporty proportions (length/width including exterior mirrors/
height: 4290/2033/1435 millimeters), its short looking overhangs, and, most important of all, the muscular shoulders and the sleek silhouette, making the GTC look as if it’s crouched and ready to leap.
The GTC’s unique position within the Astra model line is emphasized by the fact that all the body parts except the engine hood, front fenders, headlights, door handles and mirrors are new. Even stronger proof is that the new three-door Astra is the first production model with a “panoramic windshield”. Opel exhibited a similarly attractive windshield back in the spring of 2003 on the “GTC Genève” study at the Geneva Motor Show.
The more extreme tapering in of the front and rear ends is one feature that adds emotion to the GTC’s interpretation of the Astra’s formal idiom, with its harmonious combination of taut surfaces and striking lines. The GTC’s body is 41 mm longer than the five-door Astra, which in combination with its sleek silhouette makes it look even more athletic. The lightness of the delicate roof is a formal element, and an optical illusion is achieved at the same time: The bumper lines, which extend over the car’s entire width, and the slimmer radiator grille make the engine hood look wider. In fact, the GTC has a slightly smaller frontal area and a lower drag coefficient (cD = 0.32) resulting in around four percent better aerodynamics (cD x A = 0.66 m2) than the five-door model´s.
Another characteristic styling element of the GTC is its arch-shaped, falling roof line. In combination with the windows, which come to a point at the rear, it gives the styling with extra tension when seen from the side. The stretched, elegant windows look as if they were made in one piece. This impression is created by the GTC’s black B pillars. In addition to the shoulder, which dominates from every perspective and no matter where the light comes from, the powerful modeled sills are striking elements when looking at the car from the side. They make the center of gravity of the lowered body look even lower.
The GTC achieves its sporty look without compromise in terms of everyday functionality and spaciousness. Thanks to a sporty low seating position, headroom is only slightly less than in the five-door model. Moreover, the GTC has the same wheelbase (2.61 meters) and luggage compartment volume (380 liters) as the five-door Astra. The rear seat backs can be folded down in a 60:40 split (optionally 40:20:40) for more flexible use of interior space. Even though the designers snugly pulled in the side windows to give the body-shoulder more tightness, the GTC seats three adults in the rear. Rear legroom is 890 mm. Everybody who travels in a GTC feels as if they are wearing a sporty, tailor-made suit, due largely to the slightly increased slope of the windows and the lower seat position.
Striking looks: unique rear-lights accents
The new Astra GTC also features very dramatic rear end styling. This is emphasized by the roof, which is shorter and drawn in significantly more than on the five-door Astra, and by the striking rear lights. These are one of the GTC’s unmissable highlights: they wrap around a long way toward the front, combining the rear and side graphic elements with the roofline on both sides. The light units consist of two colored blocks (anthracite at the top, red at the bottom) and look as if they float freely under a transparent glass cover. The special highlight here is that the chrome surface underneath the three-dimensionally shaped blocks makes them look slim and enlarges the light surface like a mirror at the same time. This improves the visibility of the flashers, brake lights and other lights for those who drive behind the GTC.
Despite all these unique features, the GTC is clearly recognizable as a member of the dynamic, successful Astra family. The V-shaped front end, the Opel “lightning flash” positioned on a chrome bar on the radiator grille and the “crease” are shared characteristics. The prominent crease quotes a classic Opel styling element, extending from the hood to the interior and then to the rear end like a continuous thread.
World premiere: Panorama windshield creates a new sense of space and visibility
Like the other Astra models, the new GTC’s interior features dynamic shapes, high-quality surface ‘feel’ and top-quality materials. A whole new sense of space is provided by the optional panorama windshield (start of production: April 2005), implemented for the first time on a series-production car and available exclusively for the GTC.
The driver and front passenger enjoy a view as if from a sport airplane’s cockpit – almost limitless freedom when looking out of the car. The 1.50 meter long and 1.16 meter wide windshield, made of heat-insulating Solar Protect glass, seamlessly extends from the hood up into the roof as far as the B-pillar, without any cross-beam to obstruct the view. This panoramic view makes driving in the mountains or in a brightly illuminated big city at night a very special experience for all the GTC’s occupants.
At daytime, a sophisticated shading system protects occupants - in addition to the Solar Protect glass - from too much sun. The stepless adjustable system is located in a space-saving fashion under the steel roof, is extremely easy to operate and includes two fold-out sun visors.
The panorama windshield is also an eye-catcher from outside, as it flows into the adjacent, black laquered steel roof, creating a visually integrated surface.
• Top speeds of up to 234 km/h and 0 - 100 km/h acceleration in 7.8 seconds
• Choice of nine diesel and gasoline engines with power outputs of up to 200 hp
• TWINPORT and Common Rail technologies reduce fuel consumption
Modern Engines for Top Dynamics and Exciting Driving
The two top-of-the-line engines available for the GTC are the perfect match for the dynamic, sporting properties of the most athletic Astra model: The 200 hp 2.0-liter Turbo gasoline engine and the 150 hp 1.9 CDTI – one of the most powerful diesel engines in its class. The big range of state-of-the-art diesel and gasoline engines proves that the Astra GTC is not only made for drivers interested in ample power but is also an attractive offer for all other customers, thanks to its expressive styling. All nine ECOTEC engines have four cylinders with four valves per cylinder, comply with the Euro 4 exhaust emission standard and combine high performance with low fuel consumption.
The top-of-the-line 147 kW (200 hp) engine makes the new Astra GTC one of the fastest cars in the compact segment. The 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine enables maximum speed of 234 km/h and 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in just 7.8 seconds. For the sprint from 80 – 120 km/h in fifth gear the 200 hp GTC Turbo needs only 0.1 seconds longer. This superb elasticity is due to the torque characteristic: 250 Nm are available over a broad rev band from as low as 1950 min-1 and the peak value of 262 Nm is reached at 4200 min-1. The ECOTEC Turbo offers this performance at moderate fuel consumption of 9.3 liters per 100 kilometers.
The 125 kW (170 hp) version of the modern 2.0-liter Turbo engine also offers lots of acceleration and pulling power while consuming even less fuel (9.0 liters per 100 km). Maximum torque of 250 Nm is provided between 1950 and 4000 min-1. The 170 hp
Astra GTC accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds and has a maximum speed
of 220 km/h.
Both 2.0-liter engines feature Opel’s typical turbo technology, which combines the exhaust manifold, turbine housing and other components into a single module to save space and weight. The engines are supplied as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The third gasoline engine option is the 1.8-liter 92 kW (125 hp) ECOTEC unit with a maximum torque of 170 Nm. It is combined with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, a four-speed automatic transmission is available as an option. The performance and consumption figures for the Astra GTC 1.8 are: Top speed of
200 km/h (190 km/h with automatic transmission), acceleration from a standstill to
100 km/h in 10.7 seconds (11.7 s) and a fuel consumption of 7.7 liters per 100 kilometers (8.1 liters/100 km).
Innovative, fuel-saving TWINPORT technology is the key to the particularly low fuel consumption and good performance of the two other gasoline engines available for the GTC. TWINPORT was developed specifically for four-valve gasoline engines with displacements of up to 1.6 liters and reduces fuel consumption by up to ten percent in real-life conditions with the help of a variabl
e intake control and high exhaust gas recirculation rates.
The 1.6 TWINPORT engine has a power output 77 kW (105 hp) and delivers maximum torque of 150 Nm. In combination with the standard five-speed manual gearbox, the Astra GTC 1.6 TWINPORT requires 6.6 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers. It accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 12.2 seconds and its maximum speed is 187 km/h. This engine is also available with the Easytronic five-speed automatic-shift gearbox, which reduces fuel consumption to 6.5 liters per 100 kilometers. For dynamic driving styles, Easytronic has a special sport program with all the shift points moved up into the upper, more powerful engine speed range for more dynamic shifting.
The 66 kW (90 hp) 1.4-liter TWINPORT unit with a maximum torque of 125 Nm has even lower fuel consumption, at 6.3 liters per 100 kilometers. The performance figures for the Astra GTC 1.4 TWINPORT, which is always combined with a five-speed manual gearbox, reaches a top speed of 180 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 13.6 seconds.
Four turbo-diesel engines with state-of-the-art common rail technology
The four common rail turbo-diesel engines for the GTC, which all comply with the Euro 4 exhaust emission standard, show that powerful but economical diesel engines are becoming a more and more important factor at Opel. The two most powerful CDTI units are available with an optional, maintenance-free diesel particulate filter (DPF) system that runs without additives.
The top-of-the-line GTC diesel engine is the 110 kW (150 hp) 1.9 CDTI that develops a maximum torque of 320 Nm between 2000 and 2750 min-1. It comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, enables maximum speed of 210 km/h and 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in 8.9 seconds. Fuel consumption is as low as 5.8 liters per 100 km.
The 88 kW (120 hp) version of the state-of-the-art CDTI turbo-diesel has the same low fuel consumption, high dynamics and smooth running characteristics, which is mainly due to the latest-generation common rail multiple injection. The 120 hp 1.9 CDTI provides maximum torque of 280 Nm between 2000 and 2750 min-1 and accelerates the Astra GTC from a standstill to 100 km/h in 10.5 seconds and to a maximum speed of 193 km/h.
The 74 kW (100 hp) 1.7-liter CDTI is equipped with a variable turbo-charger and delivers maximum torque of 240 Nm. It accelerates the Astra GTC from 0 to 100 km/h in
12.2 seconds and enables maximum speed of 182 km/h. Fuel consumption is 5.0 liters of diesel per 100 km. The 1.7 CDTI comes with a five-speed gearbox as standard, and a six-speed manual gearbox is available as an optional extra.
The entry-level diesel engine is a newly developed 1.3 CDTI with 66 kW (90 hp) and maximum torque of 200 Nm. The state-of-the-art CDTI unit featuring latest-generation common rail multiple injection and a variable turbo-charger enables a top speed for the Astra GTC of 174 km/h and 0 – 100 km/h acceleration in 13.6 seconds. The Astra GTC
1.3 CDTI needs only 4.8 liters of diesel per 100 km and comes with a six-speed gearbox as standard.
- Unique in the compact class: IDSPlus system with electronic damping control
- Sporty: GTC with lowered body and modified suspension
- Helpful: Many additional functions for more active safety and comfort
High-tech for Dynamic Driving and Safe Roadholding
Exceptional agility, driving safety and great comfort – these were the most important criteria for Opel’s engineers when they chose the suspension settings for the new Astra GTC. In accordance with its positioning as the most expressive and dynamic model in the new-generation Astra line, the GTC has been designed to convey its qualities not only visually, but also in every aspect of its road behavior.
In order to emphasize the third Astra generation’s dynamic lines and proportion even more, the body has been lowered by 15 millimeters compared to the five-door hatchback by shortening the springs. The next step the engineers took was to modify the spring and shock absorber ratings. Depending on the engine, they increased the spring rate by four or five rate points. Opel ’s suspension specialists also tuned the dampers to make them slightly firmer. The GTC, which comes with 16-inch wheels as standard, feels even more sportive, with more responsive steering and less body roll than the five-door Astra. This enhanced sports character was not achieved by an inappropriate decrease in comfort – the GTC reaches approximately the same level of ride comfort as the five-door model with the optional sports suspension.
The ideal starting point for the GTC’s fine tuning was the new model generation’s IDS suspension (Interactive Driving System), which has been much praised by experts and Astra drivers. In addition to the ESPPlus electronic stability program, the TCPlus traction control, ABS anti-lock brake system and the fuel-saving EHPS Electro Hydraulic Power Steering, it has MacPherson front suspension struts and a hydro-formed suspension sub-frame with decoupled support bearings and weight-dependent spring rates, both of which increase ride comfort. The rear wheels are located by a specially adapted torsion crank axle of double-walled U section. This design combines the advantages of conventional twist-beam rear axles such as low space requirement, low weight, and high resistance to camber angle changes with scope for exact tuning to the specific requirements of different cars within a model line.
A 15-inch brake system (16-inch on models with more powerful engines) with disks at on all wheels ensures good deceleration values in all driving situations. In case of an emergency stop, a Brake Assistant boosts brake pressure and keeps stopping distances to a minimum.
In addition a special sport chassis is available for the Astra GTC, featuring a rear axle tuned for maximum dynamics. The IDS sport chassis is standard on the GTC Sport and can be ordered for all engines with a power output of 74 kW (100 hp) or more. It is always combined with the so called SportSwitch (see below).
The IDSPlus concept: The first networked high-tech solutions in a compact-class car
While the GTC’s basic suspension already offers exemplary road behavior, the adaptive IDSPlus suspension system available as an optional extra for the new Astra generation sets new and even higher standards in road dynamics and active safety. Numerous high-tech solutions make this possible, including networking the sensors and control units of all the road dynamics systems together to create an integrated suspension control system. The various control units are networked via three innovative CAN bus systems (Controller Area Network) with a data transmission rate of 500 kilobits per second.
An essential element of the IDSPlus concept is the CDC (Continuous Damping Control) system, which used to be available only for exclusive luxury and sports cars before its introduction in the compact car category on the new Astra. CDC adjusts the characteristics of the four shock absorbers, which are controlled by solenoid valves, steplessly and continuously to match road conditions, vehicle movements and driving style. The controlled damping always offers the highest possible ride comfort, improves wheel grip in all driving situations and helps reduce braking distances.
Sports Program: Changing the driving characteristics at the push of a button
The driver more agile suspension settings with an extremely active driving characteristic can be selected from the driving seat with the SportSwitch (standard with IDSPlus and on the GTC Sport). Activating the sports mode influences the shock absorber settings (only on IDSPlus), steering and accelerator pedal response and the shift points for the automatic transmission or Easytronic automated-shift gearbox. The driver can also choose to switch off ESPPlus.
Opel’s engineers have developed even more functions for the new Astra generation which are genuinely useful for everyday driving situations and increase active safety even further. They include:
- Understeer Control Logic (UCL): In an understeer situation, speed is decreased by releasing the accelerator first, then braking both front wheels. When the ESP control range is reached, brake pressure decreases at the outer front wheel and increases at the inside rear wheel until the car is back on the chosen line.
- Hill-Start-Assist (HSA): This system makes driving off on uphill gradients more convenient and prevents the car from rolling back without having to apply the handbrake. Brake pressure is held for 1.5 seconds after releasing the brake pedal so that the driver has ample time to select a gear and push down the accelerator pedal. The brake pressure is released as soon as sufficient drive torque is detected.
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS): This system detects tire pressure deviations to an accuracy of 0.1 bar, using a special sensor in every wheel and – a worldwide first – the DDS function. The signals are sent to a central receiver inside the car, with the tire pressure value visible on the on-board computer display. If the tire pressure is 0.3 bar below a predetermined value, a warning message appears.
- Deflation Detection System (DDS): With the help of the wheel speed sensors, a warning lamp notifies the driver if a wheel’s rolling circumference decreases as a consequence of a drop in tire pressure, which would cause that wheel to rotate faster than the others. The system is designed so that the warning occurs when approximately 30 percent of the pressure has been lost. As the DDS system does not require special tire sensors, it complements the Tire Pressure Monitoring System, for instance if winter tires with no TPMS sensors are fitted.
Safety and Quality
Numerous crash simulations and real tests show that the innovative panorama windshield system in no way impairs safety or stability. All results confirm that there are no noteworthy differences to the steel roof three-door model, thanks to the GTC’s rigid A and B-pillars, an additional crossmember in the middle of the roof and the sturdy floor assembly. All tests regarding body rigidity had similar positive results.
Exemplary: SAFETEC safety system protects all the occupants
A highly rigid, deformation-resistant body forms a basis for the safety of the third-generation Astra and therefore of the new Astra GTC. These features create an equally strong foundation for the comprehensive SAFETEC safety system, which has received high praise from an independent source: During crash tests carried out by the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Program) consumer protection organization, the five-door Astra was awarded the maximum five-star ranking for occupant protection.
The well thought-out SAFETEC concept is based on the interaction of all standard active and passive safety features, including the following:
- IDS chassis (Interactive Driving System) with ESPPlus Electronic Stability Program and TCPlus traction control
- ABS with brake assist, CBC Cornering Brake Control and four disk brakes
- Front and thorax/pelvis side airbags for driver and front seat passenger, head curtain airbags in front and for outer rear seats
- Active head restraints in front, height-adjustable
- Three height-adjustable head restraints in rear
- Three-point safety belts for all seats, height-adjustable in front
- Belt force limiter and pyrotechnical belt buckle pretensioners in front
- Side impact protection
- Safety steering column (height and reach-adjustable)
- Automatic release safety pedals PRS (Pedal Release System)
- Mountings for ISOFIX child’s seat system on outer rear seats
- Automatic activation of hazard warning blinkers and unlocking of doors after airbag or belt tensioner is triggered
Driving safety is improved even more with innovative technologies that were never available in this quantity in the compact car segment before the start of the new generation Astra. Of particular note are the IDSPlus chassis system with electronic damping control and the networking of all dynamic driving systems and the steering-linked AFL-headlamp system (Adaptive Forward Lighting) with bi-xenon lamps and dynamic curve and adaptive highway light functions. Other important safety features include the automatic ALC (Automatic Lighting Control) low-beam headlight system, a rain sensor, the Quickheat heating system that prevents windows from fogging over again when the ice has been scratched off and heats the interior faster, and TPMS (the Tire Pressure Monitoring System).
High Customer Satisfaction in Opel and Astra
- Production plants have been extensively modernized for the new model generation
- Astra’s excellent value retention underlines its high quality and pays off for the customer
- Repair-friendly design, affordable insurance grouping
Improving the quality of their products has been a top priority for Opel in recent years, and this systematic process is paying off, as confirmed by the excellent results achieved by Opel models in numerous competitive tests and independent quality surveys.
In the latest quality report published in the German car magazine “AUTO BILD”,
Opel is rated the best German and European manufacturer. The quality report is published twice a year and is regarded as the most comprehensive survey of its kind. It contains evaluations of the 20 leading car brands’ long-term quality, reliability and customer satisfaction in Germany. In addition to a representative survey among some 25,000 drivers, the assessment includes the results from seven million TÜV (German Technical Inspection Organization) tests, manufacturers’ workshop and service quality, their warranties and AUTO BILD’s own long-term test experiences.
The result of the German J.D. Power customer satisfaction study is also very positive: Opel gained a CSI value (Customer Satisfaction Index) of 79.0 percent – above the average of all other brands. It is particularly pleasing that the previous Astra generation had a CSI of 80.1 percent, making it the German compact model with the best ranking.
The new Astra generation will no doubt be even more successful, and each of the new GTC models will contribute to this. GTC production started at the beginning of the year in the Astra plant in Antwerp (Belgium), where it is built alongside the five-door hatchback and the station wagon. The planned production volume for the GTC is 60,000 units in 2005.
Like the entire Astra model line, the GTC satisfies the highest quality, reliability and longevity demands. This is based on the new model generation’s solid design and the extensively modernized production facilities: GM/Opel have invested a total of one billion Euro for this purpose in the Astra plants in Bochum (Germany), Ellesmere Port (England) and Antwerp. Furthermore, quality management within the GM/Opel production system was further improved, staff underwent intensive training and a number of strict quality checks were added to the manufacturing process.
The two-year manufacturer’s warranty for new cars that Opel offers in place of the legally required, basic guarantee underlines the fact that GTC drivers, like all Opel’s customers, buy a high-quality car.
Astra buyers also make the right choice in terms of “re-sale value”. Thanks not least to its excellent retention of value, the Astra is at the top of its segment. Just weeks after the new model line had been introduced, the Eurotax Schwacke market observation company, for instance, forecast a remaining value of 51 percent of the purchasing price after 36 months and a mileage of 60,000 kilometers.
The new Astra GTC not only has excellent resale value – cost of ownership is minimized by low fuel consumption, long service intervals and minimum maintenance requirements, too. The inspection is due only after up to two years or up to 30,000 or 50,000 kilometers for gasoline- and diesel-engined models respectively. Customers also benefit from the Astra’s repair-friendly design and the resulting low workshop costs and short standstill times. Other advantages, like the possible replacement of damaged parts individually and the use of bolted rather than welded joints in many crash-relevant locations also pay off for the customer in the form of advantageous insurance premiums. Those for the five-door Astra, for instance, are as much as 20 percent lower than those for its predecessor. Insurance experts have signaled that similar rates will be offered to GTC owners.
Equipment and options
- Individual: Every model has its own distinct character
- Customer-oriented: Practical packages and many sensible extras
- Helpful: Many practical functions make everyday driving easier
Tailor-made Offer with Four Model Lines
With its choice of powerful engines, agile suspension and expressive styling, the new GTC is a perfect example of the new dynamics now to be found in the compact car category.
In addition to the entry-level version, the GTC is also available in the Edition, Sport and Cosmo model lines. These four lines differ in their optical and functional details and each has its own character (see the detailed overview at the end of this chapter). This customer orientation makes it easy for GTC buyers to find the version that best meets their requirements and personal tastes.
All Astra GTC versions feature extensive standard equipment including the exemplary SAFETEC safety system and many items that enhance comfort and convenience, such as electrically adjustable, heated outside mirrors, power windows with anti-trap protection, an Easy Entry system for the front seats with memory function, cruise control, tinted windows, a height and reach adjustable steering column, electro-hydraulic power steering, seat height adjustment for the driver and a central locking system with radio-operated remote control. Standard equipment also includes another convenient function: The “Follow-Me-Home” light keeps the headlamps on for 30 seconds in a dark drive or garage, for instance, after the occupants have left the car. The Astra GTC Edition, Sport and Cosmo feature in addition air conditioning and an audio system with CD player.
Functional features, which are also available separately, and around 50 other optional extras offer further scope for customizing. In addition, buyers can benefit from price advantages when ordering from the choice of equipment packages. And: Optional extras for the GTC include a range of innovative technologies that were never available in this quantity in the compact car segment before the start of the new generation Astra.
Of particular note are the IDSPlus chassis system with electronic damping control and the networking of all dynamic driving systems and the steering-linked AFL-headlamp system (Adaptive Forward Lighting) with bi-xenon lamps and dynamic curve and adaptive highway light functions. Exclusively available for the GTC is a panorama windshield, having its world premiere in this new Astra model.
Here is an excerpt from available optional extras for the GTC:
- IDSPlus suspension with CDC electronic damping control
- IDS sports suspension
- Panorama windshield
- AFL Adaptive Forward Lighting including Bi-Xenon high-beam and low-beam headlamps, automatic headlamp beam angle adjustment, headlight cleaning system and fog lights
- Automatic Lighting Control (ALC)
- • TPMS Tire Pressure Monitoring System including a graphic info display and the DDS tire pressure loss monitoring system
- Hill-Start-Assist (HSA)
- Trailer Stability Program
- On-board computer with Check Control System
- Electronic climate control
- Rain sensor
- Leather upholstery and trim
- Quickheat heating system
Astra GTC buyers can also choose between state-of-the-art infotainment systems, which are known from the other Astra models, featuring many different functions and an intuitive operating concept. New is the DVD 90 Navi radio navigation system. In addition to the CD 70 Navi model, it provides a digital travel guide with a convenient search and select function and the major advantage that one DVD disk contains the map and navigation software for as many as 21 European countries.
Market and Model
- Shift: Modern three-door models outstrip traditional concepts
- Target group: Buyers value design, innovative technology and driving pleasure
- Planning: GTC expected to make up roughly one-sixth of total Astra sales
New Astra GTC is Trend-Setter in Evolving Compact Segment
The compact class is changing: while traditional entry-level models designed according to the “five minus two doors” concept are losing market share, the so-called “modern three-door” sub-segment is steadily gaining popularity. This segment has significantly increased its share of the European compact three-door model market, from 28 percent in 1999 to 43 percent in 2003.
Buyers of the modern three-door are discerning, generally well-educated customers, who value expressive design, innovative technology and driving pleasure. And with its dynamic looks, state-of-the-art technology and wide range of powerful, fuel-efficient diesel and gasoline engines with outputs from 90 to 200 hp, these are exactly the new Astra GTC’s (Gran Turismo Compact) highlights. GM/Opel designers, engineers and marketing experts agree that all these elements add up to make the new GTC the most compelling and attractive model of the modern three-door generation.
Design, innovative technology and driving pleasure are among the key criteria in winning over car buyers in the modern three-door class. According to Opel marketing specialists, this premium-oriented segment includes cars such as the Alfa 147, the Audi A3 or the upcoming three-door BMW 1 series. In addition to the Audi A3 and the BMW 3 series Compact, models like the Renault Mégane Coach and Fiat Bravo were the first vanguards of this new, modern three-door class in the mid-nineties.
Models based on the traditional “five minus two doors” concept, on the other hand, are on the decline. Their share of the three-door segment in the hatchback compact class dropped from 72 percent or around 764,000 units in 1999 to 57 percent or about
420,000 units in 2003. One reason for this development is the increase of alternatives available to function-oriented car buyers over the past years.
These include models that have grown in size but are still referred to as small cars, as well as practical and versatile vans such as the Opel Meriva.
The Astra GTC offers high everyday functionality, too. For example, this sporty variant in the Astra model range has five seats and offers 380 liters (according to VDA norm) luggage compartment volume, just as much as the five-door Astra. It also features rear seat backs that fold down in a 60:40 split (optionally 40:20:40) for flexible use of interior space.
The GTC’s extensive standard equipment includes a wide range of comfort elements and the top-of-the-line SAFETEC safety system of the new Astra model range. In addition to the entry-level version, the new GTC is offered in three further model lines: Edition, Sport and Cosmo. Each version has a character of its own, thanks to distinctive visual and functional details.
Opel expects the Edition equipment line to top GTC buyers’ list, with a share of roughly
45 percent, followed by Cosmo with 25 percent. The trend toward high-end equipment
is also reflected in the choice of powerful engines. The four top-of-the-line gasoline and diesel engines – the 1.9 CDTI units with 120 and 150 hp, and the 2.0 turbo with 170 and 200 hp – are expected to have a share of 10 percent, four percent more than in the
five-door model in 2004. Roughly 35 percent of GTC buyers will choose the 105 hp
1.6 TWINPORT, with approximately 30 percent selecting the 1.7 CDTI, 100 hp unit.