Opel has taken the wraps off its all-new Astra, five generations since the its namesake first hit the scene in 1991 and eleven generations (and 24 million units sold) since the Kadett first launched the marque into the C-segment nearly 80 years ago.
The all-new Opel Astra is touted as safer, lighter, more comfortable, more agile, and more efficient than the model it replaces. It’s smaller on the outside but bigger on the inside, with a length that’s nearly two inches shorter and a height a full inch squatter, but with more space in the cabin. And it’s between 265 and 440 pounds lighter.
That more compact form is cloaked in new sheet metal that’s noticeably sharper than the outgoing model’s, but should be instantly recognizable as an Opel. Styling is derived from the striking Monza concept, with the floating C-pillar we first saw on the smaller Opel Adam.
Power comes from an array of engines with three or four cylinders, burning gasoline or diesel, and ranging from 95 horsepower all the way up to 200. And that, presumably, is before the GSi and OPC/VXR performance models come along.
What really impresses about the new Astra, though, is the amount of upscale tech Opel has crammed into it. It’s got OnStar, onboard wifi, an eight-inch touchscreen, automatic parking, ergonomic seats (with massage, ventilation and adjustable width), smartphone connectivity (through both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), and adaptive LED matrix headlights. That’s an impressive feature set for a vehicle going up against the likes of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
Unfortunately, while the new Astra will be sold as an Opel in many markets around the world, as a Vauxhall in the UK and presumably as a Holden in Australia, we won’t be getting it – at least not in this form – in North America. The last time we did was two generations back when Saturn was still around. We can at least hope that some of these features make their way back Stateside on models like the Buick Verano and Chevy Cruze that (in their current form) share their Delta II underpinnings with the outgoing Astra. In the meantime, we can look forward to scoping out the new Astra at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September where it will mark its world debut.
– Lean machine: New Astra up to 200 kilograms lighter
– Agile, frugal and quiet: Astra only available with latest-generation engines
– Clever design: Smaller exterior dimensions, more spacious and comfortable inside
– Outstanding connectivity: First completely new model with Opel OnStar
– Infotainment debut: IntelliLink R 4.0 compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
– First in class: Intelligent full-LED matrix light IntelliLux LED®
– Clever back-up: Technologies and driver assistance systems from higher segments
– Wellness seats: Massage function, ventilation and seat-width setting
Rüsselsheim. Opel and compact class cars – this specific success story starts with the Kadett in 1936 and will be continued with the new Astra, the eleventh generation of an Opel compact class car. So far, 24 million Kadett and Astra compact class models have left the plants. And now Opel is ready to add a new chapter to the history of its bestseller. The next generation Astra is based on an all-new lightweight vehicle architecture, will only be driven by latest generation engines and offers features previously only known from higher segments. The lean design makes the new Astra look more athletic than ever before. To put it briefly, the new Astra combines efficiency with elegance and will redefine the compact class segment with its innovations. The Opel Astra will celebrate its world premiere at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt this fall (September 17 to 27).
“Three values are decisive for the new Astra – efficiency, innovation and dynamic performance,” said Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “Our engineers developed it from the proverbial white sheet of paper. The new Astra is up to 200 kilograms lighter than its predecessor – and its athletic design makes this outwardly visible. Its dimensions are smaller but both spaciousness and comfort have been increased considerably. Under the hood the Astra will only feature engines of the latest generation. Numerous technologies and assistance systems from higher segments increase the comfort and safety of the Astra passengers, with our personal connectivity and service assistant Opel OnStar, ultra-modern phone integration and the ground-breaking new adaptive full-LED matrix light IntelliLux leading the way.”
Saving where it counts: The new vehicle architecture
Lighter, more frugal and agile and at the same time even more comfortable – the new Opel Astra meets all of these demands thanks to its successful fitness program. The visionary Monza Concept, unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, was the role model for the eleventh generation Opel compact class car. According to Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, every element and every design feature of the Monza concept reflects efficiency. The new Astra follows this vision rigorously. Depending on the model and trim level it will be up to 200 kilograms – at the very least 120 kilograms – lighter than its predecessor. The completely new vehicle architecture plays a major role in the weight reduction. Every component was checked for compact design and lightweight materials. The bodyshell weight alone was reduced by 20 percent from 357 to 280 kilograms. Additional, chassis-related measures resulted in another 50 kilograms of weight reduction; these include high-strength and ultra-high-strength low-weight steels, compact subframes as well as weight reductions to the front and rear axle.
The end result of this fitness program: agility and driving comfort are improved in the new Astra. It is more responsive, corners better and gives a much more direct overall driving experience. In a nutshell, the new Astra is more fun to drive than ever before.
Only the best: The latest powertrain portfolio
The engine in the new Opel Astra supports this claim. Under the hood of every new Astra a member of the completely new engine portfolio can be found. Outputs range from 70 kW/95 hp to 147 kW/200 hp. The diesel and gasoline engines with a displacement of up to 1.6 liters all have three things in common: they combine highest efficiency with excellent responsiveness and running smoothness.
The 1.6 CDTI with a wide range of outputs starting at 70 kW/95 hp covers the diesel offer whereas the 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo (77 kW/105 hp) is the base level gasoline engines. The highlight in the Astra engine portfolio is the all-new 1.4 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo, a four-cylinder unit from the same family as the smaller but nonetheless powerful one-liter, three-cylinder engine. The all-aluminum engine will make its debut with 107 kW/145 hp. It impresses with dynamic responsiveness and high performance while curbing fuel consumption. The engine delivers maximum torque of up to 250 Nm very early. Maximum power is available between 1,800 and 4,000 rpm – perfect conditions for driving pleasure in combination with efficiency. Based on its construction, the new 1.4 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo also adds less weight to the car. The aluminum engine block alone weighs ten kilograms less than the forged steel block of the current 1.4-liter turbo.
Athletic design meets spaciousness: The perfect Astra symbiosis
The design of the new Astra also depicts efficiency and once again the Monza Concept was the role model. The evolution of the Opel design philosophy ‘Sculptural Artistry meets German Precision’ ensures that the new Astra catches the eye with a lighter, more athletic appearance instead of a muscular look. The Opel Blitz in the center of the chrome bar on the grill and the characteristic ‘blade’ raising towards the rear make the new Astra immediately recognizable as a member of the Opel Family. The front headlamps melt into the radiator grille to form a graphic unity. The most significant design cue is the divided C-pillar, creating the impression of a floating roof. The interplay of light and shadow is emphasized by the horizontal crossbar above the brand logo linking the rear lights. The Astra does not just look smaller – it is smaller. With a total length of 4.37 meters it is almost five centimeters shorter than its predecessor. With a height of 1.46 meters it is also 2.6 centimeters smaller. The dimensions obviously have an impact on aerodynamics and efficiency with the new Astra boasting a drag coefficient below 0.30.
Smaller on the outside but bigger on the inside –Opel engineers are responsible for successfully squaring this circle. The wheelbase may have been reduced by two centimeters but the amount of space inside increased. In combination with newly designed seats, the passengers in the rear can enjoy an additional 35 millimeters legroom. Furthermore, the distance between the front and rear seats was increased – this improves travel comfort and sense of space. The high-quality cockpit and the instrument panel seamlessly transfer the characteristic and aesthetic exterior design to the interior, thus ensuring that a new interior design generation is introduced in the new Astra. It is characterized by an especially clear look, also reflected by the reduced amount of control switches and buttons along with the large color touchscreen in the center stack.
Help and service around the clock: Outstanding connectivity with Opel OnStar
All new models adhere to the principle: Opel democratizes technologies and innovations from higher segments, Opel makes innovations affordable. For example in connectivity. The next generation Astra is the first new Opel model that will be available with the personal connectivity and service assistant Opel OnStar from its launch. Opel OnStar offers customers a broad range of safety and comfort services. If an airbag deploys, Opel OnStar will be alerted automatically. An advisor will then contact the vehicle to determine whether help is required. If there is no response, emergency responders are immediately sent to the exact location of the vehicle. This is only one example of the advantages of the new personal connectivity and service assistant. Drivers and passengers can reach OnStar 24/7 and 365 days a year. No matter whether they need roadside assistance or any other service – an OnStar advisor is always ready to help. Furthermore, OnStar will turn the new Astra into a 4G LTE mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Up to seven devices, from smartphones to tablets, can be connected simultaneously.
In addition, the new generation of the IntelliLink infotainment system will celebrate its debut in the Astra. As it is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, it will facilitate bringing the world of smartphones into the car – a premiere in the compact class segment. Each system builds off of the features smartphone users rely on most. Android Auto is built around Google Maps, Google Now and the ability to talk to Google, as well as a growing audio and messaging app ecosystem that includes WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify, and podcast players. A full list of supported apps is available at Android.com/auto. Apple CarPlay takes the iPhone features you’d want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner. That allows drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Apple CarPlay supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third party apps. A full list of those apps can be found at Apple.com/ios/carplay. The functions can be controlled via the large, up to eight-inch touchscreen located high on the center stack, via remote control on the steering wheel (volume) or via voice control.
Premium technologies for the compact class: IntelliLux LED® and Co.
The is an absolute novelty and safety highlight in the new Astra. The ground-breaking, Opel patented full-LED matrix light of the next generation enables driving with glare-free high beams and will be available in the compact class for the first time in the Astra.
Consisting of 16 LED segments – eight on each side of the vehicle – the new LED matrix system automatically and constantly adapts the length and distribution of the light beam to every traffic situation. In the process, it works with the Opel Eye front camera. As soon as the vehicle exits urban areas, the high-beam lighting is automatically switched on – and it always remains on. At driving speeds of 80 km/h, drivers detect objects at the side of the road around 30 to 40 meters sooner than with conventional halogen or xenon low beam lighting. This gives them around 1.5 seconds more time to react. Dazzling other road users is also not a problem. When the camera detects light sources from oncoming or preceding traffic, individual LEDs in the relevant zone are deactivated, simply “cutting out” the area around the vehicles. The rest of the road and its surroundings remain brightly illuminated. With this degree of precision and adaptation, LED matrix light elevates lighting technology to the next level.
Not only does the system illuminate the surroundings brighter than conventional lighting systems, it also has a considerably longer running life than headlamps with halogen or xenon lamps. Another advantage is that mechanical movements are no longer necessary in the headlamp – the individual LED segments turn on or off according to the situation, which also contributes to durability.
Apart from Opel OnStar and IntelliLux LED®, future Astra owners can look forward to a string of further safety, driver assistance and comfort systems – many of which are unrivalled in this segment. The Traffic Sign Assistant and the Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning along with Following Distance Indication and the Forward Collision Alert with Collision Imminent Braking not only make driving the new Astra more comfortable but also safer. Cruise control with speed limiter ensures that the speed is always within the legal boundaries. Advanced Park Assist increases comfort and can park the car automatically at the push of a button. The rear view camera is activated once reverse gear is selected. And Side Blind Spot Alert recognizes obstacles within a 3-meter radius on either side and behind the car that are hidden from the driver’s vision.
The AGR (Campaign for Healthy Backs) tested and certified ergonomic seats are also outstanding. They continue Opel’s tradition in excellent, ergonomic seats and now come with additional comfort features. The new Opel Astra will offer 18-way adjustable seats for the driver. They have a massage function, ventilation and seat-width setting. And the rear passengers can also look forward to more comfort than before with the two heatable outer back seats available as an option.
The all-new Opel Astra is therefore not only safer, more comfortable, more attractive and more modern than ever before, it is also lighter, more agile, more aerodynamic and more efficient in every sense of the word. It is Opel’s road to the future.