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by Tim Beissmann

The hottest models in Opel’s European model line-up could be headed to Australia, with the local branch’s new chief admitting they are under serious consideration for our market.

 

Opel Australia managing director, Bill Mott, said Australia’s newest car brand was acutely aware that Australian motorists appreciated hot hatches and true driver’s cars.

He said the vehicles from the OPC (Opel Performance Center) range were currently being looked at for the second wave of vehicles to come to Australia.

“Australia is one of the most competitive automotive markets in the world with a real appetite for European, and particularly, German marques,” Mr Mott said.

“OPC would be naturally at home in a market like Australia where drivers appreciate great performance and handling in large cars and hot hatches.”

Opel already produces OPC versions of the Corsa three-door hatch and the Insignia in all three body styles, and is currently working on a three-door Astra OPC hot hatch, which we expect will launch in Europe around mid-2012.

The Opel Corsa OPC is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which produces 141kW of power and 230Nm of torque. Figures like that put it right up against the Renault Clio R.S. 200 (147kW/215Nm) and the Volkswagen Polo GTI (132kW/250Nm).

The front-wheel drive Corsa OPC accelerates from 0-100km/h in 7.1 seconds and will go on to a top speed of 227km/h.

The Opel Insignia OPC is powered by an Australian-made 2.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine. The all-wheel drive model produces 239kW of power and 400Nm of torque, leading to a 0-100km/h sprint of just 5.6 seconds (6.3 seconds in Sports Tourer form).

In the even hotter Insignia OPC Unlimited spec, it produces an additional 35Nm of torque (for 435Nm in total), allowing a top speed of 270km/h (up from the standard OPC’s 250km/h limit).

The exact specifications of the new Opel Astra OPC are still wraps, but numerous reports have suggested it could be powered by a 224kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, putting it in esteemed company with the likes of the Ford Focus RS.

Mr Mott said the sporty Opel Astra GTC coupe, which premiered at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show last week, would also be considered for the next wave of new models to come to Australia.

“Astra GTC is a stunning car and highlights the ‘emotional design’ that underpins the Opel brand together with the dynamic driving performance that will come with the state-of-the art chassis and sporty suspension,” Mr Mott said.

“GTC is a totally different concept compared to traditional three-door models. It will launch in Europe before the end of the year with a range of powertrain combinations and we’ll be looking at it closely for the Australian market.”

The Astra GTC will be available with a range of engines from the standard Astra line-up, including a 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre turbo, a 132kW/230Nm 1.6-litre turbo, and a 121kW/350Nm 2.0-litre diesel.

“Australians will quickly discover that Opel delivers on the promise of German engineering, but not in a conservative way,” Mr Mott said.

“Opel vehicles are emotionally engaging, dynamic and innovative which we think gives the brand a point of difference and positions it as a serious European contender.”

Which sports models would you like to see Opel Australia introduce? Let us know in the comments section below.




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