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by Tim Beissmann

The Opel Astra OPC has landed in Australia, with the German performance car becoming the latest model to join the ultra-competitive hot-hatch scene.

The Opel Astra OPC is the quickest and most powerful vehicle ever to wear the Astra badge, with its 206kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine capable of launching the racy three-door front-wheel drive from 0-100km/h in 6.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 250km/h.

Priced from $42,990, the Astra OPC becomes one of the more expensive cars in its class, commanding a premium over the likes of the Ford Focus ST ($38,290), Volkswagen Golf GTI ($38,990), Mazda3 MPS ($39,490) and the Renault Megane RS265 ($42,640).

The Astra OPC is the halo model in Opel Australia’s three-pronged OPC (Opel Performance Centre) sports car assault, where it sits above the $28,990 Corsa OPC pocket-rocket and is quicker than the larger and more powerful $59,900 Insignia OPC.

Distinct from all other current Astras is the OPC’s specially developed mechanical limited-slip differential, which works in tandem with the existing ‘HiPerStrut’ suspension system from the Astra GTC in the pursuit of improved lateral grip and traction through corners.

Also standard is Opel’s FlexRide adaptive damping system, which allows drivers to select between three separate chassis settings: Standard, Sport and OPC. Sport mode stiffens the dampers, and the more extreme OPC mode adds extra damper stiffness along with enhanced throttle responsiveness and sharpened steering assistance, and changes the cabin’s instrument backlighting from white to red.

Three electronic stability program settings are offered to give drivers greater control over the Astra OPC’s response: default mode, providing optimum safety for everyday conditions; Competitive mode, with a heightened threshold for spirited driving; and ESP-off, which deactivates stability control completely.

Helping keep the Astra OPC on track is a braking system co-developed by Opel and Brembo. Cross-drilled and ventilated 355mm discs with four-piston calipers operate at the front, while 315mm solid discs do there thing at the rear. The brakes sit behind 19-inch alloys wrapped in Pirelli rubber, while lightweight 20-inch alloys are available as a $1000 option.

Standard exterior features include LED tail-lights, rear parking sensors, and satin chrome highlights across the front grille, window frames and dual exhaust tips.

A $2000 optional lighting package adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, headlamp washers, automatic levellers and auto high-beam assist.

The cabin boasts 10-way adjustable heated AGR-certified ergonomic front bucket seats, leather upholstery with contrast stitching, dual-zone climate control, auto headlights and wipers, alloy sports pedals, and a seven-speaker premium audio system with seven-inch display, satellite navigation, AUX/USB inputs and Bluetooth connectivity with phone connectivity and audio streaming.

The Opel Astra OPC is available in five colours: Summit White, Power Red, Carbon Flash Black, Flaming Yellow, and the OPC-exclusive Arden Blue.

CarAdvice is currently at the local launch of the Opel Astra OPC. Stay tuned for our first-drive review, coming soon.




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