2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review

After only six months on Australian shores, German wunderkind Opel reckons its all-new Opel Astra OPC is primed to take a commanding slice of the nation’s fiercely competitive hot-hatch market.

It’s got its work cut out for it – priced at a bullish $42,990 plus on-road costs, the Astra OPC is already dearer than the coveted Renault Megane RS265 ($42,640), as well as much-loved rivals the Volkswagen Golf GTI ($38,990) and Ford Focus ST ($38,290).

Cost aside, the Opel Astra OPC has pulled out all stops in a bid to out-perform its opponents – basing itself on the Astra GTC, but with a complete performance makeover by Opel’s go-fast tuning division known as OPC (Opel Performance Centre).

Gone is the GTC’s 132kW/230Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged engine and in its place sits a considerably more potent 2.0-litre turbo four with 206kW and 400Nm sent to the front wheels.

Drill down beyond the Astra OPC’s quick 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.0 seconds and you’ll also find a raft of bespoke modifications that promise world-class handling and ride.

There’s a proper motorsport-derived mechanical limited-slip differential from Drexler, which works on the front wheels.

The Astra OPC also uses HiPerStrut front suspension, which, like Ford’s RevoKnuckle or Renault’s PerfoHub, allows the front wheels to turn independently of the suspension strut, providing more grip and traction through corners.

2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review

The three-way adaptive dampers are by ZF Sachs, and the brakes come from the halt-maestros at Brembo.

Better still, the Astra OPC gains electro-hydraulic power steering over an all-electric system.

Clearly, the Opel Astra OPC isn’t short on credentials: it has more power, more torque and more performance-enhancing technology than all of its rivals – so the obvious question is, what’s it like to drive?

Well, it’s very, very good.

Accelerate hard (as you’ll be compelled to do often) and the Astra is capable of huge point-to-point speed, while mid-range thrust borders on brutal.

Just don’t expect the usual hot-hatch soundtrack from this blown 2.0-litre engine – at least not above 3500rpm when the induction note shifts from a snarl to a jet-like whoosh.

But for all this commotion the general noise level inside the Astra’s cabin is remarkably well subdued.

2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review

It’s not without turbo lag, despite the sizeable dollop of torque on offer between 2400-4800rpm, meaning you’ll need to work the gears through the slower corners if pace is to be maintained.

If there’s a significant chink in the OPC’s armour, it’s the relatively long-throw shifts required with the six-speed manual transmission. The more direct, short-throw ’box in the Megane RS265 offers a far more engaging driving experience in this regard.

But it’s on the fast, bendy sections where the Opel Astra OPC is most adept. The steering is nicely weighted and pinpoint accurate, encouraging quick directional changes.

There’s zero body roll, so the Astra sits dead flat through high-speed turns, urging you to keep on the power longer.

But give it too much, too soon, and the Astra OPC will respond with a fair degree of torque steer as the limited-slip diff struggles to keep up.

The four-pot Brembos are hugely capable, but require some right-foot recalibration due to their acute sensitivity at the top of the pedal travel.

Most impressive, though, is the ride quality. The Astra OPC soaks up depressions and busted bitumen far better than we expected from a hatch that delivers such explosive performance while riding on low-profile 19-inch rims

2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review

Credit goes to Opel’s FlexRide adaptive damping system. Drivers have a choice of three dynamic chassis settings – Normal, Sport and OPC. Each mode progressively dials up suspension stiffness, steering weight and throttle response.

What surprises most is that even in the track-biased OPC setting, the ride is generally compliant – back roads included.

Visually, the Opel Astra OPC is a treat, sitting closer to the extraverted Megane RS than the perpetually conservative styling of the iconic Golf GTI.

Inside, it’s largely a contemporary affair with plenty of high-gloss finishes and soft touch trim, lifting it well above most rivals.

The Opel-designed Nappa leather seats with electrically operated bolstering and lumbar adjustment are superb. So, too, is the flat-bottomed, leather-wrapped steering wheel, which is padded for extra grip and feel.

Satellite navigation is standard, as are rear parking sensors, but a rear-view camera isn’t available even as an option.

Sadly, intuitive switchgear isn’t an Astra strongpoint. Take the centre stack for example: there are far too many buttons and the entertainment system controller is a functional nightmare.

2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review
2013 Opel Astra OPC Review

Part of the attraction of hot-hatch ownership has always been the space and practicality they offer above and beyond their performance credentials, and the Opel Astra OPC is no different in this regard.

Even with the split-fold rear seats in the upright position, the Astra’s boot will swallow 380 litres, expanding to 775 litres with the seatbacks lowered.

Rear-seat leg and headroom also proved sufficiently accommodating for largely framed six-foot-tall individuals to sit comfortably.

Another key draw card is the fuel efficiency that comes with using small, but powerful engines in lightweight hatches.

The Astra OPC consumes 8.1L/100km on the combined cycle and emits 189g/km of CO2, bettering the Megane RS by 0.1L/100km, but falling short of the Focus ST (7.4L/100km).

The Opel Astra OPC is an exceptionally well-rounded hot-hatch offering sledgehammer-like ‘go’ and a ride quality that should make it very easy to live with as a daily driver. But as an upstart to Australia’s hot-hatch hierarchy, the Astra OPC still has a way to go before it matches the overall focus of the Megane RS.




  • Pro346

    Looks great! Much more interesting than the golf/focus

    • DoubleBlue

       I wouldn’t expect anything else from a “GM loving freak” like yourself, Pro346.!

      • Pro346

        Actually I like all cars I was just stating it looks more interesting.

  • Dudeface

    Pity it still doesn’t have IRS. Its not a major problem (the Megane RS doesn’t have it either) but I think if they added IRS it would make a great car even better.

    • http://www.bryanbyrtrenault.com.au/ Modern Man

      and heavier

  • JoeR_AUS

    206kw and 400nm all through the front wheels, a few years ago who would of thought it possible! Might explain the turbo lag with the electronics waiting till everything is lined up before warp speed.

    • Golfmother

      Not a big issue , one must learn to feed the power , not just tromp the right foot .

      Let the high torks do the work in the higher gears , most oz drivers are in auto’s so no technique required .

      This is a pretty quick car , will be good in manuel .

      • Manuel

        Que?

      • Jober As A Sudge

        I’m not sure “Manuel” would appreciate this car inside of him Mr Fawlty

      • Zaccy16

        just like the 3 mps, feed the power or go to higher gears quicker and use the big torque band and no problem with torque steer

    • Phil

      “206kw and 400nm all through the front wheels, a few years ago who would of thought it possible!”

      Joe, two words for you: Oldsmobile Toronado. Released in 1966 with 287kw 425cid v8, Fwd and not a hint of torque steer. A 455 with 300kw was optional!

      The Astra is just the kind of hero car to establish the brand. I was impressed by the GTC except for its performance, this brings the go to back the looks. That market segment has never been healthier.

  • Jay

    Stunning looks, fantastic proportions. My pick would be white with the wheels shown in the pictures.

  • $29896495

    This is one of my favourite cars. Does just about everything I want. Looks great in white too.

    • Zaccy16

      i agree, it looks fantastic, its a great allrounder just like base astras but a good touch screen would improve the cluttered interior

  • jimmyjack

    um, so 42k?  i look on the website and it says 48k.  Surely thats a massive price increase on the reviewer price. Like golf R, where all the reviewers say is 49k driveaway, but in reality its more like 58 once the dealer rips you off.

    • $29896495

      The price on the Opel site is On Road, unless you fall in the German options trap, that’s what it will be in the state named. (Not so cheap) This site doesn’t give on road prices so forget any price info you get here it’s meaningless. By law dealers can have only one price, that includes delivery and rego AKA on roads. If they give you another price for a specific car they have to give you the options it includes. If it has none, report them to the ACCC.

      • $29896495

        Car Advice you need to alter your published price. It isn’t even close to the OPEL advertised price at round figures $7,000.00 difference. That’s more than on roads.

  • mat

    considering they make our astra’s,  I think it will be a good car. Glad they have finally come to australia instead of wearing a holden badge.

  • Leon Kernan

    I’m all for having buttons and knobs for the important functions, but that centre console is insane.

    • $29896495

      You know they won an award for that.

      • lee

        Yes they did – one of many that Opel got for the astra and insignia

    • lee

      Spend 5 min getting familiar with it – its a dream – all the journos are singing the same tune (too busy) but only when compared to the 1970′s golf panel

  • 2012GTI

    god its ugly, maybe just because i like euro styling (and admittedly own a GTI). This reminds me of why i went VW – the hot hatch market seems to be mostly about flashy displays in a small package – i like the simplicity of my GTI, the comfort and ease of use of the display – remember you have to use all those buttons with eyes on the road…its good to see that Opel are making progress, however they arent at the classy end of Euro cars

  • Scott

    GM can bring this car to Australia but if it is made in Germany or comes with a German badge I will not be buying.  It’s a war thing.

    • $29896495

      WTF

  • WillDo

    Take one Honda Civic Type R, fioddle the edges and badge it as an Opel then try to flog it into Australia as an Astra.

  • Hennie

    By far the best looking Astra ever!!

Opel Astra Specs

OPC : 2.0L TURBO MPFI - 6 SP MANUAL - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 3D HATCHBACK
Car Details
Make
OPEL
Model
ASTRA
Variant
OPC
Series
PJ
Year
2013
Body Type
3D HATCHBACK
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
TURBO MPFI
Engine Size
2.0L
Cylinders
TURBO 4
Max. Torque
400Nm @  2400rpm
Max. Power
206kW @  5300rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
137.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
86x86mm
Compression Ratio
9.3
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP MANUAL
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
3.9
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
56
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
8.1L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1494
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1489mm
Length
4466mm
Width
1940mm
Ground Clearance
105mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
12.3
Front Rim Size
8x19
Rear Rim Size
8x19
Front Tyres
245/40 R19
Rear Tyres
245/40 R19
Wheel Base
2695
Front Track
1551
Rear Track
1551
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Heated Front Seats, Power front seats
Control & Handling
Adaptive Damping Control, 19 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder, Performance Brake Package
Driver
Cruise Control, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Power Steering, Satellite Navigation
Engine & Transmission
Limited Slip Differential
Entertainment
Radio CD with 7 Speakers
Exterior
Body Kit, Power Mirrors, Rear Spoiler
Interior
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Side Airbags
Optional Features
Control & Handling
20 Inch Alloy Wheels
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
10-O-17
Country of Origin
GERMANY