Overnight, GM revealed its next-generation Opel Astra five-door hatch, as well as its English counterpart, the Vauxhall Astra, prior to its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show in the middle of September.
The Astra is said to be quite a fair bit lighter than the model it will soon replace. On the scales, the new Astra weighs at least 120 kilograms less than the outgoing car, while some models will be up to 200 kilograms more svelte.
Contributing to this newfound lightness is a body shell that has been reduced from 357kg to 280kg — a 20 percent saving. Thanks to more compact subframes, and extensive use of high- and ultra-high-strength but lightweight steel, the chassis is also 50kg lighter than before.
The new Astra five-door hatch is a little smaller than the current car. It measures 4.37 metres from nose to tail and is 1.46m tall, which makes it around 49mm shorter and means that the roof sits about 50mm closer to the ground.
Despite the reduced exterior dimensions, Opel claims that the new five-door is more spacious than its predecessor. The latest-generation Astra is said to have a coefficient of drag below 0.30.
At launch, the next-generation Astra will feature petrol and diesel engines with outputs ranging from 70kW through to 147kW. No doubt, more powerful OPC/VXR versions will follow in time.
Full details about the new Astra’s drivetrain lineup have yet to be revealed, but we know that for petrol buyers, the Astra kicks off with a 77kW 1.0-litre direct-injection three-cylinder turbo.
There’s also a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 107kW of power and 250Nm of torque. The 1.4-litre motor is an all-aluminium affair, and Opel claims that its block is 10kg lighter than the forged steel unit found in the current Astra.
Over in diesel-land, the Astra racks begins proceedings with a 70kW 1.6-litre turbocharged unit.
High- and mid-spec Astra models will come with an IntelliLink touchscreen infotainment system that’s compatible with both the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring standards. Top-shelf models will have an eight-inch screen, although they may not be compatible with Android Auto at launch.
The new Astra will also be available with adaptive matrix LED headlights. With eight LED segments for each headlight, these new units work in tandem with a forward facing camera to automatically switch the high-beam on as necessary, as well as dim segments so that oncoming traffic and pedestrians aren’t blinded by the car at night.
Other tech and safety features available on the new Astra include traffic sign recognition, lane keeping assistance, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, distance indicators to the car in front, automated emergency braking, reversing camera, blind spot monitoring, and automated parking.
Opel also claims that the seats in the Astra have been given the tick of approval from the Campaign for Healthier Backs (AGR), a German non-governmental organisation.
Top-shelf variants will come fitted with 18-way electric adjustment on the driver’s side, as well as massaging, heating, ventilation and seat-width adjustment functions. The two outboard seats in the rear can be optioned up with heating elements.