- The new Opel Astra GTC makes a bold statement with its dynamic lines and sporty proportions
- Roomy interior is both sporty and practical
The Opel design team charged with developing the Astra GTC has achieved a unique balance between the passion and emotion that are part and parcel of sports motoring, and the high degree of utility demanded of vehicles used for everyday motoring. The design that has been transformed into reality is both sleek and striking, the very essence of Opel’s latest design language, pushed to new boundaries for this top-of-the-range Astra.
The sleek and sporty exterior looks encase a passenger compartment that is sporty and classy in its presentation. Add to this comfortable seating for five and a large, class leading, load capacity and you have a functional and comfortable sports sedan with distinctive coupé looks.
In contrast to most other coupés in the same class, which are often just hatch style variants of a sedan model, the Astra GTC is a standalone model within the Opel product range albeit with strong leanings to the Astra platform. This is the sharpest looking of all the Astra products when it comes to design and portrays the desirable attributes of coupé motoring but with added interior functionality.
While the GTC is set firmly in the Astra range, the design team was given an open brief to develop the vehicle. It was free to do this without the restraint of being forced to use existing styling cues or to draw extensively on an existing parts bin. As a result the Astra GTC shares very few components, in fact almost none, with other Astra models. Externally the only common components that are apparent are the mountings for the external rear view mirrors and the radio antenna.
The GTC design team was tasked with giving a new representation of the mission statement “sculptural artistry meets German precision”. The team came up with a vehicle that is uncompromising, has a determined crouching stance ready to leap into high performance action, but at the same time can be gentle and accommodating of the more conservative driver. The objective set for the design team was to create a really attractive car that had just a few key dynamic lines for an uncluttered appearance.
The resultant design that was transformed into sheet metal reality has just three key lines that create tension and define the silhouette of this exciting sports coupé. A fine crisp line sweeps downward from the front door to the bottom of the rear fender to energise the body side. A second line encapsulates the door handle and stretches to the rear of the car, emphasising the Astra GTC’s dramatic stance on the road by spreading the surfaces to a fine undercut and a broad shoulder. The third definitive body line follows the clean, sporty profile of the roof.
The challenge of a no compromise design
The unwillingness of the design team to make compromises in their design, especially in the defining shoulder area, presented numerous challenges for the design team in translating their vision into reality. Many of these challenges were transferred to the entire engineering team as it strived to meet the demands of the stylists and designers.
Numerous sheet metal sections needed to be pressed to a greater than normal depth to accommodate specific design elements that were easily achieved on paper or in a clay model but were somewhat more difficult to produce in the metal. Amongst these were the side shoulder area and prominent wheel surrounds. Just a few years ago the technology and materials required to achieve this would not have been available. In some instances elements from the clay model were made up as trial components in steel very early in the design process to test the feasibility of taking them through into actual production.
Close collaboration between design, engineering, and production teams assured that the numerous challenges were met. Together all the various disciplines required to bring the Astra GTC to reality worked towards the goal of producing the best possible car in its class.
Athletic powerhouse with practical strengths
In contrast to many of its competitors, the Opel Astra GTC is not restricted in terms of utility by its coupé pedigree and form. Designed to carry five adults in comfort and a healthy load of luggage as well, the GTC offers a high level of flexibility in interior layout. The flexible configuration of the boot means that load carrying space can be varied from the standard configuration of 360 litres to a maximum of 1 165 litres.
The flowing, sculpted exterior shape of the Astra GTC is carried through to the interior with curved surfaces and circular features prominent. The wing-shaped dashboard embraces the front seats in a wide arc. The upper segments of the door panels continue the wing effect to provide the impression of a safe environment. This sickle shape associated with contemporary Opel interior treatments, is reflected in numerous design features, for example, in the chrome door knobs and the gear lever cover.
The central console has an elegant line that provides a flowing transition from the dashboard through the central partition that houses the gear lever. The overall atmosphere inside the Astra GTC is one of pleasant relaxation with its numerous detailed decor accents and interior backlighting.
New materials and patterns provide a further boost to the sporty nature of the Astra GTC as does the leather covered steering wheel. The front seats have a wide range of adjustment to ensure that the ideal driving position can be achieved for drivers of varying stature.