GM Africa has added Opel’s top performance Astra OPC, the most powerful production Astra produced to date, to its passenger vehicle range. The Astra OPC compliments the Corsa OPC in the Opel range in South Africa to offer buyers a high performance option in both the small and compact hatch sectors. This latest offering from OPC (Opel Performance Centre) is powered by a 206 kW turbocharged direct injection 2,0 litre engine with maximum torque of 400 Nm. This enables the Astra OPC to sprint from 0-100 km/h in just 6 seconds with an electrically governed top speed of 250 km/h.
This latest high-performance turbocharged engine produces a healthy 104 kW per litre – power delivery that is in the realm of full blown competition engines and the highest specific power output per litre of any Opel petrol production car. This is 12% more than the previous Astra OPC with torque improved by 25%.
This sporty powerhouse of an engine is based on the latest Opel 2,0 litre engine architecture designed to offer more-for-less in terms of engine size and performance delivery. In keeping with this philosophy the new Astra OPC delivers its higher power and torque with fuel consumption that is reduced by 12% compared to the previous model and with CO2 emissions that are 14% lower. Average fuel consumption recorded by Opel engineers in tests is just 8,11 l/100km – a remarkable achievement for an engine with this level of performance. CO2 emissions are 189 g/km.
With the proven sturdy and reliable Opel 2,0 litre engine as a base, the OPC engineering team set about optimizing the engine air intake and exhaust systems to maximise the flow of combustion gasses through the engine for optimum power delivery. The turbocharger was designed to withstand a high charge pressure with maximum reliability and durability.
High-tech features such as direct petrol injection, a twin-scroll turbocharger with intercooler, double camshaft phasing, and twin balance shafts are incorporated in the 1998 cm3 all alloy four cylinder engine.
High Performance Chassis with FlexRide, HiPerStruts, and Limited Slip Differential
Working with the Astra GTC as a base Opel’s OPC group has designed a high performance chassis package specifically targeted at optimized lateral dynamics and superb handling qualities to complement the 206 kW/400 Nm drive train of the new Astra OPC. Key elements that contribute to the excellent vehicle dynamics are high performance struts (HiPerStruts) on the front suspension; the mechatronic FlexRide chassis system; a mechanical plate type” limited slip differential, and the Brembo brakes.
The FlexRide chassis system allows the driver to tailor fundamental handling characteristics of the Astra OPC. There is a choice of three different driving modes with each one offering a unique experience of high performance driving by providing degrees of shock absorber action, steering feel, and throttle response.
The standard mode provides a good all-round balance between comfort and performance for everyday motoring. A touch of a button is all that is required to engage the ‘Sport’ mode. With ‘Sport’ mode activated the suspension is stiffened up, agility is increased by a reduction in body roll, and steering action is more direct providing an overall sharper feel for the vehicle. The ultimate driving experience in the Astra OPC comes when the ‘OPC’ mode is engaged. With this mode active the steering becomes even more direct, the throttle is more responsive and the suspension setting is stiffened to deliver a maximised, no compromise handling performance.
A ‘Watt’s link’, a suspension design tried and tested in competition use, is incorporated in the rear suspension where it is combined with a compound-crank axle. This setup ensures superb lateral stability and precise steering with the vehicle easily following the line chosen by the driver. It is a system that really comes into its own on twisty road sections where quick changes of direction are required. The ‘Watt’s linkage’ comprises of a short, pivoting center link with ball joints at each end to which the lateral links from the suspension uprights are joined. This system enables some 80% of lateral loads to be absorbed by the rear suspension.
Wheels are 20” alloy fitted with 245/35 R20 tyres as standard. The specification of the gas filled dampers is to a unique OPC standard while all mounting bushings are of a stiffer specification than on the standard Astra. Springs are of a stiffer rate than those found across the Astra and Astra GTC range.
Mechanical multi-plate Limited Slip Differential transfers maximum torque to the road
The Astra OPC is fitted with a mechanical multi-plate limited slip differential which ensures that the maximum torque possible is transferred to the road with the minimum of traction loss and wheelspin. At the core of the limited slip differential is a series of clutch plates that engage under different load conditions, such as when the road surface varies, or when severe acceleration forces are encountered, to inhibit wheeslpin. The limited slip differential offers a distinct advantage when the vehicle is used by an enthusiast driver for race-circuit track days.
A careful match between the differential characteristic and the basic locking torque specification of the LSD ensures a smooth transition between load and overrun conditions and eliminates steering kick-back and any self-steer tendency during an overrun condition. There is also an ample traction reserve in the event that highly varied wheel loads are encountered.
In addition to the three chassis modes available to the driver there is also a choice of three modes for the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) available. The standard mode provides the maximum level of ride safety for everyday motoring conditions. In ‘Competitive’ mode the threshold at which the automatic driver aids intervene to stabilize the vehicle is raised to allow the driver to exercise a higher level of control over the vehicle. The third mode is ESP-off, which deactivates the ESP system completely and places the driver in complete control of the vehicle.
In a vehicle with the performance capabilities of the Astra OPC efficient and fade free braking is imperative. To achieve this the OPC team worked together with Brembo to design a system that is fully up to the task of retarding a vehicle as quick as the Astra OPC, even under a fully loaded condition. Components of the system include a massive 18 inch servo booster, 355 X 32mm vented and cross-drilled discs with four piston calipers at the front – where most of the braking effort is applied – and special high performance brake pads. The overall advantage of this system is that it has a high resilience to elevated brake temperatures with a high level of resistance to brake-fade in the event of repeated heavy braking over a short period of time. Aside from the fade resistance, a constant pedal feel is experienced during heavy usage of the brakes.
It is a tradition that during their development phase all OPC products are put through their paces on the Northern Loop (Nordschleife) of the Nurburgring race track in Germany, generally considered to be the toughest and most demanding race track in the world. The Astra OPC is no exception and was required to pass a 10 000 kilometer endurance test conducted at high speed on the 20,8 kilometer Nordschleife. This equates to approximately 180 000 kilometers of regular road usage. The extreme conditions of this test guarantee the durability of components to ensure maximum customer satisfaction.
Expressive Design for High Performance Astra OP
The styling of the Astra OPC provides an expression of a passion for power and speed. The sporty profile of the vehicle is enhanced by the incorporation of a carefully sculpted aero treatment. Front and rear bumpers, side skirts, an aerodynamic roof spoiler and two fully integrated trapezoidal shaped exhaust tail pipes define the external shape of the Astra OPC with its base shape derived from the Astra GTC. Wheel rims are 20 inch forged alloy for an added statement of performance.
The driver’s cockpit is defined by the flat bottom steering wheel and light-weight performance type bucket seats. The steering wheel takes its styling cue directly from a motorsports environment and is ten millimeters in diameter smaller that the regular Astra wheel for a more precise, sporty and direct steering sensation. Thumb areas are sculpted into the steering wheel for optimized grip and visibility of the instruments.
The design and positioning of the front seats provides for a unique and dynamic driving experience with their lower seating position and enhanced lateral support creating a cocooned effect right close to the road surface.
For the South African market the Astra OPC is offered with the high-performance seat option as standard equipment. These incorporate state-of-the-art technology that has been certified by the German independent healthy back experts AGR (Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V) after meeting this organisations high ergonomic standards and offers up to 18 different settings. The seat shell is constructed from cutting-edge weight saving materials and technology. Opel is the first car maker in the compact high performance segment to offer pneumatically adjustable cushions in the flanks of the seat.
The Astra OPC is trimmed with full leather upholstery with exclusive OPC stitching in arden blue or cool pearl for a sporty and premium look and feel for the interior.