Vauxhall has treated its strong-selling Astra range to a minor facelift, and plumbed a 192bhp twin-turbo diesel motor into the GTC three-door model.
The revisions will complement the new Astra VXR flagship, which goes on sale this month.
Vauxhall Astra facelift? What facelift?
It's a subtle one, we grant you. Look closely and you'll spot the new front grille, with repositioned logo-bar in the upper section and a plastic bumper-graft on the numberplate surround.
There are also (apparently) new designs for the front indicator lamps and fog lamps. The rear is slightly remoulded and there's an extra dash of chrome too. The facelifted Astras also ride on a revised range of alloy wheel options, from the look of the natty rims in these pictures.
Anything more exciting on the Vauxhall Astra than some new chrome?
Oh yes. The sleek GTC coupe bodystyle is to get a new 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine, producing 192bhp and a meaty 295lb ft. Those numbers make the BiTurbo the next most powerful Astra, after the Luton lunatic 276bhp Astra VXR we drove this week.
Vauxhall claims this high-performance black-pump variant will hit 60mph in 7.8 seconds and top out at 139mph, thanks to sequential turbocharging to eliminate lag. Forget the jargon: what you need to know is that it serves up 258lb ft from just 1500rpm, which should equal impressive in-gear acceleration.
Despite the warm-hatch performance credentials, the GTC BiTurbo will reputedly achieve 53.3mpg and 139g/km of CO2.
What's the cost of these new Vauxhall Astras?
Here's a pleasant surprise - the tweaked Astra hatch and Sports Tourer estate won't cost you a penny more than the outgoing models - Vauxhall isn't raising prices. The GTC BiTurbo will command a £995 premium over the 163bhp diesel variant, but your money doesn't just buy you extra go.
GTC BiTurbo buyers get 18-inch alloy wheels, climate control, a 6mm ride-height drop, new body-kit and sporty interior trim, with a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel. The overall on-the-road cost is £23,925 - around £3k less than the faster - but considerably thirstier - VXR.
Anything else new on the Astra range?
There's a raft of options previously unseen. This includes driver aid features like alerts for imminent forward collisions, lane departure warning, automatic road sign reading and a reversing camera.
New colours, LED running lights and an upgraded DAB radio complete the revisions to the British-built Astra, which can be ordered now in time for deliveries in September 2012. All models come as standard with Vauxhall's 100,000 mile 'lifetime' warranty.