These are the first official pictures of the Vauxhall Cascada, a four-seater soft-top derived from Astra and Insignia underpinnings that'll attempt to muscle in on German drop-top territory when it arrives from March next year.
The Cascada is Vauxhall's first open-top model since the old Astra Twin Top, but this one is set to compete in a completely different sector, reckons Vauxhall. Read on for the full spec and tell us in the comments whether you think Vauxhall has done enough to give Audi and BMW cause to look over their shoulder.
Vauxhall Cascada (2013) the stiffness and refinement
Vauxhall proudly crow that the Cascada boasts 43% better torsional stiffness than the folding hard-top Astra Twin Top, and is 10% less susceptible to bending forces. The under-body reinforcements also reduce NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) according to Vauxhall.
Meanwhile, the soft-top roof (chosen over a hard-top for lightness, looks and packaging reasons) has a triple-layer construction for reduced noise and better thermal insulation. You can drop the top in 17 seconds at up to 30mph, and when it's down boot capacity falls from 350 litres to 280 litres.
Under the bonnet of the 2013 Vauxhall Cascada
The headline act here is the brand new 1.6-litre 'Ecotec' turbocharged petrol engine, putting out 168bhp and 206lb ft on overboost. The Ecotec motor will be mated strictly to a six-speed automatic gearbox at launch.
Other engine options are a 1.4-litre turbo petrol developing 138bhp and 162lb ft, and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel good for 163bhp and 280lb ft on overboost. Either engine can be specced with a six-speed manual or auto 'box. Pokier engines will follow later in the Cascada's life.
Any other Vauxhall Cascada pub facts?
Equipment includes automatic lights, front- and rear-facing cameras, traffic sign reading and lane departure warning. Wheel choices range from 18 to 20 inches in diameter. You can choose to have heated seats and steering wheel for top-down motoring on those cold winter mornings.
Should you come a cropper, the hidden pop-up head restraints spring into action if a rollover is detected, or if the airbags are activated. High-strength steel is also employed in the swept-back A-pillars and flanks to protect occupants in an accident.
Prices will start around the £25,000 mark, and full specifications for the Vauxhall Cascadas will be announced early in 2013, as the order books open. First deliveries will arrive in time for spring in March, by which time we'll have driven the Cascadas and can report back on the new engines, VXR-spec suspension components, and top-down refinement.