We’ve caught Vauxhall’s new Astra on its way to the Nürburgring (where else?) and despite the shroud of secrecy surrounding development of the new hatchback, we’ve picked up some more clues on Luton’s Focus and Golf rival.
The new Vauxhall Astra looks pretty sharp to me…
Designed in-house under the watch of Europe’s GM design boss Mark Adams, the sleek and slippery shape of the sixth-generation Astra can easily be seen beneath this harlequin camouflage – and after the current Astra’s neat looks and the sharp-suited new Vauxhall Insignia, we’re expecting the new Astra to win over many buyers on looks alone.
Interestingly, the Insignia’s blade motif – that creased swoop behind the front wheels – will feature on the Astra, but this time at the rear of the car. Look carefully at this test car and you can see the backward sweep, hidden beneath that thicker black tape, just ahead of the rear doors.
What do you know about the Astra's hardware under the camouflage?
The Astra’s chassis architecture will be shared with the upcoming Saab 9-1 hatchback, and as with the current model, it will be tuned for a taut ride and athletic handling. Power will come from a new range of turbo-charged petrol and diesels, with the petrols downsized to cut emissions and consumption. Most will be borrowed from the Insignia.
Click 'Next' to read more of our scoop on the new Vauxhall Astra (2009)
The eco Astras are coming
Vauxhall’s Ecoflex technology should see at least six new Astra models slip below the crucial 120g/km tax bracket. As expected the range will be topped by a tyre-smoking VXR performance flagship, which our sources claim will be even more aggressive and edgier than the current model.
What about Lotus’s involvement on the new Astra?
Lotus will again lend a hand in the development of the new Astra – and we'll see the first fruits of their work at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show. There’s no word yet on whether the VXR will feature a front- or all-wheel drivetrain, but a torquey diesel VXR is also on the drawing board.
The Ellesmere Port-built five-door, caught in our latest spy photos and due to arrive in UK showrooms in autumn 2009, will be quickly followed by a lower-slung three-door variant, again with bespoke sheet metal.
Which other Astra bodystyles can we expect?
An estate and folding-roof CC version are also planned, while the next Zafira will also be based on the Delta class underpinnings. Don't forget that this is the same architecture under GM's landmark new Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid unveiled yesterday – and Vauxhall is planning its own petrol-electric battery version, although it remains unclear if this will actually be badged as an Astra.