Vauxhall Astra-based soft-top (2012) papped by CAR

Published: 08 June 2012

These are the best pictures yet of Vauxhall’s soon-to-be-released 2012 soft-top successor to the Astra Twintop.

As previously reported by CAR, the new model will be a standalone model in the same vein as the Volkswagen Eos, rather than simply a chopped version of the popular Astra hatchback.

What do we know about the new 2012 Vauxhall convertible?

For a start, don’t call it the Astra. Vauxhall is adamant this is to be an entirely new model line, with a separate name to boot.

Earlier reports that the car would take the Calibra badge from the sporty coupe of the 1990s are inaccurate, CAR can report, though it’s still not quite clear if Vauxhall will plunder the back catalogue for a badge, or conjure a completely new moniker, as it did when Insignia replaced Vectra.

Engines at launch will be shared with other models in the griffin-badged range, though Vauxhall’s new family of more efficient motors will likely see duty in the convertible when they go into production in late 2012.

One of the most popular future choices is likely to be the 1.6 turbo four-pot. The 197bhp unit produces 20bhp more than the current equivalent, while acheiving effieciency improvements of 13%.

In line with the previous open-top Astra, there won’t be a VXR-powered version – Vauxhall’s 277bhp powerplant remains exclusive to the Astra GTC-based hot hatch.

That’s enough tech. What about the Vauxhall’s all-important roof?

CAR can confirm the imminent model will shun the old Asta Twintop’s three-piece folding hard-top in favour of a traditional fabric roof. Despite strong sales of just under 19,000 Twintops in the UK from 2006-2011, Vauxhall elected to bin the metal roof due to the weight and packaging penalties inherent in the design.

The new car will benefit from a lower centre of gravity thanks to less weight in the roof mechanism, and sleeker styling – the pert rump seen in these spy shots is a marked change from the rather frumpy posterior of the Astra Twintop, required to swallow all that roof.

When can we expect to see the ‘Astra Cabriolet’ revealed?

Debuting alongside the Adam, Vauxhall’s new city car, the brand’s convertible will be showcased to the public for the first time at the 2012 Paris motor show in September, though the first pictures will arrive slightly sooner.

With sales likely to start in the autumn of 2012, Vauxhall will be hoping for a record-breaking Indian summer to keep the demand for cabriolets high in time for its latest launch. The UK is Vauxhall’s parent company GM’s biggest market outside of the United States, so impressing the British cabrio-buying public will be a priority.

By Ollie Kew

Former road tester and staff writer of this parish