GM’s European division Opel is working on a high-performance version of its recently revealed
Astra GTC sports coupe
, a prototype of which was captured by our sleuth spy photographer while it was testing in Germany.
The new two-door is being developed by Opel’s in-house performance tuner Opel Performance Center (OPC) and should be launched early in the new year.
Under its hood is expected to be a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine developing around 300 horsepower. Most likely matched to a standard six-speed manual, the new Astra OPC would be the ideal rival to similar hot hatches like the Volkswagen Golf R
, Mazda Mazdaspeed3
, and upcoming Ford Focus ST
Other performance specs should include Brembo brakes and possible 20-inch wheels. It's still not clear if Opel will keep the vehicle front-wheel drive or install a new all-wheel drive option.
There’s a lot of significance riding on this new model as there’s a strong chance that it will be sold in the U.S. as a Buick, possibly with a “GS” variant included.
The strongest indication yet of such a possibility was the sighting of an Astra GTC sports coupe, the basic model this Astra OPC is based on, testing in the U.S. recently
. In addition, recent UAW negotiations with GM also revealed that an unnamed new compact car is soon to be built in the U.S. and sold as a Buick, further lending credibility to the idea that the car could be headed Stateside soon.
The story doesn’t end there, however. A convertible version of the Astra
is also in the works, and is expected to follow its hardtop sibling to the U.S.