With Opel’s new Astra out in the open, attention can now turn to variants other than the regular five-door Hatchback that’s been plastered all over the web in recent months. While a new Wagon and stylish Cabrio have already been speculated on, new reports indicate the sporty three-door Sport Coupe will also make a return but this time around it will be much more aggressively styled than the regular five-door.
The Astra's chief designer, Malcolm Ward, recently revealed that the Sport Coupe would feature a far more rakish and lower profile than the current model and would arrive on the market in 2011. The car will also spawn a high-performance OPC (VXR) variant, though details on this model are yet to be confirmed. OPC, which stands for ‘Opel Performance Center,’ is the name given to models developed by Opel’s official in-house tuner and typically feature minor engine and handling mods as well as styling and performance upgrades such as bigger wheels and sporty bodykits.
Opel's designers will be building upon more than 600 hours of wind tunnel testing that went into the regular five-door model to ensure the new sports hatch is much more aerodynamic. Opel is taking the economy gains that can be had from better aerodynamics very seriously and utilized a number of new design touches to improve efficiency. The front bumper, for example, will be angled to direct air past the wheel and on to the side of the car. There will also be sculpted areas around the rear lights to reduce the pool of air that gathers behind hatchbacks, cutting drag.
The new Astra is crucial for Opel as it will need to recover market share lost by the current model to Ford’s strong-selling Focus hatch as well as fend off the Fiesta compact, and with a number of new and exciting variants in the works it may just accomplish this goal.