Entering above the Astra GTC, the OPC (Opel Performance Centre) variant gets its own unique body kit with tougher styling, bigger wheels and brakes, performance dynamics and - most importantly - a more powerful engine.
All of that comes at a premium, with the Astra OPC's $42,990 price tag making it one of the more expensive front-wheel-drive hot hatches in Australia.
It's a position Opel is confident the Astra OPC deserves. If looks alone are anything to go by, the German carmaker could be right. (Watch for TMR's full launch review this week.)
The Astra OPC is powered by a 206kW/400Nm 2.0 litre turbo four, delivering a healthy performance advantage over the GTC’s 132kW/230Nm 1.6 litre turbo.
The hot-box is offered exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission.
As with the production GTC, Astra OPC uses Opel’s HiPerStrut front suspension design, but adds FlexRide multi-mode dampers, a mechanical LSD and Brembo brakes (355 x 32mm up front) to help deal with the 2.0 litre’s performance.
The OPC's LSD was developed jointly with motorsport experts Drexler. It is designed to create a locking effect with a 45-degree ramp effect under power, and 90-degrees under deceleration.
Compared with the turbo GTC, the OPC’s springs have been stiffened by 30 percent and the car lowered by 10mm at the front and rear.
Drivers have the choice of three selectable chassis settings: ‘Standard’, ‘Sport’, and the hardcore 'OPC' setting, enhancing throttle response, adjusting dampers further, reducing corner roll and sharpening steering.
Opel has also retuned the Astra's Traction Control and ESP systems for a more performance-focused function.
The ESP system also offers three different modes. Default, ‘Competitive’ (raising the intervention threshold), and ‘ESP-off’ mode: activated by pressing the button down for five seconds, the ESP system can be completely deactivated.
Like all modern OPC models, the Astra has been subjected to a 10,000km testing program on the 20.8km Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Inside the Astra OPC, there's a smaller but meatier sports steering wheel (360mm diameter compared to 370mm in GTC), along with a sports gearshift and alloy-plated pedals.
There are new front sports bucket, mounted 17mm lower than in the Astra GTC and a full 30mm lower than in regular Astra models.
The seat-shells are made from a polyamide and fibreglass composite, measuring just 2mm thick and contributing to a 45 percent weight saving over a regular shell.
The seats are trimmed in Nappa leather, and feature heating and manually-controled extendable front seat cusion, with a powered lumbar/bolster adjustment.
As with the Insignia OPC, the Astra OPC seat has been issued with the Aktion Gesunder Rücken seal of approval for high ergonomic standards.
Big 19-inch wheels are standard, although larger 20-inch alloys can be options - and the latter, at 1.86kg each, weigh 14 percent less than the 20-inch wheels available with the GTC.
- Astra OPC - six-speed manual - $42,990
- 20-inch alloy wheels - $1000
- FlexRide - Standard
- Premium Paint - $695
- Leather Pack - Standard
- Navi Pack - Standard
- Premium Lighting Pack - $2000
Note: prices are RRP and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.