New GM Europe design boss Mark Adams will bring a sharper and more premium look to the next-generation Opel Astra, the company says.
And there may be no better man for the job of sharpening any new model, with Adams formerly responsible for design GM’s prestige marque Cadillac.
News of Adams’ move to GM Europe first surfaced in 2013, but new reports this week offer new insight into what we can expect from the coming new line of Opel models.
According to the UK’s Autocar, last year’s Monza concept - penned by an Adams-led team - offers a strong indication of where Opel will take the next Astra hatch, due in early 2016.
The magazine reports that GM insiders have confirmed that much of the Monza’s unique look will transfer to the Astra, including the bold upright face and sweeping profile.
The bulbous backside and chrome stripped integrated into the roof and tail-lights are also expected to appear, if in a more subtle form.
Performance models could also feature a version of the vented front wheel arches and widened stance.
Much like the new Mazda range, Adams’ approach to the new Opel styling language will focus on delivering a more premium look - without the premium price tag.
This approach can already be seen in the facelifted Insignia unveiled last year, which introduced a more chrome-heavy front and rear styling - although it is the coming Corsa hatch facelift that will reportedly benefit the most from Opel’s new direction.
While not an all-new model, the refreshed Corsa is expected to get tighter shut lines, more chrome and gloss features inside and out, and a new grille that will take after the smaller Adam city car.
On the technical front, the new Astra is expected to ride on an overhauled version of GM’s Delta platform, and its launch will be timed to take advantage of the company’s new engine range, including an 85kW 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine.
Larger 1.6 litre petrol and diesel engines will also feature, while the range-topping OPC model will likely get a 2.0 litre turbocharged unit and the chops to take on today’s leading hot-hatch offerings.
A new and well overdue six-speed manual transmission is also expected to replace the company’s current unit, with a focus on smooth shifting and a short lever action. The new system is understood to weigh just 37kg.
Will we see the new Opel range in Australia? Unlikely - or, at least, not with an Opel badge.
Opel’s lightning one-year visit to the Australian market that ended in August last year is likely to have ruined the brand’s cachet here, but we could yet see Holden return to sourcing at least some of its models from its German stablemate.