Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mitsubishi CUV, 2011

  •  Mitsubishi CUV, 2011
At the 2010 New York International Auto Show, Mitsubishi Motors expanded the Outlander family lineup with the debut of an all-new crossover utility vehicle (CUV). Designed from the bottom up with a striking design and rigid, lightweight body, the smart-sized crossover combines fuel efficiency with stylish and feature-rich premium performance. Using lightweight, dent-resistant plastic front fender body panels, regenerative braking and enhanced class-leading aerodynamics, engineers have brought estimated highway fuel economy into the 31mpg range. Boosting the new crossover's list of premium features are such standard technologies as Active Stability Control (ASC), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Electric Power Steering (EPS), a comprehensive seven-airbag safety system, and a cutting edge, high-contrast LCD instrument display. Active and stylish buyers will also appreciate the LED-accented Panoramic Glass Roof, 710W nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system and FUSE Hands-free Link system.

Two trims offered in the U.S. market for 2010: the budget-minded ES with a standard 5-speed manual transmission or the premium SE with a standard sportronic 6-speed CVT with magnesium-alloy paddle shifters. Standard for all models is a fuel efficient, 148hp MIVEC-equipped 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A CVT transmission is available on ES trim and electronically controlled All-Wheel Control (AWC) is available on SE models.

One of the core concepts for the new Mitsubishi CUV is a striking new design language known as "compact dynamism", providing a functionally vibrant look that uses proper, flowing aerodynamics to maximize visual impact and fuel efficiency. Featuring Mitsubishi's distinctive front "jet fighter" grille treatment, the clean and refreshing body lines are both emotionally stirring and high grade. By merging the Outlander's driving position and high-impact SUV design with the vigor of a smaller package, designers have created a cutting-edge entry level CUV that fits a broad range of lifestyles.

The new Mitsubishi CUV also features smoothly refined aerodynamics and a class-leading 0.33 coefficient of drag, beating the Mazda CX7 (0.34), Hyundai Tuscon (0.37), and Subaru Forester (0.38). Special steps were taken during the design process, resulting in a wind tunnel tested front face, sloping sides, and gently curving roof. With a lower coefficient of drag, the vehicle's slippery shape is able to cut through air with less effort, increasing both fuel economy and acceleration.

A wide range of eight body colors is available, including new exterior paint options Mercury Gray and Laguna Blue. The ES trim features standard high-rigidity, lightweight 16-in. wheels, available in either steel or aluminum alloy. For those looking for an even sportier look, the SE models include 18-inch alloy wheels and fog lights with chrome bezels. Owners can personalize that exterior with an array of accessories including an optional Exterior Sport Package featuring an alloy fuel door, tailgate spoiler, front skid plate, rear diffuser garnish, and front corner extensions.

Accenting the CUV's exterior treatment and functionality are the addition of LED rear combination taillights on both models and Super wide range High Intensity Discharge (S-HID) headlamps on SE models. With 35% greater light output than standard HID headlamps and a wide coverage beam, S-HID headlamps provide extra visibility and security when driving on dark roads.

In essence the Outlander's "little brother", this entry-level crossover merges the Outlander family's impressive real world capability with a smaller, more maneuverable urban package. Designed to fit with a wide range of active lifestyles, the vehicle features the easy entry, exit, and turning radius of a smaller vehicle yet also the higher sightline and interior volume of a CUV. Seeking to create a dynamic new shape without compromising interior space, designers came up with a spacious five-passenger body that is 14.6-inches shorter than the Outlander. Compared to the Lancer passenger car, the new Mitsubishi CUV features a visual reference point that is almost 5-inches taller.

The entry-level CUV is also more agile and maneuverable than its competitors, featuring an independent suspension design and dynamic shape that leads to easier parking and driving. At just 34.8-ft., its turning circle is smaller than the Ford Escape (36.7-ft.), Nissan Rogue (37.4-ft.), and Honda CR-V (37.8-ft.).

The new crossover's dynamic and compact design is also lightweight at just 3,042-lb. for the ES 5-speed manual transmission model. This reduction in weight was achieved through the use of thinner high-strength steel in the hood, tailgate, and doors, recycled plastic front fenders, and new interior materials. Just a few examples of the design team's attention to detail include changing the handle lock body from zinc to magnesium and using less door trim. Compared to the Hyundai Tucson's 3,179-lb., Nissan Rogue's 3,281-lb. (with roof rails), and Mazda CX7's 3,496-lb., Mitsubishi's new CUV's lower curb weight allows it to deliver better fuel economy and better handling.

All models come standard with a MIVEC-equipped 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces 148hp at 6,000rpm and 145lb-ft of torque at 4,200rpm. Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) models produce 143hp at 6,000rpm and 143lb-ft of torque at 4,200rpm. In order to reduce weight, the engine block is cast out of lightweight aluminum and MIVEC variable valve timing technology is used to improve both engine output and efficiency.

Paired with the 2.0-liter engine in ES models is a 5-speed manual transmission or a steering column-mounted paddle shift 6-step Sportronic CVT available. SE trims come standard with the fuel economy-optimized CVT transmission. Mitsubishi engineers have spent countless development hours optimizing the CVT transmission's shift patterns and gear ratios, as well as reducing friction within its hydraulic oil control for greater fuel economy. To enhance the driving experience, magnesium alloy paddle shifters are mounted just behind the steering wheel, allowing the driver to switch between automatic and manual shifting modes without moving their hands. The CVT's manual gear shifting Sport mode can be selected by either pulling the paddle shifter while the lever is in "D" or by selecting Sport mode with the shift lever. After Sport mode is activated, the driver can shift up or down using the paddle shifters. Pulling the right paddle shifter for at least two seconds will deactivate Sport mode.

All models are equipped with revolutionary new lightweight and dent resistant plastic front fenders. Made from recycled materials, the plastic body panels contribute to a lower curb weight and increased fuel efficiency. Reducing friction and drag with the road surface also helps increase fuel economy and the new crossover comes specifically equipped with tires with a low rolling resistance coefficient. An Electric Power Steering (EPS) system has also been added to eliminate the parasitic engine drag found in conventional hydraulic power steering systems, freeing up engine efficiency and increasing fuel economy.

In order to reduce fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions, the highly efficient engine is paired with a "smart" alternator and regenerative braking system. Recharging the onboard batteries using friction energy during braking, the system detects battery-charging conditions and utilizes the unique alternator to adjust voltage based on the vehicle load. Combined with the recycled body panels, class-leading aerodynamics, EPS, low curb weight, and efficient engine, the braking system helps push the new Mitsubishi CUV into the 31mpg range on the highway.

With its low curb weight, compact mobility, and available electronically controlled AWC, the compact crossover also features a fun-to-drive handling balance that resonates with active Mitsubishi CUV buyers. Designed to be nimble and swift both on-road and off-road, the vehicle combines outstanding ground clearance with a tuned Mac Pherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension design. Lightweight suspension pieces and front and rear swaybars are just a few elements of a suspension that has been tuned for better agility, roll control, and ride comfort. Four-wheel independent gas-charged shock absorbers and coil springs are used at all four corners.

Standard on all models are the driver assist aids Active Stability Control (ASC) and Hill Start Assist (HSA). Making for a more controlled and pleasant driving experience through all situations, ASC helps ensure stability during slippery driving conditions and maintains control after sudden driving inputs. ASC also features traction control to prevent wheel spin, ensuring worry-free take-offs and increased grip on slippery roads. Hill Start Assist uses front and rear gravity sensors to detect steep hills or gradients and applies brake pressure to prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards, making for easier starts.

Building upon Mitsubishi's reputation in off-road performance, the SE features an available electronically controlled All-Wheel Control (AWC) 4WD system. The AWC system comes with the same capable "drive anywhere" functionality on other Mitsubishi vehicles the AWC provides increased handling, traction, and stability during any driving or weather situation. The compact design of the AWC system also calls for low viscosity transfer case oil for reduced friction and is capable of being switched between 2WD and 4WD modes, optimizing fuel efficiency.

The new crossover's AWC system also features a driver control knob, conveniently located in the center console, to adjust the electronically controlled coupling. With selectable fuel-efficient 2WD, capable 4WD Auto and rough surface 4WD Lock modes, AWC allows the driver to maximize fuel economy and traction at all times and over all surfaces.


Showcasing new premium materials, the interior is designed for sporty functionality and possesses a look previously found only in more expensive SUVs. From the first press of the One-touch Start System (OSS), standard on SE models, the new crossover offers the driver a modern experience. Highlighting the driver's experience is a first-in-class full color, high contrast LCD instrument display meter, accented with bold meter rings, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob. The instrument display also features an ECO driver indicator light, which signals when the vehicle is driven in a fuel-efficient manner. Covering the dashboard surfaces and extending to the door trim is a stylish, grained soft padding that gives a premium look and feel.

From its 60/40 split-folding rear seats to its spacious luggage area and armrest pass-through, the compact crossover is designed for interior space and functionality. Available on SE models with the Premium Package is the striking and fresh Panoramic Glass Roof with LED ambient lighting. Almost 20% wider and 219% longer than a typical sunroof, the Panoramic Glass Roof offers a spacious view of the surrounding skies and offers rear seat occupants a new feeling of greater interior space. Adding modern styling cues, LED lighting within the Panoramic Glass Roof provides an ambient accent to the cabin at night.

From the chassis design on up, the new Mitsubishi CUV was created with safety in mind. Based on the Outlander structure, which has received the highest NCAP safety rating for collision-worthiness, the new crossover uses the same Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body design. This improves impact safety from all directions by utilizing a high rigidity body and crush zones which progressively crumble to absorb collision energy. The windshield has been given a wide glass area and high eye point for increased visibility and its lower base designed with the hood to reduce injury to pedestrians. Key structural areas on the chassis also direct energy away from the cabin and occupants while front and side members feature crush box front sections, which help reduce the cost of body repairs after minor incidents.

Other by-product of a rigid structure is increased stability and ride comfort. To further reduce cabin noise and vibration, the crossover's pillars have been foam filled for strength and the engine bay fitted with sound absorption material. Triple-sealing the side sills and double-sealing the door surrounds further improve sound insulation.

Keeping occupants safe inside during collisions is a comprehensive seven-airbag supplementary restraint system, which includes side, curtain, and a driver's knee airbag. Not a feature commonly found in this class, the driver's knee airbag controls posture and prevents injury to the legs during a frontal collision. The CUV's seats have been optimized to reduce whiplash and the front seats feature pretensioners that secure occupants during collisions and force-limiters that gently release to reduce the risk of injury.

Offering greater convenience and reduced distractions, the FUSE Hands-free Link System combines advanced voice-recognition capabilities with Bluetooth 2.0 enabled hands-free calling and audio playback. With the FUSE system, drivers can experience new levels of entertainment convenience while still retaining the capability to focus fully on the road. Automatic phonebook transfer and multiple phone support are both elements of the FUSE Hands-free Link System, as well as control of the SE model's optional navigation system, which is equipped with a 40GB hard disk drive for quick point-of-interest lookup. Full iPod and USB music device charging and playback are featured as well for portable music compatibility.

The new crossover features a variety of electronic accessory options. These additional features solidify the CUV's already refined and rich driving experience. SE models include a number of convenience features that would normally be found only in more expensive offerings such as standard automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers and the keyless FAST-key passive entry system with push-button, One-Touch Start/Stop (OSS). Also available on SE models, the optional 40GB hard disk drive navigation system provides accurate mapping and lifetime real-time traffic updates with its 7-inch LCD display and doubles as a music server. The optional Rockford Fosgate in-car entertainment system has a full 710 watts of power and nine speakers for greater sound detail and quality.


Realizing the desire of many hip and stylish urban buyers to customize their crossover, Mitsubishi has announced a number of optional customization packages. The Exterior Sport Package includes a large tailgate spoiler, front corner extensions, rear diffuser garnish, front skid plate, and alloy fuel door. The Protection Package offers a scuff plate cover, rear bumper plate, and front and rear mudguards. The Interior Package features a chromed Piano Black panel garnish and gearshift panel, and a black leather and aluminum CVT shift knob. The Illumination Package includes blue LED floor illumination lighting for the driver and front passenger, and a blue LED tailgate light. Also available is the Cargo Package, which includes a cargo mat, tonneau cover, and rear cargo net. With so many options and customization choices, Mitsubishi's all-new crossover is designed to fit with nearly any owner and active lifestyle.
Read More

Mercury Sable, 2008

  •  Mercury Sable, 2008

Unveiled at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show, the new 2008 Mercury Sable with a sophisticated new look inside and out, a significantly quieter cabin, a more plush ride and a more powerful 3.5-liter V-6.

Sophisticated style brings the exterior to life

Sable's modern, distinctive look builds on the clean, modern design themes first introduced on the Mercury Mountaineer and that were further refined on the Milan and new Mariner.

Sable's clean, integrated front-end design centers on Mercury's signature satin aluminum waterfall grille flanked by exquisitely detailed, jeweled projector beam headlamps that sweep up over the front fenders. Additional visual highlights at the front of vehicle include new chrome surrounds for the fog lamps and bright, satin aluminum caps on the side mirrors.

Sable's distinctive LED tail lamps feature a predominantly white lens with red accent stripes. The new rear fascia has a cutout for the chrome-tips on the dual exhaust system, a visual cue that suggests more power under the hood. A chrome strip on the bottom edge of the deck lid provides a finishing touch.

Cool and expressive accents sharpen the interior
Complementing the clean exterior, a core attribute of Mercury design is a modern, airy interior. With Sable, this design direction comes to life in two-tone interior trim with unique accents. Customers preferring a more technical appearance, for example, can opt for Cyber Carbon, a deep, high-gloss accent that resembles carbon fiber. Alternatively, two modern wood grain accents - Guitar Maple or San Macassar - are available.

Standard cloth seats wear an updated and modern graphic design while the Premier Series offers supple two-tone leather seats detailed with contrast stitching and featuring a new, more modern, perforated pattern. The rectangular shapes of the perforations are placed farther apart for a more progressive, contemporary look. The same pattern is repeated on the door panels.

Contemporary Mercury design are also very sophisticated in their technology needs. The 2008 Sable offers the right connection for driver and passenger alike.

In addition to a standard auxiliary audio input jack, available convenience features include a voice-activated navigation system, a DVD entertainment system and factory-installed SIRIUS satellite radio and Ford Sync, a voice-activated hands-free in-car communications and entertainment system which fully-integrates mobile phones and digital media players.

A comfortable, quiet driving experience
A completely revised sound package gives the new Sable interior quietness that rivals many luxury cars. Technologies like expandable foam pellets in the A-Pillars and improved sound-deadening material in the doors, headliner and pillars help reduce interior noise levels

Sable's quiet and confident ride is delivered in part by a revised MacPherson-strut front suspension with 10 percent more travel, new dampers and spring rates, and a retuned independent coil-over rear suspension. A new power steering system uses an intelligent electric pump to provide extra steering assist for such tasks as parking, and dials down the assist when it's not needed, for example, when cruising on the freeway.
Sable features an award-winner, 3.5-liter V-6 engine and a sharp, six-speed transmission. The Duratec 35 engine makes an estimated 260 horsepower, a nearly 30 percent increase over the outgoing Duratec 30, and 245 pound-feet of torque.

The all-wheel-drive system - similar to the system used on the new Mercury Mariner - features an electronically-controlled center coupling that can distribute exact amounts of torque from front to rear, up to 100 percent to either axle.
The 2008 Mercury Sable's real-world fuel economy, even with the additional power and performance, is expected to be similar to the outgoing Montego model - thanks mainly to advancements in powertrain technology.

A clever, safe choice

The new Sable is expected to be a segment leader in safety, capable of achieving five stars in all four categories for the U.S. government's crash tests.

Advance Trac electronic stability control system is on all Sable models. Additional standard safety features includes dual-stage driver and passenger front air bags, seat-deployed side air bags for driver and front passenger, and Ford's Safety Canopy™ side curtain air bags for both rows of seats. A new steering wheel design recesses the airbag 15 millimeters farther away from the driver, for an added measure of safety.
Read More

Friday, May 25, 2012

Jeep Wrangler Arctic, 2012

  •  Jeep Wrangler Arctic, 2012

Based on the Wrangler Sahara model, the Jeep Wrangler Arctic's winter theme is immediately recognizable. Available colors are Winter Chill, Bright Silver and Bright White. Exterior features include a body-color hardtop and fender flares, "Arctic" badges on the front fenders, a "Yeti Footprint" decal over part of the driver's side fender and hood, black hood decal and Mopar black fuel filler door and taillamp guards.

The Jeep Wrangler Arctic also offers an aggressive Wrangler Rubicon tire and wheel package, with unique semi-gloss black 17-inch wheels shod with 32-inch tires.

The Inside, 
Jeep Wrangler Arctic's seats are black Tectonic fabric with Polar White accents and orange piping and accent stitching. Front seats are heated and feature an "Arctic" logo in the seat back. Accent stitching can also be found on the steering wheel, arm rest and console lid. Door trim and nets are accented in orange, and all grab handles and dashboard vent rings are finished in Polar White trim.

Mopar tread pattern slush mats with white "Jeep" lettering complete the Wrangler Arctic package.
Read More

Opel Astra GTC, 2012


  • Opel Astra GTC, 2012

The new Opel Astra GTC´s sculpted shapes with precise accents and dramatic proportions make it the ultimate expression of Opel´s design language. And on the road, all Opel Astra GTC versions benefit from a premium front axle layout with HiPerStrut - High Performance Strut - that ideally combines with the clever Opel patented Watt's link rear axle to provide unmatched stability and the sharpest driving precision. Other innovations in the new Astra GTC include driver assistance systems based on the second generation Opel Eye front camera with expanded functionality and the new, fourth generation Bi-Xenon Advanced Forward Lighting (AFL+).

Unlike many three-door versions of existing compact hatches, the GTC will be a standalone model in Opel's range and the ultimate Astra in design and driving dynamics. It does not share any exterior element with other members of the Astra family, except for the outside rear view mirror housing and the rod antenna. Six of the seven 17- to 20-inch wheel designs on offer are also GTC-only features.

For the new Opel Astra GTC is the panoramic windscreen. For the unique feature, which successfully made its production debut 2006 in the previous Astra GTC generation, Opel engineers filed a total of 11 patents during its development. The large panoramic windshield extends seamlessly from the hood up into the roof as far as the B-pillar. With no cross-member to spoil the view, it offers driver and passengers a unique driving experience and a completely new sense of space and visibility with an almost unlimited field of vision, similar to the view from a jetplane cockpit.

Sharp looks enhance Opel's design language
The Opel Astra GTC manages to combine the best of both worlds: on the one hand passion and emotion, on the other a high degree of utility in day to day usage. Its sleek looks are very striking and are the very essence of Opel's design language. The atmosphere of the roomy interior is sporty and classy. The loading capacity (1.165 liters) is considerably greater than that of its direct competitors. "The Astra GTC expresses our passion for cars," the Opel/Vauxhall Vice President for Design, Mark Adams, explains. "This represents our most emotional vehicle so far, yet it does not sacrifice on the emotional with the functional side."

In contrast to many other coupés which are often merely hatchback variants of a sedan, the Opel Astra GTC is a standalone car within the Opel product spectrum. It is the sharpest looking Astra when it comes to design and the very essence of what a coupé should be, because of its extraordinary usefulness in day to day situations. None of the components in the Astra GTC have been lifted from other Astras, apart from the mounting of the rear mirror and the aerial.

The design team was tasked with giving a new and dynamic expression of its mission statement of "sculptural artistry meets German precision". They came up with a car that is as uncompromising as a wild cat, crouching down on the street, ready to leap. However, at the same time it can be gentle and playful. "The essence of the new Opel design language is to reduce everything to the maximum. And the Opel Astra GTC is our most radical interpretation of that," says the Opel Exterior Design Director, Malcolm Ward. "We wanted to create a really attractive car made up of only a few key dynamic lines."

There are only three lines that create tension and define the outline of the silhouette.
A fine, crisp line sweeps downward from the front door to the bottom of the rear fender and energizes the body side. A second line encapsulates the door handle and stretches to the rear, emphasizing the GTC's dramatic stance by spreading the surfaces to a fine undercut and a broad shoulder. The third line follows the clean, sporty silhouette of the roof.

No compromising on design

The designers' unwillingness to compromise, particularly when designing the GTC shoulder area, put the whole engineering team up against a challenge. The sheet metal sections needed to be pressed unusually deeply to enable realization of the wide shoulder and dominant wheelhouses from the sketch and clay model. Just a few years ago, this would have been technically impossible. A "real" door made of steel was built earlier than usual, so that new production methods could be tested - and to help determine if the final car could do justice to the initial vision. And it did.

Panoramic windscreen offers unique vistas
The Opel Astra GTC is a standalone car in its own right and its striking design re-enforces that impression. The Vice President of Design, Mark Adams, wants to avoid what he calls the "Russian Dolls" effect, where all models look the same and just differ in size. He states that "It is important that each vehicle in our portfolio has its own personality, because each has a unique role in our portfolio and appeals to different customers."

Therefore the panoramic windscreen was reserved exclusively for the Opel Astra GTC within the Astra family. The windscreen gives the racy compact coupé a dynamic look and a luxurious note. The large front windscreen stretches all the way to the middle of the car roof and gives the driver and the passengers an extraordinary visual, space and driving experience. In contrast to other glass roof solutions, in this case there is no transverse spar that reduces visibility. On the contrary, the roof boosts the roominess of the interior, thus improving the driving experience. The driver, his co-pilot and the passengers in the rear are able to enjoy a vista, similar to what pilots experience under the light plane canopies.

From the outside, the panoramic windscreen together with its black metallic steel roof looks like a continuous surface. The A and B pillars are also coated in black as well as the roof liner, reinforcing the impression of a homogenous surface. In the event of very powerful sun rays a roller blind can be lowered inside the cabin which sits under the panoramic glass. This helps create a pleasant atmosphere. The device which is continuously variable can be easily adjusted and then may be attached with a turning handle. The solar protection comes complete with an integrated sun visor which even in its opened state disappears behind the rear roof component.

The athletic powerhouse with practical strengths
In contrast to its competitors, the Opel Astra GTC is not handicapped by its coupé pedigree to deal with every situations on the road. The flexible boot that can load between 380 and 1.165 liters, comes in addition to the room for five passengers. The storage space inside the cabin was increased by 50 percent in comparison to its predecessor. In the Cosmo variant, the electric parking brake (EPB) is a basic feature and contributes to an efficient space distribution in the Opel Astra GTC. Specifically in the central console, where storage capacity is normally much in demand, the EPB pays off. It means that depending on which features have been added to the car, there are up to 19 storage facilities on board.

The flowing and sculptural shape of the outside body work is continued on the inside with curved surfaces and circular features. The wing-like instrument panel embraces the front seats in a wide arc. Similar to wing tips the upper segments of the door panels give the impression of a broad span that offers protection. The sickle shape, associated with Opel, is also reflected in the design features, for example in the shape of the shiny, chrome door knobs and the gear stick cover. The elegant central console has been fitted with a flat angle, creating a harmonious, flowing transition from the dash board to the gear box.

This in turn enhances the roominess of the interior. The overall atmosphere is very pleasant thanks to décor details such as the chrome instrument fittings and knobs or the juxtaposition of the user-friendly surfaces and the pleasant back-lighting.

New materials, colors and patterns give a further boost to the very sporty nature of the Opel Astra GTC. For example, the color combinations include Imola, Red/Morrocana, Black or Imola, Black/Morrocana, Black for the middle seat segments and the side panels. They are the ideal combination with the décor panels which are painted in piano-lacquer style. Further leather accessories are also available, including the elegant velour leather "Dinamica-Black". The sports steering wheel which is easy to grip is part of the basic features and fits perfectly with the nature of the Opel Astra GTC. The front seats have the highest degree of flexibility in the segment in order to do justice to every style of driver. Another optional extra is the ergonomic sports seat which can be adjusted in eight different positions. The seat carries the quality seal from the German healthy back association "Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V."

Bespoke layout for the ultimate driving experience
The new Astra GTC is a standalone model in its own right within the Opel product spectrum. Its breathtaking looks and dynamic handling were the focal points at the development stage. The bespoke chassis layout of the sporty compact car delivers a sense of fun and precise handling. The chassis of the new GTC is 15 millimeters lower than that of the 5-door Astra, while the wheelbase has grown by 10mm, from 2685mm to 2695mm. Both tracks are wider, too, at 1584mm (+40mm) front and 1588mm (+30mm) rear. The end result is that the Opel Astra GTC has a strong presence on the road.

High-tech front suspension appeals to sports fans
Right from the start of the GTC's development program the target was to deliver a driver-oriented feel to the car. The precise response of steering and dampers should not reduce comfort and performance in daily traffic. The solution is called HiPerStrut (High-Performance Strut). In all its versions, the Opel Astra GTC possesses this exclusive high-performance suspension strut. It is based on the system currently seen on the 239 kW/325 hp Insignia OPC. In its newly adapted form to the compact coupe, the new front suspension provides better handling and more responsive steering - just what sports car drivers are looking for. The HiPerStrut uses the same pick up points, but achieves a reduction of the inclination angle by 44 percent and shortens the spindle length (kingpin offset) by 46 percent with a reduced lever arm. This helps prevent torque-steer - a trait of many powerful front-wheel-drive cars - allowing drivers to make more use of the GTC's performance without the steering being corrupted.

The Rear axle with Watt's link optimizes comfort and car handling

The combination of compound-crank axle and Watt's link which has proven successful in the 5-door Astra, is also being used in the Opel Astra GTC. This rear axle system is lighter and more compact than a multi-link rear suspension and provides better lateral stability. The Watt's link is fitted to a small cross-member attached to the underside of the car, just behind the rear wheel center line. It comprises a short, pivoting center link with a ball joint at each end, to which the lateral links from the wheels are bolted. In a straight line, the set up ensures excellent stability, but during cornering it minimizes lateral deflection in the same way a modern multi-link system would do. Opel's engineers estimate that the linkage absorbs around 80 percent of all lateral loads on the rear suspension. In addition, the Watt's link allows for softer bushings, which no longer have to compensate for toe changes at the rear of the car, and thus there is a reduction in annoying factors such as vibration from the road surface and noise level.

Mechatronic FlexRide boosts safety and driving fun
The lay out of the Astra GTC chassis has been designed to perfectly integrate Opel's intelligent, fully-adaptive FlexRide chassis control system. FlexRide links the separate electronic driving assistance components to one another, including the ESC stability control and the adaptive dampers, CDC. In this way, the chassis automatically adapts to road conditions, cornering speed, vehicle movements and individual driving style. Better handling and vehicle balance also enhance driving safety in emergency situations. In addition, the driver can chose from three different FlexRide settings at the touch of a button: one can choose anytime between the balanced Standard mode, the comfort-oriented "Tour" mode or the more active "Sport" mode.

Precise steering with electric power steering
Precision, feedback and confidence: these were the three target elements for the GTC's bespoke steering program. The challenge was to optimize the Rack-assist electric power steering REPS in such a way that it would feel lighter at lower speeds while at the same time offering closer contact with the road surface at higher speeds. The Opel Astra GTC uses a rack and pinion steering system with speed sensitive assistance. But in order to provide drivers with a more precise steering response, the system's electric motor was mounted directly on the steering rack, as opposed to the base of the steering column. At higher speeds, the power steering assistance is automatically reduced so that the driver can steer in a more precise fashion than with conventional power steering. The second important benefit is that, because it does not require an energy consuming hydraulic pump and responds directly to the amount of power needed at any speed, fuel consumption is also reduced.

Broad engine spectrum for new compact coupé
Since the start of orders, the new Opel Astra GTC has been available with a choice of five engines - a powerful 2.0 liter turbo diesel with 121 kW/165 hp alongside four agile gasoline engines with outputs from 74 kW/100 hp to the 1.6 turbo with 132 kW/180 hp. All engines are compliant with Euro-5. Apart from the entry-level gasoline version, all engines are combined with six-gear manual transmissions. Further high performance engines will be launched next year, including the 206 kW/280 hp OPC variant. The diesel spectrum will then be extended at the start of 2012 with further two engines: both are 1.7 liter CDTI variants, either as a 81 kW/110 hp or as a 96kW/130 hp version. They are equipped with fuel saving Start/Stop technology. Soon Opel will launch a new 121/165 hp diesel unit with a user-friendly six-gear automatic transmission.

Nippy 1.6 turbo

Fans of sporty cars will appreciate the great sense of fun the 1.6 liter, 132 kW/180 hp engine has to offer. The nippy turbo ensures that the GTC can achieve a top speed of 220 km/h. It can accelerate the engine from zero to 100 km/h in just 8.3 seconds. The powerhouse boasts a maximum torque of 230 Newton meters with only 168 g/km in CO2 emissions. In order to cope with the higher operating temperatures which are typical in a turbo, the engine's outlet valves have been filled with sodium. In addition, the piston head has been fitted with splash oil cooling. Furthermore, a map-controlled thermostat increases the coolant temperature at lower revolutions. This improves the fluidity of the engine oil, while decreasing friction and reducing fuel consumption.

Powerful and sporty two-liter diesel
The Common-Rail turbo diesel 2.0 CDTI engine has 121 kW/165 hp and maximum torque of 350 Newtonmeters. Thanks to the Overboost function, the sporty compact car can draw 380 Nm torque at short notice. The engine performance enables the car to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 8.9 s. Its maximum speed is 210 km/h. The engine combines a powerful driving performance with a high level of economy. In fact, the average fuel consumption is a mere 4.8 liters on 100 kilometers. This is equivalent to 127 g/km of CO2 emissions. This 2.0 CDTI version of the Opel Astra GTC can travel more than 1.100 km on a tank of 56 liters. The Opel Start/Stop system which has its greatest fuel saving potential in town traffic is a standard feature.

Optimized motor management ensures that the 2.0 CDTI engine can run efficiently in any condition. Cylinder pressure censors fitted to the spark plugs make this possible (Cleantech Combustion Technology) and ensure more precise combustion control. The new multiple injection system works at a pressure of 1.600 bar and delivers up to five injections per cycle. It refines the combustion process and hereby lowers the fuel consumption. The bearings used by the twin upper camshafts were improved by the Opel engineers which in turn reduces friction and saves fuel.

Two new 1.7 CDTI models expand the spectrum in 2012
The diesel engine offering in the compact coupe segment will be complimented by two new 1.7 CDTI engines at the start of 2012. The Common-Rail direct injection engines deliver 81 kW/110 hp or 96 kW/130 hp and provide torque of 280 and 300 Nm respectively. The Start/Stop technology comes as a standard feature in the Opel Astra GTC 1.7 CDTI version. This means that carbon emissions are as low as 119 g/km and fuel consumption is only 4.5 liters on 100 km. The new motor management which was developed from scratch by Opel engineers delivers the highest level of efficiency and power in both engine models.

Reduced compression and operating pressures of 1,800 bar ensure that the new injection system can deliver up to five injections per cycle. As well as it is the case for the 2.0 CDTI, a new turbo charger with variable blade geometry helps to maintain a low fuel consumption. The turbo charger has a very precise boost control thanks to an additional actuator censor.
Read More