These are the first images of Vauxhall’s seventh-generation Astra, which will reach production later this year from the company’s Ellesmere Port manufacturing plant in Cheshire.
Based on an all-new lightweight vehicle architecture with a new design, powertrains and technology, the refreshed Astra will receive its world premiere at the Frankfurt motor show later on this year in September.
Developed by a design team led by Brit Mark Adams, the latest design is said to have been inspired by 2013’s Monza Concept. Representing an evolution of Vauxhall’s ‘sculptural artistry meets technical precision’ design philosophy, the most significant design change is the divided C-pillar, which aims to create the impression of a floating roof.
The new Astra is also leaner and smaller than the outgoing model. With a total length of 4.37 metres it is almost 5 cm shorter than its predecessor. With a height of 1.46 metres it is also 2.6 cm lower. The designers claim the dimensions have an impact on aerodynamics and efficiency with the new body achieving a drag coefficient below 0.30.
Although the wheelbase may have been reduced by 2 cm, the amount of space inside has increased. In combination with newly-designed seats, the passengers in the rear get an additional 35 mm legroom.
Depending on the model and trim level Vauxhall also claims the new Astra will be up to 200 kg (130 kg on average) lighter than its predecessor. The completely new vehicle architecture plays a key role in the weight reduction, with the body shell weight alone being reduced by 20 per cent from 357 kg to 280 kg.
Additional, chassis-related measures have resulted in a further 50 kg weight loss, according to Vauxhall’s engineers. These include high-strength and ultra-high-strength low-weight steels, compact subframes as well as weight reductions to the front and rear axle.
The all-new Astra will features powertrain portfolio including petrol and diesel units ranging from 99 bhp to 197 bhp.
Pick of the bunch according to Vauxhall is the all-new 1.4-litre ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo, a four-cylinder unit from the same family as the one-litre, three-cylinder engine seen in Corsa, ADAM and VIVA. The engine delivers 143 bhp and maximum torque of up to 184 lb-ft, with maximum power available between 1,800 rpm and 4,000 rpm.
Based on its construction, the new unit also adds less weight to the car. The aluminium engine block weighs in at 10 kg less than the cast-iron block of the current 1.4-litre turbo.
There’s also a base-level 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo petrol engine and a 1.6 CDTi ‘Whisper Diesel’ range with outputs starting from 108 bhp up to 158 bhp.
One the UK’s top-selling cars, the Astra is a household name for many British car buyers with over 2.9 million sold in the UK over the last 36 years with over 50,000 last year.