Opel Astra GTC 1.6T Sport

What is it?

Well it’s the slightly warmer Coupe version of the underrated Opel Astra. Commonly confused with the OPC, which is the HOT version, the GTC is available in only 1.4T Enjoy (base level) and 1.6T Sport (Top trim – Tested). It is definitely the best looking Opel on the road today.

Beautiful side profile

Ok so what does it compete with?

The GTC competes directly with the VW Scirocco and Renault Megane Coupe, all of these are 3 door coupe models that provide the same interior as their 5door siblings but offer more styling.

The Scirocco offers a 1.4TFSI (R299K) developing 118kW as well as a 2litre TFSI  (R347) motor pushing out 155kW.

The Renault also sports a 1.4Turbo (R259K) model developing 96kW as well as a 1.6litre (R239K) naturally aspirated unit developing 86kW.

How much does the Astra GTC cost then?

The 1.4T enjoy comes in at R287K and the 1.6T Sport at R304K

Does it handle well?

Let me say this – it has an exceptionally well balanced chassis. It has a lowered sporty suspension, but finds an exceptional balance between comfort as well as a dynamic drive when you’re pushing hard. It’s based on the same suspension as the Astra, which is one of the best. Opel also added the HiperStrut suspension elements that basically keep the front wheels from giving so much torque steer off acceleration and through bends. It works well I must be honest.

The engine never really gives enough shunt to push incredibly hard but it does an excellent job with what it’s got. Steering is light when parking and gets a heaver as you add speed, but isn’t anything to write home about.

Highways. Busy

Wait so does the 1.6T have enough power to race off the traffic lights?

Well yes and no. It’s the same unit that does justice in the Astra, and produces 132kW and 230NM. Its 0-100km/h time is 8.3 seconds so it’s not exactly going to have you screaming like a banchee, but ain’t gonna leave you embarrassed. The real winner is the mid-range punch in second and third. It can be a little tight at first, but once the car is warmed up it gets into the rev range quite nicely. It’s definitely not as fast as the 2litre unit from VW, but slots nicely above the Renault.

Opel says the focus of the 1.4T is fuel economy (Weird), but the 1.6T didn’t return great results at just over 10l/100km.

 

Good lookin’ rear

Does it come in an automatic?

No, currently only a manual, it’s the same 6 speed unit as the 5 door Astra and I’m not a huge fan. I find it a bit tight and the gears too close to one another. The shift into second was definitely a problem and kept dogging especially in the cold, but that might have just been the unit I had.

 

Familiar Astra

 

If it’s a 3door is there any space?

Well surprisingly yes. Unlike the Scirocco there is space for 3 in the back, and even when there’s 2 adults in the rear they sit comfortable and there’s enough headroom. It’s not a Kombi but even the boot has more space than the regular Astra! Ha! Weirdly the boot floor slopes, which means everything rolls to the back. Arg! As with most coupe’s the door are exceptionally long and heavy and access to the rear is via the front seat folding flat so it’s not easy for every day in and out.

 

Like the Scirocco is to the Golf, does it have a different interior to the Astra?

Nope, not at all, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Astra GTC interior is a lovely place to be. Sporty bucket seats that are heated and covered in leather trim come standard, and are very supportive. Auto lights, windshield wipers, a good sound system, controls on the steering wheel and dual zone climate control. Familiar aggressive red lighting appears under the gear lever, doors and from the roof which ads to the sporty feel. Quality is exactly what you’d expect in the price and everything is fairly easy to use and understand. What I didn’t like was how hard it was to get the seatbelt out from the B pillar. That all said, I think the interior is better put together than the Scirocco or the Renault, with less rattles and cheap plastics.

Considering the competitors would you buy it?

Absolutely. It’s very competitively priced, and well specced considering. Also, if you’re a single guy / gal and you don’t need a 5door the 3door does everything it does and looks 10 times better. When it comes down to price it competes very well against the Scirocco and is better in quality, and looks a lot hotter than the Renault Megane Coupe.

Any major gripes?

Honestly it’s such a sporty looking car I would have liked to see a bit more power to the front wheels. It could have done with a bigger engine considering the OPC will come out with over 200kW on tap, and the Scirocco does near the same performance out of a 1.4T.

Finally…

It does everything well, looks killer, but does nothing brilliantly, which could count in its favour or against it. For someone who wants a coupe with a fair bit of shunt, a well-balanced drive and good looks, this is definitely something to look at.

 

 

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