Vauxhall promises benchmark handling for rakish new three-door, due this autumn

Vauxhall claims that its new, UK-developed Astra GTC will be the most dynamic car in its class when it’s launched later this year.

The three-door coupé, conceived to rival the Renault Mégane coupé and Volkswagen Scirocco, has undergone extensive chassis tuning by the Vauxhall Engineering Centre at Millbrook and on UK roads.

The result, Vauxhall says, is a car that will offer “unmatched stability and handling precision”. All models feature the Insignia VXR’s sophisticated HiPer strut front suspension and a Watt’s link axle at the rear, a combination that, claims Vauxhall, reduces torque steer, improves grip and cornering power, and bolsters steering precision and feedback.

See the official pics of the new Vauxhall Astra GTC

Only the door handles and roof aerial remain from the GTC’s five-door sister car. The ride height is 10mm lower, it has a 10mm longer wheelbase and the track is 40mm wider at the front and 30mm wider at the rear.

The Astra GTC also gets FlexRide adaptive damping that automatically adjusts to differing road surfaces and driving styles, with three driving modes — Standard, Sport and Tour — offered at the touch of a button.

No body panels are carried over from the five-door and the styling remains faithful to last year’s well received GTC Paris concept designed by Opel/Vauxhall design chief Mark Adams. His aim was to “create a car that looks like it’s been plucked from the class above, with its low, wide stance and simple, yet rakish lines”.

The range of turbocharged engines includes a 1.4 petrol with either 118bhp or 138bhp, a 178bhp 1.6 petrol and a 2.0 diesel with 163bhp. Final performance figures have yet to be confirmed, but the 1.6 petrol will hit 132mph.

Read Autocar's scoop on the new Vauxhall Astra GTC VXR

The diesel is likely to be the best all-rounder, offering 0-62mph in 8.9sec and a 130mph top speed, plus CO2 emissions of 129g/km and 57.6mpg combined economy. Stop-start and a six-speed manual gearbox are standard on all GTCs.

Vauxhall claims the GTC has space for four adults in comfort and their luggage, despite its sleek profile. Boot space is 370 litres, increasing to 1235 litres with the rear seats folded.

Standard kit on entry-level Sport models includes 18-inch alloys, a DAB stereo and an electronic parking brake. Top-spec SRI models get tinted glass, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and foglamps. Bi-xenon lights are optional across the range.

Prices start at £18,495 for the 118bhp 1.4 Sport, rising to £22,930 for the diesel SRI. The Scirocco range starts at £19,575 for the 1.4 TSI; Mégane coupé prices start at £18,230 for the 1.4 TCe.

Mark Tisshaw

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