A disused Opel production line facility in Russelsheim wasn’t perhaps the most glamorous location I visited during 2010, but it contained the car that made a huge impression on me, even without driving it: the Vauxhall/Opel GTC Paris Concept.
The GM design team, led by Brit Mark Adams, has taken what was already a decent-looking proposition - the five-door Astra - and turned it into a car that really does soften the line between hot hatchback and svelte coupé. The GTC Paris is a fabulous mix of acute curves, ‘blade’ surfacing and some of the most complex pressings I’ve ever seen (the boot shape alone is a work of art).
What impressed me most about this car is that almost all of its stunning details - complex panel work and all - are likely to be confirmed for production all too soon.
Come the end of the year, we’ll be able to buy this car with around 300bhp and a chassis that’s being set up specifically for the UK. Those involved in delivering on the promise shown by the ‘concept’ can rarely have faced a more daunting task; if you’re a hot hatch fan like me, you’ll be keeping your fingers crossed.