Driving the Vauxhall Astra GTC 1.4 Turbo SportBy Chris Walsh
April 10, 2012
To the uninitiated, the new Vauxhall Astra GTC is basically a slightly more driver-focused, two-door version of the regular four-door Astra. But to those in the know, the GTC represents some stiff competition to the very popular and attractive, Volkswagen Scirocco.
The Astra GTC enters the UK market, priced from just £18,495, which is nearly £1,350 less than the basic VW Scirocco – so first blood to the GTC. But even in entry-level trim, the Astra GTC adopts the sophisticated HiPerStrut front suspension derived from the Insignia VXR, offering handling and stability that will also be just as fun.
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The way the car looks is crucial for this market, so purchasers who might be put off by ‘Astra’ tag may like to know that the door handles and roof aerial are the only two elements that it shares with the Astra - even the wheelbase and tracks are different. Brit, Mark Adams, Vauxhall’s Vice President of Design, has aimed to create a car that looks like it’s been plucked from the class above, with its low, wide stance and simple lines.
In profile, the design team has created tension in the GTC’s shape by minimising the fuss running along the body. Vauxhall’s signature ‘blade’, a crisp line that sweeps up from the rocker at the front of the door is similar to the Insignia’s but runs the opposite way to other Astras. A second line strikes through the door handle and stretches to the rear, while a third line follows the roof’s profile, guiding the eye to the sharply integrated spoiler.
High quality materials feature in all GTCs, as do chrome-edged instruments in deep-set binnacles that give drivers clear and well laid-out information. Standard on all GTCs are DAB stereo and USB functionality, while SRi drivers get an onboard computer and leather-rimmed steering wheel, among many other standard items.
The GTC comes with a flexible range of petrol and diesel engines. Starting with the water-cooled turbocharged petrol units, there is a 1.4-litre option with either 118bhp or 138bhp available and a 1.6-litre with 177bhp. 0-60mph acceleration ranges between 10.2 seconds, 9.0 seconds and 7.8 seconds respectively.
The sophisticated fuel delivery system ensures extremely fine atomisation in the combustion chamber for the diesel options, allowing the 1.7-litre CDTi diesels (with either 108bhp or 128bhp) to manage up to 62.8mpg on a combined cycle with just 119g/km CO2. There is also a 2.0-litre CDTi option that boasts a decent 350Nm of torque.
Vauxhall’s Start/Stop technology, which is available on all 1.4 Turbo, 1.7 CDTi and 2.0 CDTi engines is highly efficient and helps to reduce emissions. As soon as the driver selects neutral, the Start/Stop system is activated and the engine unit cuts out automatically.
As mentioned previously, prices for the GTC start at £18,495 for the entry level (118bhp) 1.4 Turbo in the Sport spec and finish at £22,430 for the range-topping 2.0-litre CDTi Sri.
Model: Vauxhall Astra GTC 1.4 Turbo (140PS) Sport
Price From: £19,080
0-60: 9.0 seconds
MPG: 47.1 combined
CO2 emission: 139g/km
2010/2011 VED: £115pa (1st Year £115)