Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rumors: Opel Astra GTC May Come to the U.S. as a Buick

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It seems the success of the Buick Regal, which is essentially a rebadged Opel Insignia, has determined GM management to consider bringing another Opel to the U.S., the Astra GTC hatch. Buick will soon have a compact sedan in its range, the Astra-based Verano due to be launched this fall, but it also wants a sporty hatchback with enough power and fine handling to lure young buyers.

According to a report from Car & Driver, the Opel Astra GTC is almost certain to come to the U.S. The model will be launched in Europe at the Frankfurt auto show this September and will go on sale shortly after with four-cylinder engines ranging from around 100 horsepower to more than 250 horsepower in the OPC high-performance model.

In the U.S. however, the car is expected to be offered with the same engines found in the Verano, which uses GM’s Delta platform that forms the base for the Astra and the Chevy Cruze: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 177 horsepower and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with around 220 horsepower. Both engines will be mated to six-speed automatic and manual transmissions. The name that will be used by Buick's version of the Astra GTC is yet unknown.

Aside from the Astra GTC, Buick might also adopt another Opel model that is currently under development, the replacement for the Astra Twin Top coupe-cabriolet. The new convertible will compete against the recently launched VW Golf Cabriolet. If Buick decides to offer the Opel convertible it will become the first Buick droptop since the Reatta

By Dan Mihalascu

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