- First pictures of new Brit-built Astra ahead of Frankfurt unveil
- Up to 200kg lighter than outgoing model
- Smaller outside, bigger inside
- New engine portfolio including 1.4-litre (145PS) petrol
- First all-new Vauxhall with OnStar
- IntelliLink R 4.0 compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
These are the first images of Vauxhall’s seventh-generation Astra, which will reach production later this year from the company’s Ellesmere Port manufacturing plant in Cheshire.
Based on an all-new lightweight vehicle architecture with a new design, powertrains and technology, Astra will receive its world premiere at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show (September 17-27).
One the UK’s top-selling and best-loved cars, the Astra is a household name for British car buyers with over 2.9 million sold in the UK over the last 36 years with over 50,000 last year.
Depending on the model and trim level it will be up to 200kg (130kg on average) lighter than its predecessor. The completely new vehicle architecture plays a major role in the weight reduction. Every component was checked for compact design and lightweight materials. The body shell weight alone was reduced by 20 per cent from 357kg to 280kg.
Additional, chassis-related measures resulted in a further 50kg weight loss. These include high-strength and ultra-high-strength low-weight steels, compact subframes as well as weight reductions to the front and rear axle.
The all-new Astra features a powertrain portfolio including petrol and diesel units ranging from 100PS to 200PS.
The highlight of the engine range is the all-new 1.4-litre (145PS) ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo, a four-cylinder unit from the same family as the one-litre, three-cylinder engine seen in Corsa, ADAM and VIVA. The engine delivers maximum torque of up to 250Nm, with maximum power available between 1,800rpm and 4,000rpm.
Based on its construction, the new 1.4 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo also adds less weight to the car. The aluminium engine block weighs in at 10kg less than the forged steel block of the current 1.4-litre turbo.
There’s also a base-level 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo (105PS) petrol engine and a 1.6 CDTi ‘Whisper Diesel’ range with outputs starting from 110PS up to 160PS.
Inspired by 2013’s Monza Concept, the lean design makes the new Astra look more athletic than ever before thanks to work carried out by a design team led by Brit Mark Adams.
Evolution of the Vauxhall design philosophy ‘sculptural artistry meets technical precision’ ensures that the new Astra catches the eye with a lighter, more agile appearance.
The Griffin in the centre of the chrome bar on the grill and the characteristic ‘blade’ raising towards the rear make the new Astra immediately recognisable as a member of the Vauxhall family. The front headlamps melt into the radiator grille to form a graphic unity.
The most significant design cue is the divided C-pillar, creating the impression of a floating roof. The interplay of light and shadow is emphasised by the horizontal crossbar above the brand logo linking the rear lights.
Smaller outside, bigger inside
The Astra does not just look smaller – it is smaller. With a total length of 4.37m it is almost 5cm shorter than its predecessor. With a height of 1.46m it is also 2.6cm lower. The dimensions have an impact on aerodynamics and efficiency with the new Astra boasting a drag coefficient below 0.30.
The wheelbase may have been reduced by 2cm but the amount of space inside increased. In combination with newly-designed seats, the passengers in the rear can enjoy an additional 35mm legroom. The distance between the front- and rear-seats is increased providing comfort and space.
The high-quality cockpit and the instrument panel seamlessly transfer the characteristic and aesthetic exterior design to the interior, ensuring that a new interior design generation is introduced in the new Astra. It features a clean look which includes a large colour touchscreen in the centre stack and a reduced amount of control switches and buttons.
The new Astra is the first new Vauxhall model that will be available with the personal connectivity and service assistant OnStar from its launch.
OnStar offers customers a broad range of safety and comfort services. If an airbag deploys, OnStar will be alerted automatically. An advisor will then contact the vehicle to determine whether help is required. If there is no response, emergency responders are immediately sent to the exact location of the vehicle.
Drivers and passengers can reach OnStar 24/7 and 365 days a year. No matter whether they need roadside assistance or any other service – an OnStar advisor is always ready to help. OnStar also turns the new Astra into a 4G LTE mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Up to seven devices, from smartphones to tablets, can be connected simultaneously.
Making its debut in new Astra is the new generation IntelliLink infotainment system that is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Each system builds off of the features smartphone users rely on most. Android Auto is built around Google Maps, Google Now and the ability to talk to Google, as well as a growing audio and messaging app ecosystem that includes WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify, and podcast players. A full list of supported apps is available at Android.com/auto.
Apple CarPlay takes the iPhone features you’d want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner, allowing drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Apple CarPlay supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third party apps. A full list of those apps can be found at Apple.com/ios/carplay.
The functions can be controlled via the large, up to eight-inch touchscreen located high on the center stack, via remote control on the steering wheel (volume) or via voice control.
IntelliLux Led Matrix Light Headlights
The all-new Brit-built Astra will be the first Vauxhall to get glare-free IntelliLux LED Matrix Light.
Bringing premium technology to the mainstream, these new LED headlights provide outstanding night time performance enhancing safety for the driver and those around them.
Consisting of 16 LED segments (eight on each side of the vehicle) the LED matrix system automatically and constantly adapts the length and distribution of the light beam to every traffic situation.
It works in conjunction with the front camera system which detects the presence of other vehicles and then switches off the individual LED segments, preventing other road users from being dazzled.
As soon as the vehicle exits urban areas, the high-beam lighting is automatically switched on and it always remains on. This leads to a considerable increase in safety, as confirmed in a study conducted by the Technical University of Darmstadt and the European LightSightSafety Initiative.
The study showed that at driving speeds of 50mph, drivers detect objects at the side of the road around 30m to 40m sooner than with conventional halogen or xenon dipped beam lighting. This gives them around 1.5 seconds more time to react, for example when an animal walks into the vehicles path.
When the camera detects light sources from oncoming or preceding traffic, individual LEDs in the relevant zone are deactivated, simply “cutting out” the area around the vehicles. The rest of the road and its surroundings remain brightly illuminated.
In addition to the many automatic low and high beam pattern variations, IntelliLux LED also provides a special highway light mode that further increases safety at night. And a special welcome light function makes entering and exiting the Astra more comfortable in the dark.
Not only does the system illuminate the surroundings brighter than conventional lighting systems, it also has a considerably longer running life than headlamps with halogen or xenon lamps.
Another advantage is that mechanical movements are no longer necessary in the headlight – the individual LED segments turn on or off according to the situation, which also contributes to a durability that far exceeds the lifespan of a car.
Autobritannia.net have been invited to the UK launch of the new Astra a bit later in the year… we’ll keep you posted!