• Jun 16, 2006
To help kick off sales of its new Panoramic windshield option, Vauxhall has released a special edition Astra GTC that features the snazzy glass up front, exclusive GTC badging, 18" rims, foglights, ESP and interior goodies like A/C and sport seats. Only 500 of the special editions will be built, and they're being sold for £15,995 -- undercutting the more vanilla Astra Sport Hatch 1.8 SRi's asking price by a few pounds.

The Panoramic windscreen is made of heat-absorbing glass (a good thing) and wraps up and over the two front seats, greating an airy, open cabin feeling that can't be matched by a mere sunroof. For days when it gets extra-hot, a power shade can be pulled forward to shield the front passengers from the sun's rays.

Once the initial 500 special editions are sold out, the Panoramic option will cost
£850. This might also be a good time for buyers to opt for that full glass coverage from their insurance companies. Could come in handy, you know?

If the option winds up being popular, it'd be nice to see GM at least consider it for the upcoming Astra-based Ion replacement. Something like this would look mighty cool on (and be very relevant to) cars from The General's Born From Jets brand as well. Hint, hint...

(More pics and the Vauxhall press release after the jump)

[Source: GM / Vauxhall]
Vauxhall Astra PanoramicVauxhall Astra Panoramic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TOP-GLASS ASTRA MAKES SPARKLING SPECIAL EDITION DEBUT
  • Astra now available with Panoramic windscreen
  • GTC launch model offers exceptional value
  • £850 option on all other Sport Hatch models
Astra Sport Hatch is now available with a Panoramic windscreen, and to celebrate this innovative new arrival Vauxhall has come up with a stunning special edition that shows off the stylish design and driving excitement for which the manufacturer has become renowned.

And it's not just the roof that's clearly cool – for the first 500 customers, the newcomer is being offered as a strictly limited edition at an even cooler price.

At just £15,995, the 1.8-litre only GTC costs £5 less than the standard Astra Sport Hatch 1.8 SRi on which it's based, yet comes with over £1,100 worth of options. As well as the striking Panoramic windscreen, the special model, of which only 500 will be built, features 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels and unique GTC badges, while equipment highlights include air conditioning, sports seats, ESPPlus, a trip computer and front fog lights.

But it's the Panoramic windscreen that's bound to be the talk of your neighbourhood. Described by The Sun as "strikingly good looking", the heat-absorbing glass cuts right back across the roof leaving a clear, uninterrupted view out of the car. An electric blind can be slid forward should you crave some more shade.

The feature gives an unusual yet stimulating driving experience, and a feeling of freedom from behind the wheel – one that Auto Express summed up as follows: "Words and photos cannot do it justice – it's as if someone has removed a blindfold you never even knew was there!"

GTC launch models will be available in three colours – Flame Red, Black Sapphire and Star Silver. All GTCs will be powered by Astra Sport Hatch's 1.8-litre 125PS powerplant, giving a 0-60mph time of 10.0 seconds and a top speed of 124mph, along with a combined fuel economy figure of 35.8mpg.

After the initial run of GTC models, the Panoramic roof will be available as an £850 option across the Astra Sport Hatch range.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Cool, different, but looks like $$$$$ to replace.

      Some kind of transition lens can be used to block out the sun - think outside the box people. :P
      • 8 Years Ago
      I bet this wind sheild is cheaper than a big sunroof. Less parts.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Insert whine here about how the Europeans get all the good cars.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's like IMAX for your car. By the way, isn't glass typically much heavier than steel in these applications?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Not to burst anyone's bubble but this has been available on the Opel Astra in Europe for just over a year. The two three door hatch is very stylish with the panoramic window. Furthermore the Ion was based on the Epsilon platform, which is the Opel Vectra. The new Ion replacement is the Saturn Aura (www.saturn.com - go to future cars) which is an obvious Saturn re-badging of the Vectra. GM should drop the Saturn name and bring over either the Opel or Vauxhaul moniker.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "What the Brits call sunny, Amercans south of the Mason-Dixon line call shade."


      Well, from San Francisco all the way to Canada pretty much in terms of weather is EXACTLY like most of Europe. Plus most of the Pacific Northwest.

      "What the Brits call sunny, Amercans south of the Mason-Dixon line call shade."

      -Just don't bring up Washington, Oregon and Northern Californa/North Coast :-)
      Greg A.
      • 8 Years Ago
      In the U.S., there would have to be wiring along the centerline for OnStar. That might interfere with the shade.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I saw the promo for this car on Autoline Detroit. The commercial they showed had the car with a manual sunshade. I love the concept; at least you get to see more than from a sunroof, one that can eventually leak.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Does anyone know if British cars still use tempered glass in the windshield? I lived there as a child and remember the excitment of having the entire windscreen turn opaque when shattered on the motorway at 60 mph!
      • 8 Years Ago
      this looks pretty sweet. i'd take this over a sunroof... but i also agree that it's gonna be pricey to fix.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I’d like to have the chance to sit in one of these. I think it could feel even more open than a convertible. In a convertible, you still have the windshield header blocking your view. Maybe ‘more open’ isn’t the correct wording, perhaps a different kind of open feeling.

      And couldn’t they just integrate OnStar in to the center console? You’d probably still need a mic in the A pillar.
      • 8 Years Ago
      exactly how safe is this car? i would imagine that it would be pretty dangerous if the car were to roll over or be involved in a headon collision because the front top is just glass.
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