Vauxhall Astra Panoramic

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.