GM announced today that its Opel Astra will receive a design refresh and updated power plant options. The new 2007 Astra will debut at the Bologna Motor Show (December 7-16, 2006), and will be available at dealerships starting in February. Engine choices will vary from either a 1.3-liter diesel four or a 1.4-liter gas engine, both producing 90 HP, to an available 240 HP, 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engine. The brutish 2.0-liter turbo will only be available in the spicy Astra OPC, but a 'milder' 200 HP version is available in more standard configurations.

Perhaps this news is indication that GM is preparing the Astra to be ported over to the North American market as a Saturn. We certainly wouldn't object to another 240 HP plus compact to toss around. With the next generation Vue set to unveil in LA, the Ion is the only legacy Saturn remaining. The people at GM seem too smart to pull a Ford and stick us with the same Ion for another few years.

You can read the press release and catch more photos after the jump.

Model Update for Opel Bestseller


New Astra: Refined Design and Optimized Engine Range


New engines developed with future emissions standards in mind
More powerful and over 13 percent more economical
Successful exterior design refined, piano lacquer in interior
Rüsselsheim. Featuring fresh design accents and new engines that are more compact, powerful and economical, the new edition of the Opel Astra will be available at dealerships from February 2007. With more than 1.2 million units sold since its debut in March 2004, the third-generation Astra plays a leading role in European sales statistics. The new Astra will make its world premiere at the Bologna Motor Show (December 7 – 17, 2006) and can be ordered from November 20.

In future, Astra customers will have a choice of eleven different engines from 90 to 240 hp. The Astra engine range is expanded with two new highly efficient 1.6-liter gasoline engines and two 1.7 CDTI common-rail turbo-diesel units that are already capable of meeting future emissions standards.

The new weight-optimized 1.6 ECOTEC (85 kW/115 hp) with a variable camshaft joins the bestselling 1.6-liter TWINPORT engine (77 kW/105 hp). With the 115 hp engine coupled to a five-speed Easytronic transmission, the Astra needs only 6.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers. Continuous variable control of both camshafts is the main reason for the performance benefits. With this "Cam-Phase" system, valve timing can be varied depending on the speed and load range of the four-valve unit for optimal performance or consumption.The new 1.6-liter turbo engine (132 kW/180 hp), which replaces the 2.0-liter turbo with 125 kW/170 hp and comes with a six-speed transmission as standard, boasts an even greater reduction in consumption. Compared with its predecessor, total consumption is reduced by more than 13 percent to 7.7 liters per 100 kilometers.

The new 1.7 CDTI engines with 81 kW/110 hp and 92 kW/125 hp both come with six-speed manual transmission and feature common-rail injection, four-valve technology with swirl control and a maintenance-free particulate filter. Available from spring 2007, they will replace the 1.9 CDTI units with 74 kW/100 hp and 88 kW/120 hp.

Considering the positive reaction to the modern Astra design language since its debut in 2004, designers focused on fine tuning details in the new edition, which features striking front and rear design elements. The five-door and station wagon variants have a broader chrome crossbar with integrated Opel logo. The distinctive decorative element takes the tapering of the V-shaped hood and continues it to the radiator grille vanes, which are now also chrome-plated. The hood gap has been reduced optically. The sweeping contours of the fog lamp recesses integrate the bumper into the dynamic V-shaped face. Other new distinctive features in the Astra include tail lights in 3-D block design, as well as chrome-look headlamp housings as an alternative to the tinted versions that will be reserved for the Astra Sport as well as the xenon and curve light variants in future. The Astra GTC now boasts a honeycomb grille that highlights the coupé-like three-door car's sporty look even further. In future, the station wagon roof will have an elegant aluminum roof rail.

The interior features additional chrome rings around the air conditioning and radio controls, as well as new decorative trim on the instrument panel and doors. The Cosmo version is enhanced with luxurious piano lacquer surfaces on the center console and decorative panels. The popular CD 30 MP3 infotainment system is available from spring 2007 with a stereo connection for external audio devices such as iPods.

The new edition of the Astra also offers plenty of technological highlights that are still unusual in this segment. For example, the Astra GTC is the only production passenger car that is available with a panorama windshield. This extends over the front occupants' heads to the B-pillar, creating a whole new sense of space and visibility. An exclusive dimension of driving comfort and safety is provided by the optional IDSPlus system with electronic Continuous Damping Control (CDC). In this integrated chassis control system otherwise found only in luxury vehicles and exclusive sports cars, the control units and sensors of ESPPlus, ABS and CDC exchange data constantly, resulting in immediate optimization of chassis fine-tuning in all driving situations. The AFL bi-xenon headlamp system (Adaptive Forward Lighting) with dynamic curve light made its compact-segment debut in the Astra. The new model generation's further improved trailer stability control is also far from a matter of course when looking at other brands. The sophisticated system monitors the intensity of yawing motions in the car-trailer combination. Such motions are stabilized by control electronics via regulated left or right front brake application.


Opel Astra 2007 – Engine and Performance Data


All data are preliminary. Performance and consumption figures apply to the five-door Astra variant with standard equipment and manual transmission
1) 2.0 Turbo ECOTEC with 177 kW/240 hp only available with Astra OPC
2) Preliminary data/engines available from spring 2007
3) Will be replaced by 1.7 CDTI with 81 kW/110 hp in spring 2007
4) Only available with six-speed automatic transmission following introduction of 1.7 CDTI unit (92 kW/125 hp)