The Opel Astra CC suffers from the same ailment as other small, hardtop convertibles like the Renault Megane and Peugeot 308 cc: an ungainly backside. Stowing a tin roof that needs to cover four people inside a small car just blows things up in the rear. That's why the head of General Motors design in Europe says that the next Astra cabrio won't be a hardtop, but return to cloth.

And in fact, it won't even be called "Astra." Set to bow in 2012, it will break from that nomenclature and forge its own – as yet unknown – brand path. "This car demands a new name," it was said, because "it will look nothing like an Astra," burdened as it will be with continuing the fight to raise Opel and Vauxhall cachet as, a battle begun with the Insignia.

We thought the Opel GTC we saw at the Frankfurt Auto Show was pretty hot – put a softtop on that and hold its stance, and we'd applaud. But if Opel has something even better in mind, well then bring on 2012. We can't wait to see it.

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