The Opel Performance Centre has been recently established in Germany. The new Astra Mk4 modified model is the first car to roll out of the workshop. OPC commissioned the help of British sports car master Lotus to transform the standard Astra 3 door hatch into a raceable car. The car is based on the 2.0 litre SRi model, but power has been upped to approx. 160bhp.
There will be a limited run of 3000 of these OPC specials, and although intended for road use, the car complies with Group N race and rally specifications. Those with a need for more speed can opt for the stripped out version which looses some of the luxuries but also looses a large amount of weight.
The throttle response has been improved and this leads to a more responsive engine. The gearbox has been converted to cable operation and has proven to be more precise than lever operated.
Around town the car feels like a standard Sri, but when the pedal is planted the power kicks in from 3000rpm right the way to the red line at almost 7000rpm. The car will do 0-60 in less than 8 seconds and a top speed of 137mph.
The car has been lowered and stiffened, giving tighter body control, yet maintaining a high level of comfort to give great handling.
On the styling front the this car comes with a stunning high level spoiler, M3 style wing mirrors, larger front chin spoiler and Cobra style sports seats.
Unfortunately this car is being built for Opel and will not be available in the UK, however the much awaited Astra GSi is due out in early 2000. More up to date rumours indicate that the GSi will be a 2.0 litre 16v with MSD modifications including cams and re-mapped ECU, to bring the power up to what is normally expected from a GSi.
[This message has been edited by Mike Warner (edited 10-12-2000).]