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New Vauxhall Astra for September debut

First official pictures of the new Astra released

Vauxhall Astra 1

Astra’s sleek lines are the result of 600 hours in the wind tunnel

Set to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September, the new Astra is seen here for the first time in family-friendly five-door hatchback form. The key styling influence is said to be the Vauxhall Insignia, but to our eyes it has a hint of enlarged Corsa about it as well.

Aerodynamic attention to detail and premium options

Like the Insignia, the new Astra has spent over 600 hours in the wind tunnel, so the new shape has been honed for improved aerodynamics. This benefits both fuel economy and refinement.

An optional ‘FlexRide’ chassis – giving the driver a choice of standard, sport and tour suspension settings – carries over from the Insignia, and appears on an Astra for the first time. 

Bi-Xenon Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL) is also on the options list. Offering vastly improved night-time visibility, this is the first time AFL has been offered on any car of this size.

Beneath the sharp lines, the Astra’s all-new underpinnings include a wider track for greater stability and a longer wheelbase for increased passenger comfort and space. 

The interior design is said to be a fresh take on Insignia themes, and represent a similar step-up in quality. Pictures of the cabin will be released soon.

Efficient new 1.4 turbo petrol

Highlight of the forthcoming Astra’s engine line-up is a new 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol, offering 138bhp, plus better economy and emissions; Vauxhall joins manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Fiat, Renault and Volkswagen who already use turbocharging for such purposes.

Three other petrol engines, ranging from 99bhp to 177bhp, plus four diesel engines (94bhp to 158bhp) complete the engine line-up. All are expected to be existing Vauxhall units and all are Euro 5 emissions standards compliant.

High hopes for Astra sales

Vauxhall Astra 2

Five-door Astra will be on sale by the end of 2009 – the three-door follows later

According to Andy Gilson, Vauxhall’s Marketing Director: “The only part of the Astra which isn’t new is its name.”

And with that name currently accounting for approximately 30 percent of all Vauxhall car sales, the new model’s importance is clear.

“Not only is the Astra a crucial new model for Vauxhall,” says Gilson, “we’re confident that its blend of dynamic design, new-to-class technology and immense driver appeal will attract an even broader spectrum of buyers in this sector.”

Which? will bring you its first impressions of the real thing live from the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The all-new Astra goes on-sale in five-door form before the end of the year.

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