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New Astra TwinTop: Sporty, Elegant Four-Seat Cabrio-Coupe

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July 31, 2005

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August 1, 2005 Another significant vehicle making its world premiere at the Frankfurt Show in September will be Opel’s new cabrio-coupé: following the successful launches of the sedan, station wagon and GTC, the fourth distinctive Astra model will be known as the TwinTop. The elegant four-seater with a new-generation electro-hydraulic retractable steel roof will be at dealerships in spring 2006. A special highlight of the new Astra TwinTop is the clever kinematics of its innovative three-part roof system, which enable generous trunk space of around 440 liters. In the cabrio configuration, more than 200 liters are still available. A state-of-the-art “Easy Load” function increases practicality: at the touch of a button, the horizontally stacked roof parts in the trunk can be raised, so that cargo is easily accessible. In addition to generous luggage compartment space, the innovative roof technology also enables a dynamic, harmonious design with well-balanced proportions. With a length of almost 4.5 meters, the Astra TwinTop reaches dimensions comparable to mid-size segment cabrios.

“With the Astra TwinTop we are introducing another exciting niche car, while extending our model range in the important compact segment. Four Astra versions and the Zafira represent five different car concepts on one technical basis. That makes us more attractively positioned in this segment than any other competitor”, says Hans H. Demant, Vice President Engineering, General Motors Europe, and Managing Director, Adam Opel AG.

Alain Visser, Executive Director, European Marketing, adds: “Following the successful Tigra, the Astra TwinTop is our second cabrio-coupé with an innovative retractable steel roof system. Harmonious, sporty and elegant design, unique technology features, typical Opel versatility, large trunk and ample space for four - the Astra TwinTop is a real eye-catcher that’s a lot of fun to drive all year round.”

Technically the two-door cabrio-coupé benefits from the strengths of the third Astra generation. This includes an exceptionally wide engine range in this segment, with four gasoline units (105 to 200 hp) and the 150 hp 1.9 CDTI common-rail diesel engine with Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) as standard. The top-of-the-line 200 hp 2.0-liter ECOTEC Turbo reaches a top speed of over 230 km/h. Unique options such as the adaptive IDSPlus chassis (Interactive Driving System) with electronic Continuous Damping Control (CDC), Sport mode and steering-linked AFL bi-xenon headlamps (Adaptive Forward Lighting), set the new Astra TwinTop further apart from its competitors.

Progressive design and ample space thanks to innovative roof technology

The progressive design of the Astra TwinTop with its dynamic, arrow-shaped front section clearly identifies it as a member of the Astra family. 70 percent of the TwinTop body parts were, however, has been newly developed. The harmonious proportions (length/width excluding exterior mirrors/height: 4.48/1.76/1.41 meters) of the cabrio-coupé are particularly visible in the side profile, which is highlighted by the wedge-shaped rising shoulder-line and arched, flowing roof line. The Astra TwinTop is also well proportioned at the rear. Regardless of whether the roof is open or closed, there is no bulky tail spoiling the car’s look, as is often the case with cabriolets with retractable steel roof concepts.

The wide, practical trunk, which also features two side compartments and a storage area tucked away in the trunk floor to store the optional wind deflector, has a cargo capacity with the roof closed of around 440 liters. With the top down, it is still over 200 liters. Two adults can sit comfortably in the rear, even on longer journeys. The engineers made this possible through the realization of a completely new, three-part roof system: the individual roof sections are smaller than in conventional concepts and therefore can be stowed in the trunk in a space-saving manner, to the advantage of luggage space and seating comfort.

At the touch of a button, or through use of the optional remote control, the TwinTop roof can be fully automatically opened or closed in less than 30 seconds.

Suitcases, beverage crates and shopping bags can also be comfortably loaded in and out of the car when the roof is open and folded away in the trunk. For this purpose, the Opel technicians have included an electrically operated “Easy Load” function. At the touch of a button, the horizontally stacked roof parts in the car trunk can be raised by around 25 centimeters, so that cargo underneath the protective cover is easily accessible.

The Astra TwinTop features the comprehensive Opel SAFETEC safety system, which combines both active and passive features. Optional roll bars provide additional rollover protection when the top is down. They are concealed directly behind the rear seat head restraints and deploy automatically within a split second in the event of a rollover.

Continuation of Opel’s successful cabrio tradition

The new Astra TwinTop continues a successful tradition. Over 55,000 customers across Europe chose the previous Astra cabrio, which was built from 2000 at Bertone in Italy. The first convertible Astra from 1993 and the Kadett cabrio from 1987 together sold over 100,000 units. With the Tigra TwinTop, Opel has already had a two-seat cabrio-coupé with folding steel roof in the range since September 2004. Since then, over 41,000 units have been produced. Production start for the new Astra TwinTop will be early 2006 in Antwerp, Belgium, where it will share a production line with the Astra sedan and GTC.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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