Opel/Vauxhall release details of 2012 Astra GTC OPC Recaro lightweight seats

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 28, 2012

When Vauxhall’s most powerful Astra VXR ever is displayed at the Geneva Motor Show, it will have noticeably lighter front seats with the use of the latest in technology. It also now has a lower seating position and improved side support to manage the increased cornering loads. The new front seats of the Astra VXR are formed using an injection moulded sheet in the seat shells.

This decreases the weight by 45% compared to a conventional shell. The sheet uses a composite material built from polyamide and fiberglass. Because it is strong and agile, it only has to be 2-3 mm deep. This makes it considerably lighter.

The driver and front passenger are brought lower to the Astra VXR’s centre of gravity, which means that the new seats are mounted 17 millimetres lower than in the Astra GTC.

They’re also 40 millimetres lower when compared to the Astra Hatch. It has been equipped with pneumatically adjustable cushions located in the seats’ flanks. Pushing a button easily adjusts them too.

They offer ‘tailor-made’ seating comfort and security that’s typically reserved for competition drivers. The Astra VXR’s seats are the first in its class to get a certification from AGR (Action for Healthy Backs), which is an independent German organization composed of the best doctors and therapists.

Before the seats could be approved, they had to meet 10 criteria, including checks for lordosis support. The seatback contours would also have to adapt correctly to the spine’s natural curvature.

The new Astra VXR has 280PS, 400Nm of torque and is capable of reaching a top speed of 155mph. It will be introduced on March 6 at the Geneva Motor Show.

The bespoke chassis, with its mechanical limited slip differential and Brembo brakes, was approved after it was subjected to a 10,000km test program at the challenging Nordschleife (North Loop) of the Nürburgring, comparable to 180,000kms of normal road driving.

As a coupé, the Opel Astra GTC is a picture of tasteful artistry and functional practicality. The Astra GTC successfully integrates both the artistic and functional aspects of design to create a perfectly crafted car. Created using Opel’s revered design language, the Astra GTC is endowed with smooth, elegantly flowing exterior curves and a cabin interior that radiates a sporty yet classy ambiance.

With a loading capacity of 1.165 liters, it clearly outdoes the capacity of its closest competitors. Marks Adams, Opel / Vauxhall Vice-president proudly declared that the Astra GTC is the product of Opel’s intense dedication for producing well-designed cars. He expounded further by stating that the Astra GTC is Opel’s most artistically-designed car but it is definitely not lacking in good, sound functionality.

Unlike other coupé brands, the Opel Astra GTC is a one and only, stand-alone coupé model produced by Opel, without any variants. Smart and sleek, the well-designed Astra GTC possesses the characteristics of an ideal coupé, infused with practical design features perfect for everyday use. Except for the mounting style of its rear-view mirror and aerial antenna, all of it is unique.

With the challenging task of creatively and dynamically reinterpreting Opel’s mission statement- “Sculptural artistry meets German precision”, Astra GTC’s engineers developed a uniquely designed car that can be likened to a wild cat, with its low, crouched stance, stealthily gliding down the street, ready to pounce on its prey with predator-like impunity.

Yet at the same time, the Astra GTC can also be inversely described as mild, simple and lighthearted. This is precisely the point made by Malcolm Ward, Opel Exterior Design Director, as he stated that the main substance of Opel’s new design language is to reduce everything to a maximum, which is quite an interesting antithesis! Malcolm Ward further added that they wanted to create a simple yet captivating car, using only a handful of essential and positively dynamic lines.

Interestingly, only three relatively simple, dynamic lines on the ASTRA GTC’s body provide the bold accent which gives the car’s profile a distinct character. The first dynamic line glides boldly from the front door down to the rear fender, which enlivens the GTC’s side surfaces. The second dynamic line envelops the door handles and extends to the car’s rear, thereby giving the car a low, energetic stance by diffusing specific areas on the car’s surface and giving the illusion of broad shoulders. The third dynamic line curiously trails the simple yet flashy silhouette of the GTC’s roof.

Topics: opel, opel astra, gtc, opc

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