Vauxhall has confirmed that it will discard a retractable metal roof for its up-and-coming Astra convertible and will go back to using the traditional electric “ragtop” principle that it used successfully on previous vehicle models. The company's head of design, Mark Adams, has released a sketch of the new drop-top Astra, which will be launched after about 18 months as part of a stunning new lineup of 2013 Vauxhall models.
The sketch reveals a premium-looking bright-metal surround for an area of what appears to be a pure four-seat cabin layout.
The convertible has the same underpinnings and wheelbase as the saloon, but seems to have an extended rear overhang that allows space both for a good-sized, unfettered boot space and a bin to contain the retracted roof.
The company is already selling five-door hatchback and estate versions of its new Astra. Earlier this week, it revealed its GTC three-door, which will go on sale by November in British showrooms.
After the convertible, at least one new edition is expected. The company has been selling a metal-roof TwinTop convertible since the mid-2000s, but sales have been slow.
Engineers at GM Europe believe that the know-how and materials needed for efficient fabric roofs have improved sufficiently in order to overcome the twin traditional challenges: long-term durability and noise at the motorway cruise.