2010 Astra Chassis, Suspension Details

The 2010 Opel/Vauxhall Astra, set to debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September, as hinted before, will feature a new chassis with a longer wheelbase and wider tracks for an increased stability and driver control. The car will use an improved Watts link rear suspension system that is said to offer drivers class-leading handling and ride comfort.

The front and rear tracks have been increased by 56mm and 70mm, while the wheelbase stands 71mm longer than its predecessor, according to details offered the manufacturer. The change is expected to give the car better handling and stability in corners, while offering passengers more space.

Premiering in the compact class will be the adaptive damping system called FlexRide, first introduced on the Insignia. This system will feature three settings - Standard, Sport and Tour - while being continually adjustable according to driving style and cornering speed.

"The Astra’s new suspension layout combines MacPherson strut front suspension with a clever, newly developed compound crank rear axle with a Watts link. This set-up has many advantages over a multi-link design, including improved packaging, greater wheel camber stiffness and less lower suspension friction. It also creates less camber loss due to body roll, while the Watts link ensures that lateral stability is maintained."

This set up proves to be very stable under straight line acceleration, but acts similar to a multi-link suspension in corners minimising lateral pulling forces. The work behind the FlexRide system is done by the Driving Mode Control (DMC) module. This electronic gizmo continously receives feedback from the engine, steering, chassis, wheels and controls the braking and suspension setting accordingly.

The new Astra will also introduce an improved core body structurer, that will be stiffer and lighter, reducing noise and vibration inside the vehicle and offering better handling.
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