2017 Opel Astra OPC will Use a Smaller 1.6-liter Turbo Engine

The thing about older Opel models is that they're pigs. For example, the outgoing Astra OPC weighed 1,550 kilograms (3417 lbs), which is unacceptable for a 3-door hatchback. However, the all-new Astra is a lot lighter, so it doesn't need big engines anymore. That's why the next OPC model is rumored to use a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine instead of a 2-liter.
2015 Opel Astra 6 photos
2015 Opel Astra2015 Opel Astra2015 Opel Astra2015 Opel Astra2015 Opel Astra
The 2-liter turbo engine is the industry standard. The Golf GTI, Megane RS and Focus ST all have one. Even the much smaller MINI Cooper S uses a BMW-sourced 2L Twinpower Turbo. However, some companies have started switching to smaller 1.6 mills.

Kia could be considered the first to do so with its cee'd GT. However, the result is considered by many to be unsuccessful. Peugeot is the true master of the 1.6L with the extremely power-dense 270 PS engine that first went in the RCZ R and now the 308 GTI.

Speaking to Australian magazine CarAdvice on the sidelines of the IAA 2015, Opel Astra chief engineer Marc Schmidt said the 1.6-liter is the biggest engine that will fit in the new hatchback. The platform they developed is much shorter, and because the cabin is bigger, there's not much room left under the bonnet for the engine.

Schmidt also said the HiPer Strut front suspension that made its debut on the Insignia won't work with the Astra either. But since the car is very light, it apparently doesn't need trick suspension.

Even before the new Astra OPC arrives in 2017, another sports model will become available. It's rumored to be called "Astra GSi" just like the older models from four generations ago. Power will come from a diesel engine although the 2.0 CDTi BiTurbo is out of the question.

Instead, engineers are developing a new twin-turbo 1.6-liter CDTI with somewhere around 160 to 170 PS. Honda, Nissan and Renault all have similar diesel engines, so we suspect the rumors are true.

The hot hatch market has changed

I've taken a very serious look at every hot hatch launched over the previous decade and what Opel is doing with the Astra OPC shocks me. The brand has always been about offering more power than everybody else. Remember, when the Mk5 Golf GTI had 200 horsepower, Opel boasted 240 and the trend continued after that.

But now, they are giving a higher priority to the premium features and fuel economy. So for example, the new Astra comes with LED headlights (€1,100) option and can create an internet hotspot. The fuel economy champion is the 110PS diesel model, which averages 3.4 l/100 km (83 mpg UK or 69.1 mpg US) and 90 g/km CO2.


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