Image credits: © Vauxhall. GM Corp
2009 Vauxhall Astra TwinTop news, pictures, and information
• CDTi diesel engine and advanced 1.8-litre petrol available
• Prices start at £16,995 – lower than outgoing model
• On sale May 27
If the neighbours proudly tell you they have bought a new three piece, it doesn't necessarily mean they have been down to DFS. They could have invested in a new Astra TwinTop; the latest version of Vauxhall's award-winning Astra. The stylish newcomer uses the latest in three-piece roof technology to ensure owners don't have to compromise to own a convertible.
The solid roof section consists of three main parts instead of the two used by most rivals. This means it can fold into a smaller space, so there are far fewer compromises to the car's rear-end looks and it can accommodate four adults. Perhaps more importantly in this style-conscious sector, the TwinTop retains all the style for which the Astra range has become renowned.
And it's not just the looks and practicality which will have attracted them to the TwinTop. It's the first Astra drop-top in the ÚK to be offered wîth a diesel engine, and there is a highly-advanced new 1.8-litre for those who prefer petrol power. There's more good news wîth the price – wîth prices starting at £16,995 the TwinTop doesn't just undercut rivals, it's also cheaper than the outgoing Astra Convertible!
Optimum space management: Three-part roof system and 'Easy Load'
Just because you want a convertible needn't mean you can't carry four people. The TwinTop's 2.61m long wheelbase enables a spacious interior wîth the best-in-class shoulder and knee room.
It's the three-piece roof which makes the difference, allowing larger expanses of cabin to be covered than would be possible wîth just two folds. These individual sections are also smaller than in conventional concepts and therefore can be stowed in the boot without robbing all of the luggage space or needing an odd-lòòking rear end. It's a massive 440 litres wîth the top up (an Astra 5-door has 350-litres) and wîth the top down there is still 205 litres of space available.
Vauxhall has neatly got around the problem of getting your luggage into that space too. Rather than have to ‘post' items through a thin slot, the TwinTop uses a state-of-the-art 'Easy Load' system that makes the boot easily accessible. At the touch of a button, the stowed roof parts in the boot are raised automatically upwards by around 250mm.
And the car has another trick up its sleeve to avoid those embarrassing moments caused by the changeable British weather: the roof can be opened or closed while the car is in motion, up to a speed of 18 mph. This means you won't have to worry about putting the top up or down at those quick-changing traffic lights, or even while stuck in slow-moving traffic!
Modest prices, luxurious comfort
It might be the most glamorous model in the range, but the TwinTop still offers the value-for-money buyers expect from the Astra. Prices start at £16,995, which makes all of its competitors seem very expensive.
Standard equipment includes a powered roof, air conditioning, CD-radio wîth six speakers, electric windows, heated power exterior mirrors, remote control central locking, height and reach-adjustable leather §teering wheel, height-adjustable 'Easy Entry' seats wîth memory function, rear seats wîth armrest and a load-through hatch. The entry-level model also features Vauxhall's innovative Structure wheel, which offers all the looks of an alloy but is as easy and cheap to repair as a plastic wheel cover.
The Sport version, priced at £17,795, adds a remote control for the roof , a sports §teering wheel wîth built-in audio controls, a trip computer, front fog lights and alloy wheels . Engine options are also increased at this trim level, wîth the new 1.8-litre VVT 140PS petrol and 1.9CDTi diesel being available in addition to the 1.6 Twinport petrol.
The range-topping Design models feature automatic ‘pop-up' roll-over protection (in place of fixed hoops) plus 17-inch alloys, rain-sensitive wipers and automatic headlamps, an anti-dazzle rear view mirror and windbreak. Prices start at £18,995 and the choice of engine includes the storming 200PS 2.0 Turbo petrol unit.
Options include parking sensors, a mobile phone console wîth Bluetooth interface, a selection of infotainment and navigation systems, and §teering-linked AFL bi-xenon headlamps (Adaptive Forward Lighting).
High-tech for driving dynamics and active safety
Top performance is ensured by a range of engines featuring four petrol units ranging from 105PS to 200PS and the 150PS 1.9 CDTi common-rail diesel. The top-of-the-line engine is the 2.0 turbo unit wîth a top speed of 148mph, while the diesel offers sporty performance and a combined economy figure of 46.3mpg. The turbo petrol and diesel engines come wîth a six-speed manual transmission as standard, and the Astra TwinTop's surprisingly-low drag coefficient of 0.31 helps both performance and economy.
Active roll-over protection system
The Astra TwinTop body and underbody, based on the fixed-roof sister models, were specially reinforced for the particular demands of a convertible. Engineers increased torsional rigidity by 30 percent compared to the previous Astra Convertible, enabling precise chassis tuning to improve driving dynamics.
To minimize the consequences of a roll-over accident, the Astra TwinTop features an immensely strong windscreen frame and active roll-over protection system as standard. A special yaw rate sensor in the airbag control system recognises sudden vehicle turning motions along the longitudinal or transversal axis. In the event of an impending roll-over, the control system activates the seat-belt tensioners. Simultaneously, on cars equipped wîth the ‘pop-up' roll hoops, two solid aluminium safety bars behind the rear seats deploy upwards and lock tight within 0.2 seconds. The system is also activated if the airbag sensors for front, rear or side impacts report a collision. This means the roll bars are in place even if the accident causes a power failure and then a roll-over occurs. The mechanism works wîth the roof in the open or closed position.
These devices are in addition to the existing Astra models' active and passive safety features, which include two-stage front airbags for driver and front passenger, thorax/pelvis side airbags in front, and three-point safety belts for all passengers. The driver and front seat occupant passenger also benefit from active head restraints which help to reduce the risk of whiplash in the event of a rear collision.
|Engine : 1.6 L., 4-cylinder|
Power: 113 hp
Torque: 114 ft-lbs
Engine : 2.0 L., 4-cylinder
Power: 197 hp
Torque: 193 ft-lbs
5-speed Manual, 4-speed Automatic
The much-lauded Astra Sport Hatch was the source of TwinTop's frontal styling, instantly marking it out as a sporty member of the Astra line-up. But despite the intentional similarities, over 70 per cent of TwinTop's body parts are unique to the model.
With the roof closed, TwinTop has an elegant, coupe-like profile. Its low roof, high flanks and sweeping swage line give it a commanding presence on the road, while the clever roof mechanism allows a much more harmonious look than you'd normally expect of a coupe-cabrio. The rear deck, for example, is no bigger than that of a standard coupe, wîth no huge ‘aircraft-carrier' style flat surface at the back to disguise the roof stowage area, nor the unsightly roof storage hump of some rivals.
‘Our aim,' said chief designer Úwe Muller, ‘was to create a car that is just as eye-catching wîth the roof up as when the roof is down– something that until now has not been common in this §egmènt. Thanks to the TwinTop's arched side graphics and low-roof, the four-seater looks just as dynamic and sporty as a hardtop coupe.'
The result is not only stylish, but is also the most aerodynamic member of the Astra family, wîth a drag coefficient of just 0.31. This not only allows for greater stability and fuel economy, but also means Astra TwinTop is incredibly refined, its slippery shape significantly reducing wind noise at speed.
With the roof down, Astra TwinTop looks even more seductive. There's no obstructive rollover hoop, meaning the classic arched profile becomes even more apparent.
Neat stylish touches include a unique honeycomb grille and smooth, elliptical rear lamps that distinguish TwinTop from other Astra models, while a smart chrome strip across the rear adds to the upmarket appearance. A range of new colours and styling options such as smart 18-inch alloy wheels add to the diversity of the range.
And despite its compact appearance, Astra TwinTop is actually comparable to models which cost thousands more. It's only marginally shorter than a BMW 3-Series Cabriolet, for example, while its 2.61-metre wheelbase allows for impressive cabin space normally reserved for more practical hatchback or saloon models.
Vauxhall's designers focused as much on the style of Astra Twintop's interior as they did on its outward appearance, and the result is a cabin that is incredibly luxurious and refined compared to other cars in its class.
High quality materials have been used throughout, wîth the same premium plastics as other Astra models used on the dash and centre console. Smart chrome door handles and chrome ringed dials add to the upmarket aura, while optional leather trim sets of the interior wîth a positively plush air.
All of the major controls are arranged in an intuitive manner to offer the best in user-friendliness, including a smart central display through which the main functions of the stereo, ventilation and communications systems can be accessed.
But it's not only the driver that featured in the design team's brief, and one of the TwinTop's major virtues is its impressive passenger accommodation. The long wheelbase and wide track, coupled to the clever three-piece roof folding mechanism, give class leading space for rear seat passengers, making TwinTop a car that will accommodate four adults wîth the roof up or down.
Entry to the rear is made easier thanks to an easy-entry function on both of the height-adjustable front seats. As well as tilting forwards as in a conventional two-door car, the seat slide forward on runners to allow better access, yet return to their original positions when dropped back into place.
A comprehensive range of premium sound and sat nav systems are offered across the range.
Chassis and Engines
The Vauxhall Astra has already won many plaudits for its dynamic driving experience, and the TwinTop has been developed to deliver a similarly rewarding combination of ride and handling.
The body is stiffer than you'd expect from a convertible thanks to a body structure that is reinforced beneath the panels, while the wide track and long wheelbase ensure a low centre of gravity and exceptional body control. With the roof down, the shell is also 30 per cent stiffer than the outgoing Astra Convertible.
Astra TwinTop also features the same IDSplus chassis technology as found on the Astra five-door and Sport Hatch. The ‘Sport' button, standard on Design models, gives a more direct feel to the §teering and a sharper throttle response. Even without the switch engaged, map controlled electronic power §teering offers optimal feedback and precision in all driving situations.
Four engines are on offer from launch, including a sporty diesel.
Kicking off the line up is a 1.6-litre 105PS unit, which embraces Vauxhall's latest Twinport technology to deliver a great combination of performance and economy. Further petrol choices include the highly advanced 140PS 1.8-litre petrol unit wîth continuously variable camshaft phasing, that recently made its debut in Vectra and Zafira, and a range-topping 200PS 2.0-litre turbo to deliver the ultimate in roofless performance. The 1.6 and 1.8-litre engines come mated to a precise five-speed manual transmission, while the 2.0 Turbo gets a close-ratio six-speed gearbox, helping it accelerate from 0-60mph in just 8.3 seconds.
The diesel option is expected to prove a big hit wîth fleet buyers, thanks to its CO2 figure of 168g/km. It uses the acclaimed 150PS 1.9-litre CDTi coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox. It covers the 0-60mph sprint in only 9.5 seconds.Source - Vauxhall
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