There’s no denying that the all-new Opel Astra OPC three-door hatch is one hot-looking vehicle. And with a turbo-charged four-banger making 280 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque under the hood of what weighs no more than 3,300 pounds, coupled with GM’s HiPer Strut suspension setup, we can’t imagine it not being fun to drive. This much we already knew. What we didn’t know were the ways in which this special 2.0 Ecotec in this car was different from the one buyers could already find in the larger Opel Insignia, where it makes 220 horses… until today.
For starters, the 1998 cm3 all-aluminum unit delivers its 295 pound-feet of torque at a respectable 2,450 RPM all the way to just under 5,000 RPM — providing a wide range of peak performance for a variety of piloting situations. To accomplish this, the turbocharging system was fortified to endure an increased amount of charge air pressure, which begins to build at 1,400 RPM. GM engineers increased the maximum charge pressure to 1.5 bar, — a 25 percent boost compared to what’s used in the Insignia. Additionally, the tuned 2.0 uses an all-new cutting-edge air intake setup developed to feed Hurculean amounts of air into the turbo unit.
All this results in the most power-dense engine of its size on the market and a sound note that’s masculine and powerful. In fact, the mill was tuned by acoustic engineers whose goal was to create a jet-like sound in the interior of the Astra, which Opel says is particularly prominent when shifting from third to fourth gear under hard acceleration. Couple that with the recently-announced Opel OPC PowerApp, and you have one ridiculously amusing ride.
The GM Authority Take
“That’s great and all”, thought Alex as he sipped his favorite lager. “Now is it really that cost-prohibitive to put this wonderful engine into the Chevy Cruze? Could it be that GM simply likes getting beat by Hyundai and Volkwagen?” He sighed a solemn breath of sorrow and headed outside for a hot lap in his friend’s VW GTI.