Switching from Holden to Opel badges from early 2012 also means there will be more emphasis on cars with pace and panache. So the upcoming Opel Astra GSI, caught by Carparazzi during pre-launched trials in Europe, is likely to be a pacemaker and a hero car for the start-up brand.
The GSI is developed from the Astra hatch already previewed in Europe as the Opel response to the latest Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The Astra is promised as a benchmark small car and the GSI will be the headliner for the badge, taking up the slack from the current car not sold in Australia.
Carparazzi shots reveal a GSI, even with camouflage, that trumpets a bolder front end with a different bumper, air intakes and daytime running lamps. At the rear there is an extra exhaust pipe and a massive rear bumper, and the pictures also show the car rides up to 10 millimetres lower than the regular Astra.
Carparazzi says the new GSI will be powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo motor delivering 141 kiloWatts, be good enough to top the current model's speed of 230 km/h and its sprint of 8.2 seconds from standstill to 100 km/h.