EDITOR'S NOTE: A photo of the new sixth-generation Opel Astra has replaced a shot of the fifth-generation of the car.
Plastic Omnium Co. provides the new Opel/Vauxhall Astra's front and rear bumpers, which are designed to withstand impacts of up to 15kph without any major damage, protecting the expensive inner workings of the automobile. Importantly, the front bumper is positioned slightly higher than normal, while the rear bumper has been slightly lowered. This is because in many collisions the front bumper of a car does not hit, but slides under the car in front. This is due to the diving of the front of a car and the raising of the rear end during sudden braking. The bumpers are supposed to help reduce repair bills following an accident.
The sixth-generation Astra debuted at the 2009 IAA in Frankfurt. The five-door rival to the Volkswagen Golf is based on the parent General Motors Co.'s Delta 2 platform and is equipped with many of the safety and comfort features, such as road sign recognition and ergonomic seats, found on the larger, more expensive Opel/Vauxhall Insignia mid-sized car, which won European Car of the Year in 2009.
The Astra inherited the Insignia's FlexRide safety system, which is an extension of ZF Friedrichshafen AG's continuous damping control (CDC). The CDC system utilizes sensors that monitor driving conditions. This information is then collated and analyzed to adjust the damping of each individual wheel to improve stability. With FlexRide, however, CDC is networked to other systems, such as Continental AG's electronic stability control and the electric power steering supplied by ZF Steering Systems, a joint venture of Robert Bosch GmbH and ZF. The exchange of information between those systems enables them to be regulated in a coordinated way, giving a safer ride than if each system was regulated individually. With FlexRide, one of two electronic damping modes may be selected: Sports mode, where the CDC adjusts in milliseconds to give a firm ride; or Tour mode, where the cars reacts more slowly and offers a softer, smoother ride.
To further improve stability, the Astra's wheelbase was lengthened by 71mm to 2,685mm and the front and rear track width was increased by 56mm and 70mm respectively. The range of tire widths that may be fitted to the car also increased, from 14 to 17 inches to 14 to 19 inches. Premier MSS, a subsidiary of the German Voith Group, is responsible for the wheel and tire assemblies.
Another noteworthy contribution comes from Delphi Corp, which provides a new customizable powertrain cooling module comprising a cooling fan, radiator, air cooler and condenser. According to Delphi, the new module is up to15 percent lighter than comparable solutions.
Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. provides the bi-xenon headlamps to which the Swiss company Sonceboz SA supplies the actuators that regulate the curved lighting feature. Gentex Corp. equips the Astra with high-beam assist functionality.
The Astra has eight engines options, four diesel and four gasoline.
Opel assembles the Astra at its plant in Ellesmere Port, England. Prices start at 15,900 euros in Germany.