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Fiery OPC now in Astra

14.02.2013

IN THE 1990s, Alice in Chains wrote a song entitled Junkhead. One of the lyrics the lead singer yells out is: “what’s my drug of choice.” Now I know drugs are a serious topic all over the world, but I’ve often wondered how they got their names.

For instance, MDMA is just another name for the street pill Ecstasy and MDMA is basically the chemical components that make up the drug. PCP is much the same and is colloquially known as Angel Dust, which is a hallucinogen.

Both these substances take you on a euphoric high and both are illegal. Luckily, my new drug from Opel, the Astra OPC, isn’t illegal but will certainly supply you with the same euphoria. That’s because, while the styling alone expresses passion for power and speed with its carefully sculpted aero treatment, it has the attitude to match the ego.

Performance

Designed around the styling cues of the Astra GTC, the OPC has something rather naughty tucked away under the bonnet, which has allowed this model to be the most powerful production Astra produced to date. It houses a 2.0-litre engine that kicks out a massive 206kW of power from the turbocharged motor, along with a healthy 400Nm of torque, which is transferred to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
On paper it looks impressive, doing the 0-100km/h shuffle in only six seconds, while keeping the accelerator pinned to the floor will enable this car to continue to its electrically governed top speed of 250km/h.

Having spent the day driving the Astra OPC around the infamous Kyalami racing circuit, there is no denying this car’s athletic prowess. Its responsive steering allows the driver to interact well with it. The front suspension, the mechatronic FlexRide chassis system - a mechanical-plate-type limited-slip differential - and the Brembo brakes work well together to make this a formidable package. Add to this a combined average fuel consumption of around 8.11 litres/100km and a 189g/km of CO2 emissions and suddenly you start to realise exactly the kind of trip the OPC is sending you on – it’s all thrills!

Price

But as some of us may know, addiction is an expensive experience. And while I love the growl emanating from the Opel’s exhausts and the impressive credentials like the high-performance seats, along with the full leather upholstery with exclusive OPC stitching in arden blue or cool pearl for a sporty and premium look and feel. It does come at a price that could make you want to kick the OPC habit, retailing for a pricy R435 000 which includes a 5-year/90 000km service plan and 5-year/120 000km warranty.

Technology

That said, it is a vehicle packed with technological features and innovations. Opel is the first vehicle manufacturer to provide user access to a defined set of data from the CAN bus (Controller Area Network – the electronic lifeline that unifies and connects all electronic control units in the vehicle). This information is directly available on an iPhone equipped with the required app (downloaded from the App Store) where it can be displayed and analysed.

This type of information was previously only available to specialised workshops using sophisticated diagnostic equipment. In the Astra OPC, Opel provides the owner with the opportunity to review selected performance-related data. This opens up a whole new world of technology for the performance vehicle fan.

To enable access to an extended range of data, Opel offers an add-on smartphone controller as an on-cost accessory for aftermarket fitment. This module is wired directly into the CAN bus and is able to transmit data in real time and allows the vehicle owner to maximise the data available.

The Opel Astra OPC is a new kind of drug that will satisfy every petrolhead’s need for that adrenalin rush.

Article written by Stuart Moir
14.02.2013
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