Vauxhall Astra GTC from £18,495
The car costs from £18,495 and Vauxhall claims the three-door will be very different from the five-door version.
On the outside, only the door handles and roof aerial are shared. The design closely follows that of the GTC concept car shown at the 2010 Paris motor show.
There are plenty of familiar Astra cues, but muscular bulges above the rear wheels and a sleeker rear end give it a more coupe-like appearance.
With a 15mm lower ride height, a 10mm longer wheelbase and wider tracks (40mm at the front and 30mm at the rear), the GTC has a more squat stance than the five-door.
Vauxhall promises a more focused driving experience to match. All GTCs come with Vauxhall's Hiperstrut (High Performance Strut) front suspension system, which is designed to provide better grip and steering feel and reduce interference to the steering under hard acceleration. Vauxhall's Flexride adaptive damping system will be available as an option.
Although the GTC will be sold on the continent as an Opel, Vauxhall says that the UK is likely to be the biggest market for the car and that much of the chassis development work was carried out on UK roads.
Every engine is turbocharged. There are 1.4-litre petrols with 118bhp or 138bhp and a 178bhp 1.6. The diesel option is a 163bhp 2.0. All but the highest-powered petrol have a stop-start system as standard. CO2 emissions range from 129- to 164 g/km.
Although much of the cabin trim is shared with the five-door Astra, the GTC uses a range of different colours and materials for a sportier look. The GTC should be almost as practical as the five-door, though, with space for four adults and a 370-litre boot.
Only two trim levels will be available. Sport includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a DAB stereo and USB input. Extras on SRI models include leather steering wheel trim and front foglamps.
Order books are open now, and first deliveries are expected in November. The car will make its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.
You'll have to wait a bit longer for the barnstorming VXR version. It's expected to have around 300bhp, wilder looks and a range of chassis modifications, making it a formidable rival for our current hot hatch favourite, the Renault Megane Renaultsport 250 Cup.
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