Vauxhall releases Astra cabrio sketch

* Sketch of forthcoming Astra soft-top * Heavily based on three-door GTC * On sale next year from around 20,000...

Vauxhall releases Astra cabrio sketch

Vauxhall has released a sketch that gives plenty of clues about the forthcoming Astra Cabriolet.

The new open-top is expected to go on sale in 2012, and will be heavily based on the GTC three-door Astra, the prices of which were revealed this week.

This next-generation model is expected to ditch the current car's folding metal hood and go back to a traditional fabric hood.

Senior design sources say weight savings and aesthetics are behind the decision. The latest insulation techniques also allow greater refinement from cloth hoods.

Designed in Germany by a team led by Brit Mark Adams, the new Astra Cabrio will be slightly longer than the GTC to improve its looks and avoid compromising rear passenger and luggage-carrying capacity.

Unlike the GTC, the Cabrio is expected to be a strict four-seater.

Engine choices are likely to be similar to the GTC, with the range-topper set to be a 180bhp 1.6-litre petrol turbo. A diesel version could also be offered.