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Opel Astra SRI 2.0 16v

black_astra.jpg

SPEX
 
Year: 1999
Class: Compact Family Car
Type: 3-door Hatchback
 
Country: Germany ````````````````````````````````` Host: GT2
 
 
Price: $21,850

 
Length: 162" // Width: 67.3" // Height: 56"
Wheelbase: 102.6"
Overhang: @4' 11.5"
Track: 58" [F] 57.6" [R]
Ground Clearance: 6.1"
Weight: 2,652 lbs.
Tires: ?
F. Suspension: MacPherson strut, coils, anti-roll bar 
R. Suspension: torsion beam
Brakes: solid discs
Layout: Front Engine / Front Drive
 
Engine: 2.0 liter DOHC inline-4
Tested HP: 137 @ 5,700 rpm
Tsd Torque:
139 @ 3,500 rpm

Lbs. per HP: 19.36
HP per Liter: 68.6
Credits per HP: $159.99

Aspiration: normal
Valves per Cyl: 4
Compression Ratio: ?
BorexStroke: 3.39 x 3.39"

Redline: 6,500 // RPM limit: 7,000
 
Transmission: 5-speed manual
 
0-60 mph: 9.1 seconds
0-100mph: 25.9 seconds

Mile:
17.004 @ 83 mph
1 KM:
31.026 @ 107 mph

Test Track: 2:02.691
 
Top Speed at RPM Limit
1st: 36 mph
2nd: 60 mph
3rd: 88 mph
4th: 115 mph
5th: 136.84 @ 6,500 rpm
 
 

------------------------EXTERIOR------------------------
 
Now this is a perfectly boring car...easy to drive, and affordable at just over $21,000. The Opel Astra lacks any outstanding features in its appearance, nor is there anything to praise under the hood. This review should be quick, in other words.
 
The Astra is a hatchback; it's an alternative if you're a fan of hatchbacks but want to try something different from yet another Civic, Mirage, or Golf, but there is nothing special or unique about the Astra. It's not especially German or distinquished in appearance, hasn't got a 6-speed transmission or an 8,000 rpm redline, nor does it have the Krazy Glue-like grip of some of its competitors.

Mainly, the Astra was created to compete against the Volkswagen Golf, but if we saw one on the street, there would be no immediate reason to choose an Astra over a Golf. It's just another car, another face.

I'm thinking that since the Astra Touring Car (based on a real-life DTM machine) is such a stellar automobile, perhaps Opel and/or PD felt a need to add its pedestrian cousin in GT2. After all, the Astra 2.0 does not make a re-appearance in later GT games, yet its racing version does appear again and again.
 
It weighs in at 2,652 pounds, which is about what I was expecting. A racing kit is available since this is a GT2-only car from Europe, and we can get things down to 2,363. Dimensions are also typical: 162 inches of length with a 102" wheelbase make this car just long enough to be prone to mild sway-oversteer, but this is usually not much to worry about.

The car's height of 56" is more of a concern, and body-roll will occasionally take a couple wheels off the road under hard cornering in the game, which is fun but counter-productive at times.
 
Maybe if I grew up in Germany, I'd be more excited about this car, but somehow I doubt it.
 
 
--------------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN----------------
 
Oooh, yet another 2.0 liter DOHC inline-4 engine, transversely mounted over yet another front-drive set up.

Acceleration is bland, but not awful: 9.1 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph, 25.9 to get to 100 mph. The Opel Astra circled the test track in just over 2 minutes and reached a top speed of 136.84 mph with 500 rpm left to spare on the tach. Actually, that is rather awful!
 
As stated earlier, this car has front-wheel drive and behaves like it, but it does express a bit more un-forced oversteer than usual. The cheaply-bought sports suspension and sport tires keep things under the car settled while the engine is modified with a turbo, which will ultimately raise HP from 136 to 305 hp. But, really, what's the point? Someone rich (or a real fan of econobox Opels) might want to dabble in this endeavor, but another person building their GT career in this car just might find themself getting bored.
 
But there is some merit. This car is PERFECT for conquering most B and A license races in GT2. There, I actually said something nice.
 
 
------------------CHASSIS / HANDLING----------------
 
Though its looks are unimpressive and power quite average, it is here (under the car) that the Opel Astra ultimately shines. Once we get the suspension stiffened and upgrade those tires, the Astra can and will out-maneuver just about anything it can keep up with.
 
One can stiffen up its dampers and/or springs & stabilizers to reduce body roll, or keep them soft and use the upper weight of the car to help slide it around the tighter corners and over curbs. This is probably not a car that you'll want to attempt long, grandiose power-slides with, though (unless you're rally racing); such behavior will kill the Astra's speed, which it sometimes struggles to regain. Instead, go for short slides and pivots here and there to out-corner the competition.
 
Brake controller is a must-buy once you're getting some cash: it seems as if the Astra's brakes are actually a bit too strong before we can manipulate them, making the car prone to near 4-wheel lockups.
 
I haven't been successful at finding much info on tire dimensions, but I do know that real-life Astras have MacPherson struts up front, with a torsion-beam suspension in the rear. Front and rear spring rates are only slightly stiffer than expected at 2.6 and 2.1 kg/mm. 6.3 inches of stock ground clearance can be remedied with either of the non-professional suspensions if you're on a budget.
 
There's not much point in ever buying the fully-modifyable setup unless you're a REAL fan of Opels. I've been able to do all my driving on stock, sport, or semi-racing parts. I finally upgraded to full-custom parts when taking the Astra off-road, but doing this would never occur to the average lo-skill driver.
 
Geez, what an awful review. Sorry to any Opel fans out there. :-/
 
----------------PROS-------------------
 
1. A good beginner's car; easy to drive.
 
2. Affordable to anyone who's got a few credits saved.
 
3. Engine can be modified with a turbo. Three of them, actually.
 
4. Good handling, awesome maneuverability with upgraded suspension and tires.
 
5. Race kit available.
`

------------------CONS-----------------
 
1. Bland styling. Nothing unique about the Opel Astra. It looks horrible in GT2 as well, with this game's poor graphix rendering. But also, it seems as if PD didn't take the time to draw it as well as they drew some others.
 
2. Engine is weak, features low top speed and below-average acceleration.
 
3. No mechanical surprises under the skin.
 
4. Short gearing will need to be augmented with the racing gearbox as the power gets pushed higher.
 
5. Torque steer will kill this car's lateral acceleration thru corners. Learn to brake early!
 
6. Some other typical front-drive issues. Understeer being tops.
 

 

Originally Published: June 22, 2004
 

  

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