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Spyshot: Astra ’06 gets the CC treatment

Here’s the last piece in the Vauxhall Astra jigsaw – a tin-top convertible.

The Astra convertible makes its debut at September’s Frankfurt show, with the car arriving in UK showrooms in spring ’06.

Just the one model replaces the lingering Astra coupe and soft top cabriolet pair, and provides Vauxhall dealers with a four-seat coupe/convertible to complement the niche market two-seat Tigra.

While Heuliez engineered the baby roadster’s mechanism, the three section Astra roof is the work of Car Top Systems, the firm behind the Mercedes-Benz SL.

Sources suggest the top will drop in less than 20sec, quicker than the electro-mchanical roofs of its French rivals. The Astra also wins the style war, with a slimmer rump and the extended roof ensuring a more flowing silhouette.

Some body panels are shared with the sporty three-door, although the convertible looks to use the estate’s stretched platform, to maximise passenger and cargo space. There’s decent room for four, says insiders, and the boot should swallow more luggage than rivals’.

The gruntier Astra engines will be plumbed into the nose, to offset the weight gain. Expect the new, 140bhp 1.8-litre petrol with variable valve timing and the  168bhp 2.0-litre turbo to be offered at launch. A 148bhp 1.9-litre diesel is also on the cards, but with the convertible biased towards relaxed cruising rather than B-road blasting, there won’t be a VXR version. A sporty bodykit will be optional, though. 

ENGINES

The 140bhp 1.8-litre and 168bhp 2.0-litre turbo are expected at launch; 148bhp 1.9-litre diesel should follow.

PACKAGE

Decent space for four people and plenty of boot space, thanks to stretched Astra underpinnings.

CABRIOLET

Three-piece metal roof with Car Top Systems design folds in around 18 seconds, a class-leading time for a tin-top.

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