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Opel Vectra OPC: First Look

By Feann Torr - 9/8/2005

Opel Vectra OPC
2006 Opel Vectra OPC

Opel Vectra OPC
Opel's Vectra OPC may be badged
as the Vectra SRi Turbo in Australia

Opel Vectra OPC
Powered by a 2.8-litre turbo V6, even the Vectra
wagon can boast notable acceleration times

Punching out 188 kilowatts of power - about 255 ponies - the new Vectra OPC is the quickest and most powerful vehicle on display at Opel's Frankfurt Motor Show exhibit.

In addition to the new Astra TwinTop and the prototypical Antara GTC, Opel showed off its performance-oriented Vectra model at the German auto show, equipped with a turbocharged 6-cylinder engine that may pique the interest of Holden fans.

In the past, Opel's Vectra - or the Holden Vectra as it's known locally - has been available with 6-cylinder powerplants, but this new turbocharged model is set to increase the tempo somewhat, competing with cars such as the BMW 330i and the Volvo S40 T5.

In addition to the OPC Vectra's increased brawn, the trendy new model also gets a new suit, elevating the vehicle both mechanically and visually beyond its predecessors.

The Vectra's revised 'face' comprises a honeycomb grille, chromium fog light bezels and a larger front apron/air dam, no doubt aimed at delivering the force-fed bent six greater amounts of oxygen.

Stylish 18-inch wheels - which the German marque assures us are of an "exclusive OPC design" - give the bodykit modifications, including the side skirts, more impact, while twin trapezoidal exhaust pipes finish off the sporty rear fascia.

With a 260km/h top speed, the new Vectra OPC eclipses the maximum speed of many of Europe's better known prestige brands, often limited to 250km/h, and though no specific stats were provided, Opel is adamant the vehicle will sprint from 0-100km/h in less than 7.0 seconds - which is pretty quick for a mid sized vehicle.

The front-wheel drive's impressive performance comes from its new V6 engine, a motor that's increasingly being put to use by General Motor's various brands, one such example being Saab. The 2.8-litre V6 gasoline engine is fed increased amounts of air via a twin-scroll turbocharger, and together with variable valve timing it helps liberate a useful 355Nm of torque. Peak power is 188kW (255hp).

Effortless acceleration in almost any gear from very low revs will be courtesy of a very flat torque curve that the turbo engine creates, while the 6-speed manual transmission, which ships as standard with the Vectra OPC, will ensure rapid take offs and lofty top speeds.

The chassis has also been upgraded to provide for more responsive handling and crisper feedback, and together with the high grip 18-inch alloy wheels should endow both the sedan and wagon (saloon and estate?) with better-than-average manners on the road. Opel reckons the chassis has been tuned to complement its increased power output, and will use the new model to reveal its new IDSPlus

According to the Opel literature, "The high-performance Vectra is the first production car worldwide from a volume brand to feature a further developed version of the electronically controlled IDSPlus chassis with newest-generation Continuous Damping Control (CDC). Comparable high-end solutions are currently only available in a few low-volume production super sports cars."

Continuous Damping Control, or CDC, can help reduce body roll and pitch dramatically by electronically altering the shock absorbers' damping rates on the fly, potentially increasing the amount of grip and adhesion the tyres have at any one time. In addition to the recently upgraded IDSPlus chassis system, the brakes have also been seen to, now measuring a whopping 345mm up front and 292mm at the rear. The brake calipers are also painted blue like other OPC models, the Astra and Zafira.

Combining its new eye-catching suit, not to mention those lovely 18-inch rubber shoes, with an engine and chassis that together promise to elevate the mid-sized sedan to new levels of performance, the Vectra OPC is likely to be in high demand when it launches in 2006.

 

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