Tuning

5 Surprisingly Sporty Opel Astras

All it takes is an extensive exterior makeover and engine tune to turn the Astra into a true hot hatch.

Not many Americans know about the Opel Astra. But that's okay. You don't need to know anything about Opel's hot hatch in order to enjoy these topnotch tune jobs. The Astra isn't the sportiest or fastest European hatchback. That said, it is possible to put lipstick on a pig, so to speak. These tuned hatchbacks both look and perform a 100 times better than their stock counterparts, which is good news for Opel fanboys (there have to be a few out there). Calling anything a 100 times better than something else may sound like an exaggeration, but you'll see that it's the truth when you continue below.

JMS made the Opel Astra a little easier on the eyes with its Racelook body kit. Highlights from the body kit include a front lip spoiler, a rear diffuser with cutouts for the new stainless steel exhaust system and 19-inch Schmidt Revolution CC wheels. A coilover suspension that drops the front of the Astra by 60mm and the rear by 50mm was also added.

German tuners EDS went to work under the hood of the Astra Turbo, optimizing the ECU, adding a Garret GT28 turbocharger, sports exhaust system and a new manifold. The mods push the 180hp 1.6-liter engine to 360 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Additional features include a Quaife differential lock, a new sports clutch kit, a sports suspension and 20-inch wheels.

Senner Tuning generously offers a middling tune job for the middling Opel Astra. A staggering $16,400 will boost the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine from 140 hp and 148 lb-ft to 165 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Some of that money will also buy you 19-inch Alutec alloys and a carbon fiber-trimmed front grille, roof spoiler and side skirts. Totally worth it.

German tuners Irmscher turned its attention to the Astra GTC, boosting the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine to 220 hp and 202 lb-ft of torque (up from 180 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque). A body kit highlighted by a set of 21-inch wheels was also added. Irmscher then swathed the interior in leather and swapped out the stock pedals for aluminum ones.

Opel tuner Steinmetz extensively modified the exterior and interior of this Astra GTC for the 2011 Essen Motor Show. The custom job is aesthetic in nature, although a sports suspension that lowers the hot hatch by 30mm and 19-inch alloys were also added. The Opel's new body kit features new grilles, spoilers and exhaust tailpipes. Interior modifications include a Steinmetz electronic speed indicator and stainless steel sill plates.

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