Apr 27, 2012
Rüsselsheim. Opel has designed a high performance chassis package geared especially towards lateral dynamics and superb handling qualities for its new Astra OPC to complement its powerful 206 kW/280 hp, 400 Nm engine. The chassis which is equipped with dampers made by ZF Sachs benefits from several decisive elements that all enhance the car’s driving dynamics: high performance struts (HiPerStruts) on the front suspension, the mechatronic FlexRide chassis system, a mechanical limited slip differential and Brembo brakes. The chassis has been further sharpened with 19” alloy wheels as standard together with tires of the 245/40 ZR type.
In order to convert the power of the new Astra into efficient propulsion, the front axle is equipped with a mechanical multi-plate limited slip differential. When one of the front wheels spins, the two multi-plate packs inside the differential work like clutches and subject the drive to a clearly defined resistance. This locking effect (50 percent maximum) depends on the ramp angle with which the plate packs are pressed together and which consequently determines how pressure is applied to the multi-plate clutch depending on the amount of torque. The shallower the ramp angle is, the more sensitive the system is. In the case of the Astra OPC, a ramp angle of 45 degrees was chosen for acceleration. In the case of deceleration, in other words when brakes are applied or pressure is taking off the accelerator pedal, the plates of the clutch are separated again and thus allow the ABS to work on the front wheels.
The mechatronic FlexRide chassis which has been especially tuned and enhanced to OPC needs lets the driver choose between three different driving modes, with each mode offering a unique and specific experience of high performance driving. The Standard mode delivers all-round performance while comfort is preserved at all times for everyday drive situations. Even in this mode, the Astra OPC performs brilliantly in bends, shines with its responsive steering and minimal body tilt. At the touch of a button, the Sport mode stiffens the chassis suspension, increases agility by reducing body roll and makes the steering more direct. Meanwhile, the OPC mode creates the ultimate driving experience: steering becomes even more direct than in the Sport mode, the throttle more responsive and the chassis setting is geared towards delivering maximum performance. The instrument panel lights up red to signal that the car is in the OPC mode.
For best possible ride control, the ramp control sub-mode further adjusts the damping, ensuring that the wheels are in contact with the road constantly when travelling over bumps at high speed. This means the vehicle experiences a soft landing even when the springs on the struts rebound on an uneven road surface. Meanwhile, the roll control sub-mode reduces side tilt further so that the vehicle lies flat in the road so that agility is maximized.
Compared to the turbocharged 1.6 Astra GTC (132 kW/180hp), the OPC engineers stiffened the standard springs by around thirty percent and lowered the vehicle by a further ten millimeters, thus bringing the car even closer to the road. In order to give the driver an even more agile and responsive drive, the bushings and the rear axle were also made stiffer.
Like the FlexRide, the ESP stability control also offers three different modes depending on how challenging and sporty one wants to drive. The pre-set standard setting, which has been optimized for OPC use, ensures maximum ride safety in everyday situations without the driver losing control over the car. The Competitive mode raises the threshold at which the automatic systems intervene. However, when the vehicle is in a borderline dangerous situation it will be stabilized by the brake system. In the ESP-off mode, when the ESP button is pressed down for more than five seconds, the ESP system can be completely deactivated.
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