Vauxhall Astra GTC to be revealed in UK first

The annual Goodwood Festival of Speed will play host to the new coupe-styled Astra GTC in July, months before its official world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September this year.

It is quite a coup for the festival, and Vauxhall has labelled the appearance of the Astra GTC a ‘surprise debut’ for festival-goers.

The Vauxhall Astra GTC will be driven along the famous hill route twice a day by Vauxhall’s chief chassis engineer, giving visitors a sneak preview of the latest model to join the Astra hatchback and Astra Sports Tourer.

The Astra GTC, although based on the Astra hatchback, features three-doors only and a low, sweeping roofline and sculpted sides to give it a sportier feel.

Using a new chassis and design, the car will also drive differently than its siblings, with the emphasis on handling – something Vauxhall has described as ‘go kart-like’.

Prices for the Vauxhall Astra GTC were announced yesterday, with entry-level models starting from £18,495 in the UK. However, four engine choices mean prices will rise to as much as £22,430 for higher performance models.

At the other end of the scale, Goodwood will also play host to the new Vauxhall Ampera extended range electric vehicle prior to its 2012 launch.

The Ampera will be the first of its kind to go on sale in the UK – the Chevrolet Volt, its identical sibling, will arrive afterwards – and is set to offer an alternative to fully electric cars by more than trebling the available range.

Other cars to appear at the festival include the quirky EN-V one-man ‘pods’, which represent GM’s vision of city transport in future. An Astra 4-S rally car from 25 years ago will also appear at the event.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed will run from July 1 to 3 this year.