Astra J Turbo - what was GM thinking???

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Thread: Astra J Turbo - what was GM thinking???

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    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Bravada's Avatar
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    Astra J Turbo - what was GM thinking???

    OK, so we've done some temporary car swapping within the family and I ended up with an Astra Turbo for a week. It's an Astra J, the model sold in the US as Saturn Astra, with the Z20LET Turbo Ecotec Family II engine delivering 200 HP. And it's a blast to drive.

    It is seriously a very sporty and dynamic car to drive, delivering torque very well accross the range, and the "Sport" button really works. I can't fathom why GM thought it was a good idea to saddle it with the ancient 1.8 engine from Szentgotthard and an automatic, charge for it as if it was a luxury car and slap a badge associated with plastic economy cars in North America.

    It would have seriously made a great Pontiac, and it could have made all the difference. Alas...

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    7.0 Liter LS7 V8 cdp326's Avatar
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    Re: Astra J Turbo - what was GM thinking???

    Sure, rub it in for us!

    They probably "might have added it later." If it had stuck around. Plus then "It would be even more expensive!"

    Of course still can't get a Astra hatch here, turbo or not, or even Cruze.
    "Here's to Mr. Iacocca and his failed experiment, the DeLorean!" - The Office

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    6.2 Liter LS3 V8 Quixote88's Avatar
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    Re: Astra J Turbo - what was GM thinking???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bravada View Post
    OK, so we've done some temporary car swapping within the family and I ended up with an Astra Turbo for a week. It's an Astra J, the model sold in the US as Saturn Astra, with the Z20LET Turbo Ecotec Family II engine delivering 200 HP. And it's a blast to drive.

    It is seriously a very sporty and dynamic car to drive, delivering torque very well accross the range, and the "Sport" button really works. I can't fathom why GM thought it was a good idea to saddle it with the ancient 1.8 engine from Szentgotthard and an automatic, charge for it as if it was a luxury car and slap a badge associated with plastic economy cars in North America.

    It would have seriously made a great Pontiac, and it could have made all the difference. Alas...
    Never mind that the brand associated with plastic economy cars had no problem whatsoever moving higher priced Auras, Vues and Skies while big brother Pontiac could not move the cheaper sister cars G6, Torrent or Solstice without massive incentives and/or heavy fleet dumping... Pontiac couldn't move the lower priced G5 (Cobalt twin) either, so I see little evidence of them being able to move the Astra. It would have been as big a game changer for Pontiac as the wonderful G8 was... Meaning simply, it wouldn't have been.

    But alas, the car was too expensive for what it was, regardless which N.A. Division GM decided to sell it through... The free falling U.S. Dollar made sure of that. They were going to lose money on every one built, so they decided to simply not advertise the car, nor support it with any factory incentives, until a bailout or bankruptcy was imminent. The Astra was a nice little car, but it's true that 1.8 is total garbage. The only North American versions even worth driving are the manual variants, and they are few and far between as Saturn stores ordered the Astras as they had the IONs before them: 90% automatics. Ironically, the lesser ION had a far better base power plant than the superior in every other way Astra, the 2.2 (with 2.4 available, as well as the 2.0 S/C Red Line Coupe).

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    6.2 Liter LS9 Supercharged V8 Premium Member ne_one's Avatar
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    Re: Astra J Turbo - what was GM thinking???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bravada View Post
    I can't fathom why GM thought it was a good idea to saddle it with the ancient 1.8 engine from Szentgotthard and an automatic, charge for it as if it was a luxury car and slap a badge associated with plastic economy cars in North America.
    Welcome to our nightmare.

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    7.0 Liter LS7 V8
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    Re: Astra J Turbo - what was GM thinking???

    To its credit, GM was moving various divisions into what appeared to be good market positions. Trouble is, the process was going to take a half decade at least and GM simply ran out of time. That's true for Pontiac and Saturn, I think. Neither could support the kind of prices needed for something like an Astra Redline at the time, which I'm guessing would have struggled to outprice or outperform the VW GTI here. But, the initial products looked decent and if GM had the luxury of time and funds, perhaps they could have made it work. The real failure was waiting so late to make the needed changes.

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    6.2 Liter LS3 V8 Quixote88's Avatar
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    Re: Astra J Turbo - what was GM thinking???

    Quote Originally Posted by Tone View Post
    To its credit, GM was moving various divisions into what appeared to be good market positions. Trouble is, the process was going to take a half decade at least and GM simply ran out of time. That's true for Pontiac and Saturn, I think. Neither could support the kind of prices needed for something like an Astra Redline at the time, which I'm guessing would have struggled to outprice or outperform the VW GTI here. But, the initial products looked decent and if GM had the luxury of time and funds, perhaps they could have made it work. The real failure was waiting so late to make the needed changes.
    That is very true... Unfortunately...

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