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New Astra To Showcase Most Advanced Chassis In Class

Vauxhall is promising that the dynamic new look of the Astra will be reflected in the driving experience, when the new model goes on sale in May.

Building on the foundations of the current Astra, a car which already has one of the best chassis in class, the new Astra will take chassis technology in the segment to a new level. Features will include state-of-the-art, adaptive suspension technology and a press-button Sport mode for an even more sporting drive.

Vauxhall's new compact competitor is the first car in its segment with an integrated chassis control network: in addition to ABS and ESPPlus, the network includes CDC (Continuous Damping Control), a major component of the IDSPlus system which first appeared on Vectra.

It is the first time that CDC, a feature usually reserved for luxury cars, has become available to so many potential customers, underlining Vauxhalls philosophy of offering advanced and practical engineering in the popular market segments.

Selected models in the Astra range will feature a "sport" switch, so that at the touch of a button suspension settings and steering and accelerator response can be adapted according to the mood of the driver.

With the IDSPlus (Interactive Driving System) adaptive chassis system which will be optional on selected cars the new Astra opens a new dimension of suspension performance, to achieve the perfect balance between driving comfort and active safety.

Suspension

Agility combined with high levels of safety were the objectives for the new Astra suspension. The front is a further evolution using MacPherson struts with lateral control arms attached to a hydro formed sub frame at the rear. The new strut mounts are decoupled, to effectively reduce noise and vibration.

To ensure equality in ride comfort across all engines, the spring-rates are adapted to the front axle-load in 30 kg steps. The weight-dependent spring rates allow a consistent ride-frequency of the front axle across the range, from the 1.4 TWINPORT to the 2.0 turbo and this, despite up to 200 kg variation in axle-load.

The rear of the new Astra features a specially adapted torsion beam. The layout combines the space saving advantages of a conventional torsion beam axle with low weight and consistent "camber control". It can also be easily tuned for the different models within the range.

Additional benefits of the suspension include giving the new model an improved ?stance and more interior space from the wider tread, while noise is reduced from the larger, 70mm bushings. Intensive development of the beams twisting characteristics also results in improved driving stability.

The space-saving layout of the rear axle helped the engineers to achieve a low centre of gravity while the fuel tank fits between the wheels, enabling lower positioning of the seats.

Astra's electro-hydraulic power-steering (EHPS) is map controlled so that power assistance varies according to the car speed and amount of steering input.

With those models fitted with Sport mode, the steering mapping can be changed to "direct" at the push of a button.

New flexible manufacturing techniques mean that Vauxhall will offer two lengths of steering arms on the new Astra, with a more direct steering ratio (14:1 instead of 15:1) being available in combination with the sport-chassis.

IDSPlus chassis system

Vauxhall's version of IDS (Interactive Driving System) first appeared on the Vectra and has been refined for use, as an option, in Astra.

The company is promising new levels of ride quality through the adaptive IDS Plus suspension system a complex electronic network which incorporates such features as Continuous Damping Control.

.......

Other technical highlights of the Astra chassis include Understeer Control Logic (UCL) where if understeer occurs, road speed is reduced automatically by closing the throttle and then braking on two wheels; Hill Start Assistant (HSA) where pressure in the brake system is maintained for 1.5 seconds to enable easy drive off on uphill gradients, and a tyre deflation Detection System (DDS) which detects loss of pressure in a tyre by measuring its circumference. A warning signal is given if pressure loss reaches 30%.





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GM Vauxhall UK
 
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