Vauxhall claim the new model will take them back into a sector they haven’t occupied since the 1930s – replacing the Astra TwinTop’s folding metal roof with a more conventional soft-top.
The new model – called Cascada – takes styling features from the Astra but, at 4.7 metres in length, is longer than Audi’s A5 convertible.
British designer Mark Adams headed the Cascada’s design. To create the clean profile with no roof-top cover or visible roll-over protection, Vauxhall has employed pyrotechnically activated, spring-loaded high-strength bars, which automatically deploy behind the rear seats when a large impact is detected.
Three engines will be available from launch; the base 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol, with 138bhp and 220Nm of torque, a 2.0-litre CDTi diesel engine with 163bhp and 380Nm of torque and the all-new 1.6-litre SIDI turbocharged petrol with 168bhp and 280Nm of torque.
Vauxhall’s HiPerStrut front suspension, first used in the Insignia VXR, will also be standard across the Cascada range along with FlexRide, Vauxhall’s fully adaptive chassis control system.
The full size fabric roof opens in 17 seconds at speeds of up to 30mph and features both acoustic quilting and thermal insulation. Vauxhall claim this makes the Cascada a convertible that can be used all-year round.