Do you remember the Opel-Vauxhall Astra G from 1998? A solid compact car built in the millions, mostly without any outstanding features. However, it was a leap forward in terms of quality, and initially the G was even fully galvanised, but there were definitely attractive variants such as the convertible and coupe, both designed by Bertone, and the OPC with up to 200 PS. 

But there was a much hotter OPC model, which unfortunately remained a one-off. At the IAA 2001, Opel surprised everyone with the Astra OPC X-Treme. A 444 PS gull-wing study with 530 Nm of torque that promised top acceleration from zero to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds. Hallelujah.

Gallery: Opel Astra OPC X-treme (2001)

The Astra OPC X-Treme not only looked like a road-legal DTM racing car, it practically was one too. The fully drivable, hand-built prototype was not based on the standard Astra Coupe, but on the chassis and drivetrain of an Opel Astra V8 Coupe from the 2000 DTM season, although around half of the parts are said to have been changed.

At that time, Opel was runner-up with Manuel Reuter, and the brand was active in the DTM with the Astra until 2003. With the study developed at the Opel Performance Centre (OPC), Opel wanted to demonstrate the synergy between motorsport and series production: "With this high-tech sports car, we want to show what we can really do," Volker Strycek is quoted as saying.

Opel Astra OPC X-treme (2001)
Opel Astra OPC X-treme (2001)
Opel Astra OPC X-treme (2001)

The front-mounted 4.0-litre V8 of the Astra OPC X-treme was derived from the Cadillac Northstar engine and drove the rear wheels. The sequential, unsynchronised six-speed gearbox was located on the rear axle (transaxle) and combined with the differential in a single housing. The body was made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic and sat on a tubular lattice frame. The suspension's shock absorbers and stabilisers were adjustable, and the front and rear wheels were individually suspended on double wishbones.

Changes compared to the DTM racing car mainly concerned the brakes, which were fitted with brake discs made of carbon fibre-reinforced composite material and six-piston callipers, and the Astra OPC X-treme also had a modified exhaust system with silencers. The front spoiler and rear wing were also customised for the road-legal version. There was no anti-lock braking system or driving dynamics control (ESP).

Opel Astra OPC X-treme (2001)

The interior consisted of Alcantara and brushed aluminium. The airbag steering wheel from the Opel Speedster was the only component from Opel's high-volume production programme. Unlike in the DTM, the X-treme had 9×20 and 11×20 wheels with 265/30 ZR 20 and 305/25 ZR 20 tyres.

The top speed is between 193 and 205 mph, depending on the selected gear ratio, and acceleration from 0 to 62 mph is 3.9 seconds. Fuel consumption should be "well under twenty litres".

Opel Astra OPC X-treme (2001)

According to Opel, there were ten blind orders and many customer enquiries after the premiere. The car was supposed to cost one million Deutschmarks - including lifelong maintenance. But things turned out differently. The first press day of the IAA 2001 was 11 September. Suddenly the global economy went into crisis mode, and Opel also put projects such as the X-Treme to the test. In the meantime, even the abbreviation OPC is history. The sportiest Astra is currently the GSe with a 225 PS plug-in hybrid.