Opel's red-hot "Astra High Performance Concept" is unveiled at the Paris show this week and may leave its three-door sibling slightly green around the gills, having to share a stand with this sizzling number.

Opel's red-hot "Astra High Performance Concept" is unveiled at the Paris show this week and may leave its three-door sibling slightly green around the gills, having to share a stand with this sizzling number.

Based on the GTC, its showcases what future Opel performance cars could be capable of. Developed at the Russelsheim International Technical Development Centre in co-operation with the Opel Performance Centre, this concept marks a major step forward for the marque.

The hot concept is claimed to push out 176 kW and maximum torque of 310 N.m. It accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in under seven seconds and reaches a top end of about 240 km/h.

In CAR magazine's March 2004 test of the current Astra OPC, it was found to produce maximum power and torque of 147 kW and 250 N.m. The standard acceleration dash was covered in 7,5 seconds. Top speed was recorded at 239 km/h.

Fitted with the same 2,0-litre turbo engine which does duty in the five-door and station wagon Astra models. Power is increased through improvements to the turbocharger and injection system. The IDSPlus chassis with electronic damping control has been further developed for the concept.

Stylistically, the sporty concept is set apart from the conventional three-door unit by aggressive design cues. The front end shows off a honeycomb grille and an air intake that is lower and wider. Integrated fog lamps complete the front treatment. Side sills, which are more defined towards the rear, link the two ends.

The powerful front appearance is carried over to the rear and is accentuated by a dual exhaust system, a roof spoiler and a diffuser integrated into the bumper. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels add to the car's sporty form.

The interior is finished in striking red to match the car's exterior. Recaro seats with four-way lumbar support offer strong side bolstering. Further highlights include a leather gearshift knob and red-ringed instruments.