Highlighting its presentations in the City of Lights, the Opel GTC Paris Concept provides a fairly definitive look at what we can expect in the next-generation Astra three-door that's due to arrive in Europe late next year as a replacement for the current Astra Sport Hatch model. Intent on raising the division's profile across the continent and beyond, the GTC Paris concept was conceived to be the "obtainable dream car" that embodies German engineered precision and innovation matched striking style. According to Opel's Vice President of Design, Mark Adams, "We wanted to express the most emotional side of the Opel brand and we believe this vehicle creates an appropriate visual impact to reinforce our dynamic sporty character."

However, this trick Opel show car also offers one additional intriguing -- although far from certain -- possibility. It's based on the same GM platform architecture as the upcoming Buick compact sedan due to launch here in 2012-2013, which opens the door for a suitably recast version to find its way into the division's U.S. lineup as a sportier running mate to the mainstay four-door offering.

Power for the Opel GTC Paris Concept comes from GM's high-tech 2.0-liter direct-injected turbocharged four-cylinder -- which cranks out 220 horsepower in the new Buick Regal -- backed by a six-speed manual transmission. However, the production Astra also is expected to offer a high-performance "OPC" variant that packs a force-fed four with nearly 300 horses.

On the handling front, the GTC Paris Concept boasts numerous dynamic enhancements starting with wider track dimensions and a show-car-only 21-inch wheel/tire fitment. In addition to an improved version of its adaptive mechatronic FlexRide suspension, this evocative Opel also gets an electronically controlled limited-slip front differential.

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