Vauxhall has released the first official photos of the new three-door Astra ahead of its unveiling at next month’s Paris Motor Show.

At launch, the new Astra three-door will be available with a choice of four petrol and three common-rail diesel engines with power outputs from 90 to 170 hp – and all engines comply with the Euro 4 emissions standard. Furthermore, a VXR model with a power output in excess of 230 hp, more extreme styling and sharper handling will be revealed later this year and go on sale in summer 2005.

Vauxhall designers were keen to ensure the production design changed little from the GTC concept first shown at Geneva in 2003.  The three-door sites 15mm lower than the five-door and retains the concept’s short overhangs, pronounced tapering and distinctive lights.

An optional panoramic windscreen – making its own world premiere in the three-door model – which extends to the B-pillar and creates a vast sense of space, will also be available.

It’s set to drive well, too, with Vauxhall’s IDS chassis (Interactive Driving System), optional IDSPlus adaptive chassis system with electronic damping control (CDC), ESPPlus and the networking of all electronic chassis systems. In addition, in some models the driver can activate a sport set-up at the touch of a button (SportSwitch) which regulates damper adjustment as well as accelerator-pedal and power steering response. In conjunction with the automatic transmission, gearshift points are also modified for a sportier driving style.

The Astra three-door is manufactured in Antwerp, Belgium, where the five-door model and the estate are also produced. Planned annual capacity for the three-door model is around 70,000 units.

The Astra three-door goes on sale in spring 2005 with prices to be announced nearer the on sale date.