ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 2.2 ASTRA
After all these years it still looks good and goes well. 2.2-litre Astra Coupes can be had for bargain prices and you certainly get a lot for your money.
Stylish, reliable, reasonably fast and tuneable – what more could you want from your Vauxhall? The Astra 2.2 Coupe fits the bill perfectly, and with prices currently starting at under a grand, it’s one of the best Griffin bargains around.
Launched in July 2000 as a successor to the much-loved Calibra, the Coupe took most of the existing Mk4 Astra and dramatically tweaked the shape with a sleek roofline, pillarless doors, smooth bumpers and high boot lid. The design and manufacture was entrusted to Italian coachbuilder Bertone.
The Coupe range was available from the outset with Vauxhall’s allalloy chain-driven Z22SE 2.2-litre power plant, in this guise known as the Bertone Edition (as opposed to the 1.8-litre Coupe Edition or Z20LET Turbo Edition). It pushed out an understated 144bhp, along with 150lb/ft torque. So it was no ball of fire, but 60mph came in 8.2 seconds and the 135mph top speed was adequate for an everyday driver. An automatic gearbox option slowed it down to a 132mph and nine second 0-to-60 mph dawdle, highlighting the 2.2’s target market of owners seeking a cruiser, not a bruiser.
A comprehensive spec included 6x16 inch alloy wheels, sport suspension, ABS, air conditioning, electric mirrors, white dials, leather steering wheel, cruise control, CCR 600 cassette head unit and four-disc CD changer.
Production changed little throughout the Coupe’s lifespan, adding a trip computer in August 2001, deleting the extendable seat cushions in June 2002 but gaining a CD storage box and height-adjustable passenger seat. An extra-cost Dynamic pack gained ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) and 17in wheels, a Leather pack offered heated leather seats, while a Winter pack included heated seats and headlamp washers.
May 2003 dropped the Bertone badge but brought reduced CO2 emissions. By 2004, the stereo was downgraded to the CDR500 but ESP, a rear spoiler and 17in alloys were made standard issue.
As always, Vauxhall went to town on limited editions. First came the June 2001 SE1 with Europa Blue paintwork, rear spoiler, 17in five-spoke rims, lowered suspension, blue Alcantara trim, blue seatbelts, CDR500 stereo and aluminium gearknob. Only 100 SE1s were fitted with the 2.2 engine; they all had manual gearboxes.
It was followed in October 2001 by the SE2 – also in Europa Blue, but with blue Alcantara seats, black leather bolsters, trip computer and automatic transmission.
October 2002 saw the introduction of the desirable Linea Rossa, with unique red and black leather interior, 17in wheels and ESP.
April 2003 brought the Edition 100, developed to mark Vauxhall’s centenary. The Edition 100 2.2 Coupe featured Centenary Blue paintwork, 17in BBS alloys, ESP, beige leather trim, a matt-chrome centre-console and an alloy gearknob.
By 2005 the Coupe was abandoned in favour of the Sport Hatch – a much modernised but more expensive proposition altogether.