Douro Valley
Adventures

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The Astra offers a tremendous amount of space, and I feel better with the safety and driver assistance systems like the
side blind spot alert.”

– Jeanette Hain –

Roman Knižka (known for his roles in the German TV series ‘Tatort’ and ‘Alarm für Cobra 11’) is dedicated to his family. And he’s an Opel fan, which is why he couldn’t pass up a chance to join the journalists and attend the launch of the new Astra Sports Tourer in Porto, Portugal. “I’m particularly interested in learning more about safety and comfort,” says Knižka, who also acted in ‘Twin Sisters,’ a box-office hit that earned him an Oscar nomination in 2005. He slides into the driver’s seat of a new, power red top-of-the-range 1.6 BiTurbo diesel model. Together with numerous journalists, the German celebrity test drove the 10th generation of Opel’s bestselling compact station wagon.

Recipient of the prestigious Grimme-Preis in Germany, Jeanette Hain is also present at the event on the Atlantic coast. What does the German actress think when she first catches a glimpse of the Sports Tourer? “What a sporty design! Wow!” And its interior? Hop in, have a look, and go for a ride. “The extra features and little details are great,” adds Hain. “There’s even a scent dispenser in the cockpit, plus it has OnStar, Opel’s online and service assistant.” After her first test drive, she praises the vehicle: “The Astra offers a tremendous amount of space, and I feel better with the safety and driver assistance systems like the side blind spot alert.”

 

MANY EXTRA FEATURES AND A GOOD FEELING
That good feeling Jeanette Hain was experiencing hasn’t abated. Just like her colleague Knižka and a group of car journalists, she heads out on a genuine adventure through the Douro Valley. The valley is named after the river that flows through the Iberian Peninsula, traveling 927 kilometers until reaching the Atlantic Ocean in Porto. The river cuts a deep path in the landscape as it winds past the Marão and Montemuro mountain ranges. There are literally thousands of terraced vineyards clinging to the steep hillsides of the valley.


 CELEBRITY DRIVERS


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Roman Knižka Show business is part of his family. His mother is a singer and his father is a choreographer. At 46 years old, Knižka’s acting career has had many facets: serious roles, detective series, thrillers, and even comedies. He even performs with the Opus 45 ensemble, a classical music group, in speaking roles. He also acts as a patron of the Aline Reimer Foundation, an initiative that provides support to youths and young adults with cancer.

 

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Jeanette Hain She played Til Schweiger’s wife in ‘Head Full of Honey,’ a German drama film, and Augusta Pilaster in ‘A Dangerous Fortune,’ a TV drama based on Ken Follett’s novel. Hain won the prestigious Grimme-Preis in 2010 for her performance in ‘Kommissar Süden und der Luftgitarrist.’ Hain (47) started her acting career in Munich, Germany, when she began studying directing at the University of Television and Film in 1993. She lives with her two children in Berlin.


THE TEST ROUTE


 


In the words of the poet Miguel Torga, the Douro Valley is “an excess of nature.” You cannot deny the truth of his words. The landscape near Porto offers a setting worthy of the launch of the Astra Sports Tourer.

 


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The springtime sun shines. A light breeze blows in off the ocean. A fleet of Astra Sports Tourers rolls down the N-222 from Peso da Régua to Pinhão. The switchbacks are tight here, passing the dazzling jewels of the winegrowers of the region. Stands of cork oak and copses of juniper envelop the villages along the route. The beauty of the river’s hilly landscape is stunning. Many of the event participants mention this during the coffee break.

MATHEMATICAL FORMULAS
It’s a curious, albeit interesting footnote. There’s scientific proof for the subjective feeling a driver has at a launch event. The N-222 route is officially the most beautiful road in the world. It involves some mathematics to understand this distinction. Car rental agency Avis conducted a study establishing 10:1 as the formula for a perfect route: ten seconds for the straights, one second in the curve. The test route on the N-222 tops this mark, achieving a ratio of 11:1. The perfect spot to present the Astra Sports Tourer to the press.

In Quinta do Bomfim, Roman Knižka expresses his verdict during the coffee break: “The Sports Tourer is an excellent family car with all the great features it offers. Both of my sons would be fascinated by the subtle technical details, like Wi-Fi connectivity for up to seven devices. It’s just crazy.” There is one detail that particularly caught his attention: “I find that a hatch that automatically opens and closes with the kick of a foot is truly helpful – that’s really smart.”

 

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Pit stop in Quinta do Bomfim: The Symington family estate overlooks the stunning vineyards of the Douro River, and it has been in the hands of the family since 1896. They own 77 hectares of land, of which the vineyards distinctively mark the hillscape at heights of 90 to 350 meters above sea level.

 

 


Three questions for
– Pedro Lazarino –
Product & Pricing Group Manager Compact Cars


Mr. Lazarino, what characteristics of the new Astra Sports Tourer did the journalists focus on the most during the test drives when you launched the vehicle?
To start off, we have the roominess. The new model scores high marks here due to the fact that the overall size virtually hasn’t changed compared to its predecessor. The interior feels roomier, there’s more headroom in the front and legroom in the back. The press also found praise for its handling. Thanks to its lightweight architecture, the car is nearly 190 kilos lighter. And with a new generation of engines, the station wagon is more responsive and peppy.

Why does the region in and around Porto offer a perfect setting for the launch?
The region offers the best possible scenario for test drives, in addition to the stunning beauty of its landscape and the extremely pleasant weather conditions at this time of year.

 

 The route provides a mix of many curves, straights, and inclinations that enable us to demonstrate the vehicle’s fortitudes. It’s fun to drive and it’s economical, which is mainly attributed to a new feature the Astra Sports Tourer offers: a 118 kW/160 hp 1.6 BiTurbo CDTI engine.

How many people are on the Opel team to help out at the launch event?
We came here with a total of 60 people. Our team includes employees from the vehicle’s development and experts in product communication. We are all here to field questions from the journalists from across Europe who are in attendance. The main topics are the powertrain, interior and exterior design, and the safety and driver assistance systems. The event runs from 10 to 24 March, during which we will use around 40 new Astra Sports Tourers for the test drives.


PRESS REVIEWS


auto motor sport

“The Sports Tourer is a comfortable car with agile steering that gives you direct and responsive feedback.”

topgear.com

“Cars like this will basically move half of Britain over the next decade.”

spiegel.de

“It’s so easy to load boxes and suitcases
or just operate the communications electronics.”

 


2016 Opel Astra Sports Tourer


Tradition flanks success – the 10th generation of Opel’s bestselling compact station wagon. Ever since the first Kadett A Caravan rolled off the assembly line in 1963, nearly 5.4 million of the 24 million Opel compact cars in the Kadett and Astra family have been manufactured as station wagons. The newest addition to the Astra family already has more than 130,000 pre-orders for the five-door model and Sports Tourer.

 


March 2016