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This sedan version of the latest Opel Astra has made its debut in China as the Buick Excelle GT, following the debut of the five-door hatchback Astra (Excelle XT) at the Guangzhou Motor Show late last year. Buick is a very strong brand in China, a marque that people aspire to own, which explains why GM is using it to market the Astra in China. Before this, the Buick Excelle name was given to the car we know as the Chevrolet Optra.

The Excelle sedan managed the transformation from hatchback to booted car quite well, and looks sleek enough to sit on the same table as bigger brother Buick Regal (Opel Insignia) without getting embarrassed. The front end gets a large waterfall grille with lots of chrome, which is a Buick trademark. The side profile of the car reminds me of a Nissan Sylphy, but with more sculpturing and angle for the glasshouse.

Of all the Euro C-segment hatchbacks, the Astra is the biggest of the lot; for the sedan, its wheelbase is lengthened by 70 mm to make 2,685 mm, which competes well with rivals like the Honda Civic and Nissan Sylphy at 2,700 mm.

Like in the the hatchback, the top line engine here is a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder with 181 bhp and 235 Nm of torque available from 1,980 rpm to 5,400 rpm. An overboost function raises max twist to 266 Nm for five seconds under full throttle. The milder option is a normally aspirated 1.8-litre with 138 bhp. A six-speed auto is standard. The 1.8L engine and six speeder should be the same combo used in the Chevrolet Cruze, which we hear will be launched in Malaysia this week. The Cruze also sits on the same modern Delta II platform of the Excelle/Astra.

Shanghai GM, which will start selling the Excelle GT on June 23, hasn’t released a full photo set, but a Chinese website managed to snap the car completely uncovered. Gallery is after the jump.

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