This is the Opel GTC Paris Concept that will be unwrapped at the Paris Motor Show next month. Much more than just a show car, it previews the three-door hatchback version and the VXR performance flagship of the current Opel/Vauxhall Astra, which made its debut last year as a five-door hatch. A wagon version called Sport Tourer surfaced in June.

This rakish three-door measures 4.46 metres long (slightly longer than the five-door) and the lines on its body is “similar to tendons in a sprinter”. We can see the “Opel signature blade”, a fine crease along the rocker panel, in the same direction as on the Insignia, where this cue first appeared. The five-door hatch and Sport Tourer have theirs in a different direction – back to front.

There’s also another prominent line that shoots from the door handles to the rear of the car; this gives the GTC broad shoulders and wider impression. Opel says that the brushed aluminium upper outline of the glasshouse guides eyes to the integrated spoiler. Of course they had to include LED running lights, and those on the GTC have “wing” motifs.

The concept is realistically powered by a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbo engine with direct injection. As with most new cars in Europe, there’s start/stop tech and a six-speed manual gearbox. Autocar UK says that the production car will debut late next year alongside a VXR range topper, which could have up to 300 bhp and an electronic limited-slip differential – the latter already on the GTC concept.

The GTC and the three-door Renault Megane are examples of carmakers putting in a lot of effort on differentiating their three-door “Sport” models from the regular five-door hatch, instead of just chopping off two doors. More pics after the jump.

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