By Ronan Glon
Wednesday, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:06 am
 

General Motors' Opel division has fully unveiled the new Cascada, a four-seater convertible that could make its way to the United States as a Buick.

When viewed from the front, the Cascada clearly borrows styling cues from the Astra hatchback but it features a more aggressive bulged hood. The convertible was designed to move Rüsselsheim-based Opel upmarket to better compete with the likes of the Audi A5 and the BMW 3-Series. As such, it spans nearly 3 inches longer than the A5.

Unlike the Astra Twin Top, Opel's last convertible, the Cascada uses a fully insulated cloth roof that deploys in 17 seconds at the press of a button even if the convertible is moving at up to 30 mph.

Most of the Cascada's interior is carried over from the compact Astra but it is built with better materials and to higher standards. The seats are upholstered in Nappa leather and are both heated and ventilated while the seatbelts are mounted on an electric extender which brings them within the reach of the front passengers. Electric power steering and an electric parking brake both come standard.

To woo buyers in the crowded premium segment, the Cascada is offered with Opel's Adaptive Forward Lighting system, Traffic Sign Recognition and Adaptive Cruise Control.

When it goes on sale across Europe early next year, the Cascada will be offered with a single turbodiesel four-banger and two gasoline-burning engines, including Opel's all-new 1.6-liter SIDI ECOTEC mill. Linked to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, it sends 170 horsepower and a maximum of 206 lb-ft. of torque to the front wheels. Opel promises that more engines will be added to the lineup before the end of 2013.

Buick-bound?

The Cascada has reportedly been earmarked for North America under GM's Buick division. Buick hasn't had a factory-built convertible in the modern era, although it did preview a rather Cascada-looking concept car several years ago called Velite.

If the Cascada makes it to North America, it's possible that Buick will choose to retain its nameplate. For this market, we'd expect to see GM's new 2.5-liter four-cylinder as a base engine with its 2.0-liter turbocharged four powering higher-spec models. A version of the automaker's HiPer front strut system, which reduces torque steer, is also likely to be included.

Live images by Ronan Glon.