GM Opel's brand new fifth-generation Astra hatchback is the first vehicle in its class (C-segment) to make use of electronically adjustable dampers.

The dampers, produced by ZF Sachs and known as CDC (Continuous Damping Control) will be available as an option with most engines and trim levels and are expected to be fitted to up to 10% of total Astra production, an insider told just-auto.

ZF Sachs's CDC dampers, elsewhere known as the Skyhook system, already equip a number of vehicles in the upper segments, including the Audi A8, BMW 7-series, Lancia Thesis, Maserati 3200GT, Volkswagen Phaeton and Volkswagen Touareg.

The dampers use inputs from sensors around the vehicle to instantaneously adjust their characteristics from comfort to sports, in real time. In the Astra, a 'sport' switch allows the driver to select a firmer ride, which at the same time sharpens the throttle, automatic gearchange and steering responses.

ZF Sachs' new production facility is now able to supply up to a million dampers per annum, in readiness for the expected new business from the Astra and other new vehicles.

Mark Wilkinson