Opel is apparently testing an independent suspension for the rear axle to push it on the same level of safety and comfort as its main rival, the Volkswagen Golf.

The most important part about the mid-life facelift of the Opel Astra is not the re-designed chrome bar flanking the logo. It’s also not the slightly modified air-intakes below the headlights. And it’s not the wanna-be single-frame grille or the shining stripes, and neither the re-shaped black spoiler underneath the front bumper. The most important part is actually not at all to be found at the front of the car!

As can be seen on the two pictures of the golden car, Opel is apparently testing an independent suspension for the rear axle to push it on the same level of safety and comfort as its main rival, the Volkswagen Golf. We’re guessing the current semi-independent suspension will give way for a somewhat more modern system, though we doubt Opel will go all the way to a four-link rear suspension as used in the Golf. While engines will be the same for the second half of the Astra’s life, we expect a slight upgrade of the interior. The car will go on sale in spring 2007.

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SPY PHOTOS: Opel Astra Facelift