From a demand perspective the loss was a great blow with nearly 40,000 units sold in the seven-year production run from 1993-97 with the last full year totalling 3,815 models - more than the Fiat Coup_ (1,638), Ford Probe (2,013), Honda Prelude (1,563) and the Nissan 200SX (909). King-of-the-hill was (and still is) the BMW 3-series with 10,564 sales.
But from a commercial angle, a new chassis and engine line-up for the Vectra meant the Calibra no longer fitted in to Vauxhall's sports car plans. However, waiting in the wings was the new Astra which was a revelation in the handling stakes.
However, Vauxhall's supremacy at the top of the lower medium sector was short-lived with the introduction of the Ford Focus. What the Astra needed, then, was a pick-me-up pill that added a dose of style and charisma. And Vauxhall's answer - albeit two years later - comes in the shape of the new Astra Coup_.
Mirroring the conservative elegance that became a Calibra fort_, the Coup_ has been co-designed with Italian styling house Bertone (who also build it), with a number of subtle tweaks such as the steeper-raked windscreen and lowered, sweeping roof line. Two models are available initially: the Coup_ and 2.2 Bertone Edition Coup_, with the Turbo Coup_ delayed to the autumn. Entry-level versions come with the familiar four-cylinder 1.8-litre ECOTEC engine developing 112bhp.
Debuting in the 2.2 Bertone Edition Coup_ is a lightweight all-aluminium engine producing 144bhp. At the top of the range is the Turbo Coup_ with a 2.0-litre engine based on the 133bhp ECOTEC unit from the Astra and Vectra, but with a power hike to 187bhp. Performance is impressive with a 0-62mph figure of 6.7secs and a top speed of 149mph.
Prices for the Astra Coup_ start at ú16,150 for the 1.8, rising to ú17,650 for the 2.2 tested here and the top Turbo at ú19,995.