1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL
The Opel GT Concept will celebrate its world premiere at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show. This trendsetting sportscar expresses the continuous innovative strength of Opel - breathtaking in its shape, reduced to the bare essentials, pure passion. The thoroughbred athlete with a front mid-engine and rear-wheel drive is a direct descendant of the Opel GT and the Monza Concept and takes Opel's sculptural design philosophy to the next level. The sportscar is avant-garde yet puristic, renounces everything that disturbs the pure form. The GT Concept has no door handles or exterior door mirrors.
"We are taking the next step towards even more emotion and driving pleasure with the Opel GT Concept. The GT Concept shows what Opel stands for now. We are confident, ambitious, innovative and we want win over more customers with every new car," said Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann who is already looking forward to the world premiere in Geneva.
In the best tradition: GT Concept continues philosophy of Opel Experimental GT
The Opel GT Concept will follow in the footsteps of the famous Opel Experimental GT at the Geneva Motor Show. In 1965, only one year after the foundation of the first design studio run by a European car manufacturer, Opel presented this sleek and expressive coupé with the reliable technology of the Kadett B at the Frankfurt Motor Show. However, it was not just innovative because it was the first concept car ever presented by a European manufacturer. The GT already shone with innovations such as retracting headlamps and displayed a slim form along with perfect proportions without unnecessary decoration. The uncompromising concept by Erhard Schnell mainly wanted to be one thing - a design statement. The reactions from the public were so overwhelming that the series production Opel GT was at dealerships only three years later. The rest is history - a success story, an automotive icon.
The GT Concept once again showcases Opel's pioneering spirit. A dynamic driving machine something that is already symbolized by the red signature line that splits the vehicle body horizontally and proportions it. The distinctive red front tires - mounted on rims with a cheeky roller skates design - are reminiscent of the Opel motorbike Motoclub 500 that was also avant-garde at its time and was the proud owner of two red tires in 1928. Apart from that, the GT Concept does not have many links to the past. The long bonnet, the absence of a trunk lid, the central dual exhaust and of course, the name all refer to the original GT. Apart from that the Opel GT Concept is independent with no sign of retro-design.
"We created the GT Concept to capture the bold, emotional spirit of the Opel brand. It is dramatic, sculptural and full of innovations, which is our great tradition that we intend to continue. Back in 1965, Opel developed the Experimental GT, a thoroughly modern vehicle that also boasted a pure sculptural shape. It's certainly difficult to reinvent an icon but just as the Experimental GT was avant-garde back then, so too is this GT Concept today - absolutely pure, minimalistic, yet bold and uncompromising. This coupé impressively demonstrates the continuous development of our Design philosophy - 'Sculptural Artistry meets German precision'," said Mark Adams, Vice President, Design Europe.
A key innovation of the Opel GT Concept are the large doors with the integrated side windows that show a seamless transition from glass to painted surfaces. Both the driver and the front passenger gain access to the unexpectedly spacious interior after pressing the touchpad for the electric doors that is integrated in the red signature line of the roof. Even tall drivers have enough room inside. The doors immerse considerably into the front wheel arches when opened. This space-saving and patented mounting allows a large opening angle - particularly in relatively tight parking spaces. The compact athlete is therefore optimized especially for urban areas. Two cameras mounted behind the wheel arches ensure a safe overview while driving in the city. They transmit their images to two monitors on the left and right-hand side of the cockpit - the days of exterior door mirrors and blind spots are therefore over. The windshield flows into a glass panorama roof enabling the occupants to enjoy a driving experience similar to that offered by a targa with a removable roof.
Real sportscar: Front mid-engine, turbocharged and rear-wheel drive
The stretched hood reveals the powertrain concept of the Opel GT Concept: Just like the first Opel GT and US sportscar icon Corvette also made by GM it has a front mid-engine. The vehicle's center of gravity is therefore low and central - ideal for sporty handling and excellent cornering dynamics. The Opel GT Concept has a powerful 1.0-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine based on the ultra-modern all-aluminum engine used in ADAM, Corsa and Astra. The extremely efficient direct injection gasoline unit develops 107 kW/145 hp and maximum torque of 205 Nm in its sporty trim (consumption values for the Opel GT Concept are not available yet). The turbo power is sent towards the rear axle with mechanical differential lock via a sequential six-speed transmission that is operated by shift paddles on the steering wheel. Thus, the Opel GT Concept possess traditional rear-wheel drive especially appreciated by sportscar purists. The performance of the two-seater with a total weight below 1,000 kilograms also matches this. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in less than eight seconds and has a top speed of 215 km/h.
A further highlight of the Opel GT Concept are the main headlamps with integrated indicators. Thanks to ultra-modern projection technology, these shine very three-dimensionally. The next generation adaptive full LED light is obviously the perfect match for this technology. The Opel IntelliLux LED® matrix light, which allows glare-free high beam driving, already made its debut in the new Astra in 2015 and won the SAFETYBEST Award. The Opel GT Concept sees the introduction of the next stage of development of the intelligent light system. The design of the lights is rounded off by the three-dimensional design of the tail lamps that make the new GT distinctive at night.
via AutocarA Whole New World: Opel GT Concept Shows Visionary Interior
Central themes: Symbiosis of human and machine along with digital connectivity
Pure elegance and athleticism: Sculptural design with sophisticated details
Buttonless: Operation only via touchpad and voice control
Artificial Intelligence: Self-learning HMI system recognizes driver's preferences
Rüsselsheim. This dream car impresses with both its exterior and its interior values: The Opel GT Concept shows what a popular sportscar of the future will look like – puristic and breathtaking alike. The coupé will celebrate its world premiere at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show (March 3 to 13). Visitors will initially be able to admire its sculptural shape. Then they can imagine taking the well-trained athlete out of the city on to the next alpine pass and enjoying its dynamism in every hairpin. Beyond its stunning exterior, the Opel designers have also created an interior that perfectly blends typical cues from a sports coupé and futuristic solutions for the human/machine interface. Everything in the GT Concept is ready for the pure pleasure of an exciting drive. The two sports seats fit like a tailor-made suit, the steering wheel and the pedals can be adjusted electrically down to the last millimeter, the low beltline of the doors enables a casual arm position, colors and shapes create a perfect spatial feeling and the sky above the panorama roof races by. Human and machine become one.
However, nothing distracts the driver and the front passenger from the essential. The interior is just as puristic as the exterior. The instrument panel of the GT Concept made from brushed aluminum visually enhances the lightweight construction (the overall weight remains below 1,000 kg) and seems to float in front of the occupants. It is, however, a structural member between the slim A-pillars of the windshield – here structure becomes sculpture. Opel's design philosophy "Sculptural artistry meets German precision" continues throughout the interior. Just like the attention to detail: Round monitors are embedded in the outer aluminum air jets with the polished GT emblem. The monitors capture the vehicle's environment and replace side door mirrors. The shining red seatbelt retractors are also works of art and follow the design of the red front tires. The steering wheel with its spoke design pays homage to the legendary Opel GT from the 1960s and 1970s.
True mate: The GT Concept anticipates the driver's every wish
Elsewhere, buttons cannot be found anywhere. The sportscar is operated purely by voice control and a central touchpad. Experts refer to the control concept of the car as Human Machine Interface (HMI). The Opel concept car comes with a revolutionary HMI. In the GT Concept the adaptive system is waiting to get to know the driver and adapt to his or her needs. The car thus adjusts itself to the driver and not the other way round. This results in a dialogue during which the car answers in a charming voice and can for example chose the right music, route or temperature according to the situation. The Opel HMI is like a friend on the passenger seat – it recognizes whether hip-hop or chill-out is wanted. In order to always spontaneously offer the most appropriate support, the software learns from every command, every touch of the steering wheel and every setting over days, months and years. A similar approach is already known from self-learning adaptive automatic transmissions. They adapt to the style of the respective driver with either sporty or economic gearshifts. The adaptive HMI is a holistic approach and shows that vehicle operation seen in science-fiction movies is slowly becoming reality.
The instruments also reflect the atmosphere in the Opel GT Concept. If the driver has had a stressful day and wants to surf through the menus without saying a word, he just needs to reach for the round touchpad on the center stack, from where he can easily operate all functions. The two classically inspired round instruments are actually projection surfaces that can be backlit in different colors and display a variety of information three-dimensionally – a further development of the system shown in the 2013 Opel Monza Concept. Rpms and speed are always clearly visible on the left whereas the information shown on the right instrument can be configured individually.
If the GT Concept is cruising along on a business trip, while permanently connected to the office or the client, the right instrument facilitates navigation with an intuitive graphic without any numerical values; when under time pressure, it displays consumption. When the mood changes because the end of the working day is nearing and the driver fancies cornering at speed, the accelerator, transmission and engine control are optimized accordingly and the right-hand instrument even displays the g-force values of the longitudinal acceleration.
The car may then even speak out and issue a warning such as: "Be careful. Don't overlook the motorcycle behind us!" After all, the GT Concept keeps a close eye on the traffic situation - and does not just adapt to the driver's tastes and moods, but also to the exterior conditions to also enhance safety. Instead of side door mirrors, the GT Concept relies on cameras mounted behind the front wheel arches to show what is happening behind and next to the car. The images are transmitted to round monitors to the left and right of the driver. In addition, the large central screen displays all desired information. The adaptive Opel HMI is more than just a good friend – it is an additional on-board guardian angel.
Comment - is Vauxhall serious about sports cars?
It’s too easy to conclude that Vauxhall-Opel will never build a front-engined, rear-drive sports car, such as the latest GT Concept, just because the company doesn’t currently have a suitable platform with a front-mounted engine that drives the rear wheels.
Look through Vauxhall-Opel’s past products and you’ll find several that made production even though there didn’t seem to be the right supporting infrastructure. The company has displayed a continuing penchant for sports cars and has been extremely resourceful about finding ways to get them built.
The most unlikely of recent times was the transverse mid-engined Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster, which was an expensive - and expansive - reworking of the Lotus Elise produced by Lotus at Hethel. The company decided its image for humdrum car design needed improvement and the VX lasted five years.
Even more recent was Opel’s second-generation GT, a badge-engineered, US-made Pontiac Solstice (itself a last-ditch attempt by Bob Lutz to spice up the Pontiac brand). It was a decent enough car, although Germany’s discerning buyers never really took to it.
Still, my point is that today’s car makers - Vauxhall-Opel high among them - can make unusual cars happen if they’re determined enough; witness Fiat’s deal to produce a 124 Spider that is actually a Mazda MX-5 underneath.
Vauxhall-Opel bosses say they will be “gauging reaction” to the GT at Geneva. Strikes me that unless they had the glimmer of a plan for production, they wouldn’t bother.
Q&A with Mark Adams, Vauxhall-Opel design director
Why did you decide to build a sports car?
“The project’s origins go back to the 50th anniversary event we held at the Rüsselsheim design department. We had an Opel GT on display and we were all struck by how small and simple cars were 50 years ago. We decided to see if we could strike the same kind of simplicity and compactness again while meeting modern needs.”
You say you’ll be judging reaction to it at Geneva. Given you don’t have a front-engined, rear-drive platform, why would you bother?
“Even if we don’t build this car exactly as it stands, there’s plenty in it we might use in other applications. There are lots of emotional forms and connections in this car, and we’ll be interested to see which ones people like.”
Is there a sense that now SUVs are commonplace, emotional cars can make a comeback?
“There’s definitely some of that. SUVs continue to be extremely important, but there’s also a growing tendency in modern life for consumers to want to get back to a greater level of simplicity. Today’s cars are very complex, but we wanted this one to take simplicity and light weight to the next level.
Why the special door design?
“It’s an extension of our simplicity theme. I was keen to find a layout that meant we’d only have one cut-line for the door. We came up with a system where the door is quite large, but the hinge becomes a fulcrum, so part of the door goes inside the wheel arch as it opens. It works really well. The doors open wide in confined spaces, and they allow very good ingress/egress.”
Does the simplicity theme continue inside the car?
“It does. We’ve used exactly the same principles and made a big effort to free the car from clutter. It’s small, but it delivers a great feeling of openness and space.”