The world premiere of Opel's GTC concept in Geneva
has given us a glimpse into what will come out of GM's European division in the near future. The coupé's interior and exterior design language has more presence than current Opel/Vauxhall models, seemingly taking some angular design cues from its Cadillac cousin.
So far we're impressed. Though the stylish four seat coupé isn't an over the top design exercise, it does provide a good indication of what to expect of future 'lightning bolt' (or griffin) badged products. While the production models will shed the 20-inch wheels and matte grey finish, the trapezoidal grille will become the centrepiece of the new brand identity and will likely appear on the new Vectra due later this year.
The GTC concept's aggressive front end is emphasised by large aluminium vertical intakes that intersect the headlamps, elements that are mimicked in the rear exhaust outlets. The inclusion of LED lighting in the front and rear lamps propose a signature illumination graphic when the car prowls around at night. Outboard LED vertical driving lamps were also designed to communicate power and strength, while a rear diffuser is tucked beneath the rear bumper and an integrated bootlid spoiler.
Under the skin, the four-seat coupé is powered by a 2.8-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine claimed to create 300bhp and a maximum 295lb.ft of torque. Acceleration to 62mph is estimated to take six seconds and the car is alleged to reach a limited 155mph top speed. A six-speed manual transmission driving an electronically-controlled four-wheel drive system (with a rear bias) transmits power to the road.
The Opel GTC concept's interior is also a reflection of the carmaker's forthcoming brand identity. The interior shapes and surfaces are specifically designed to enhance driver ergonomics, with the dashboard top-pad flowing from the instrument panel to the door, enveloping the passenger compartment. Matte ebony surfaces are contrasted with high-gloss 'piano black' décor finish and aluminium accents, revealing the new Opel/Vauxhall aesthetics. Four round instrument gauges, encircled by translucent rings, are backlit in red, replacing the brand's traditional amber tones and communicating the added presence of the concept.
Seating is recessed into the structure for a more 'integrated' feeling for both front and rear occupants. The instrument panel is specifically designed to optimise outward visibility and provide a sense of space, an effect strengthened by its dark upper section and contrasting light lower section. Opel designers wanted to illustrate that a sleek coupé roofline need not hinder space or headroom. Despite the concept's flat roof, rear headroom is 920mm, largely attributed to the low mounted twin rear seats.
A unique "Flex4" system moves the backs of both rear seats forward and docks them separately to the front seats by remote control to optimise usability. The car can be transformed into a spacious three or two-seater with a flat load floor and up to 1020 litres of luggage compartment capacity, more than double the space afforded with the rear seats in place.
It's unlikely that the GTC will make production unchanged, but hopefully the new Vectra shares the concept's styling and stance.
Eric Gallina - 9 Mar 2007