Vauxhall and Opel will reveal their vision of the future sports car with the GT Concept at this year’s Geneva motor show in March.
Beneath the stretched bonnet is a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged engine, based on the all-aluminium unit used in the ADAM, Corsa and Astra. Developing 144 bhp and maximum torque of 151 lb-ft, the engine delivers drive to the rear wheels, via a six-speed sequential transmission operated by steering-wheel mounted paddle shift. Weighing under 1000 kgs, the GT Concept is claimed to accelerate from 0-62 mph in less than eight seconds and on to a maximum speed of 134 mph.
While the GT Concept is forward-thinking, encapsulating Brit designer Mark Adams’ philosophy of ‘Sculptural Artistry meets Technical Precision’, its name mirrors that of the 1964 GT Concept, the first styling model to be produced by the nascent Vauxhall Design & Engineering Centre in Luton which opened the same year.
‘GT Concept’ was the name originally given to a full-sized styling model, the first of its kind from Vauxhall’s new-for-1964, £2.25m Design & Engineering Centre in Luton.
Vauxhall says the new design study also pays homage to two motor show cars of yesteryear: the 1966 Vauxhall XVR and the 1965 Opel Experimental GT, said to be the first true concept vehicles to appear from the design houses of a European manufacturer.
“We created the GT Concept to capture the bold, emotional spirit of both the Vauxhall and Opel brands,” said Adams. “It is dramatic, sculptural and full of innovations, which is our great tradition that we intend to continue. In the mid-Sixties, Vauxhall and Opel created their own interpretations of a light-weight sports car – the XVR and the Experimental GT – both of which were thoroughly modern with dynamic sculptural forms. It’s certainly difficult to reinvent iconic concepts like these, but just as each was avant-garde back then, so too is this GT Concept today – absolutely pure, minimalistic, yet bold and uncompromising. This coupe impressively demonstrates the continuous development of our design philosophy.”
A key feature of the new GT Concept is its large doors with integrated side windows that show a seamless transition from glass to painted surfaces. Both driver and front passenger gain access to the interior after pressing a touchpad for the electric doors that is integrated in the red signature line of the roof. The doors open into the front arches, using a new patented mounting system that allows a large opening angle for tight parking spaces in urbanised areas. Two cameras mounted behind the wheel arches are said to offer enhanced visibility, transmitting their images to two monitors on the left- and right-hand side of the cabin, thus making external mirrors redundant. The windscreen flows into a glass panorama roof, which the designers say gives occupants a similar experience to that of a targa-topped car.
In an attempt to reinforce its appeal to driving enthusiasts, the car also carries a red signature line that splits the vehicle body horizontally and proportions it. The distinctive red tyres – mounted on rims with a ‘roller-skate’ design – are a reference to an Opel motorbike from the 1920s – the Motoclub 500 – which sported red-coloured rubber.