Vauxhall’s Monza Concept, the first car to feature LED projection infotainment and an evolution of the Ampera’s powertrain, is set for its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.
“The Monza Concept represents the Opel/Vauxhall car of tomorrow,” said Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, Opel/Vauxhall CEO. “On one hand, it embodies everything that already characterises Opel/Vauxhall – precision engineering combined with innovative technologies wrapped in captivating design. In addition, it addresses the themes that will be the development-focus of the next generation of Opel/Vauxhall cars: maximum connectivity and optimum efficiency.”
“The Monza Concept is based on increasing electrification of the automobile in everyday driving, from range-extender to fuel cell. And as far as styling is concerned, we are expressing pure efficiency in a new, lean and athletic interpretation of our typical sculptural shapes. The Monza Concept is nothing less than our vision of the automotive future.”
The original Monza made its world premiere at the IAA back in 1977 for Vauxhall’s sister company Opel: it was a large coupé with a six-cylinder engine. It went into production as the Vauxhall Royale in the UK, and was sold until 1982.
The new Monza Concept has a bonnet with the distinctive centre fold that continues the tradition of the Monza front with the typical Vauxhall crease. The large boomerang-shaped air intakes in front of the wheel arches are designed to complement the chrome bar that holds the Griffin badge.
The design team, led by Brit Mark Adams, have tried to introduce a new interpretation of the sculptural design that first went into production with the Insignia.
“This is the next bold step along our journey into the future, but at the same time we show that we have established a consistent design in which people can build trust,” said Mark Adams, Head of Opel/Vauxhall Design.
The surfaces of the 4.69 metre-long, four seat Monza Concept are modelled after ocean waves lapping on the shore say the designers. These flowing surfaces are fashioned to give a look of lightness, underlined by the side-sills that taper off in front of the rear wheel arches. This particular styling element is inspired by the lean physique and slim waist of a greyhound dog! The design of the car’s body sides enables easy entry and egress for front and rear-seat passengers, while underscoring the prominent rear wheel arches, which share the same width as those at the front.
The Concept’s roof line is particularly interesting. At first it runs in a semi-circular form like a traditional coupé’s, but then just before reaching the tailgate it sweeps slightly upwards. In spite of its sporty look and flat silhouette with a height of just 1.31 metres, there is neither loss of space in the luggage compartment – 500 litres in volume – nor constrained headroom for the passengers claims Vauxhall. This is largely due to the fact that the whole cockpit structure is around 15 centimetres lower than in conventional models. The Monza aims to offer the same passenger compartment space as a mid-size car.
The expansive gull-wing doors swing up and offer an unobstructed view of the open passenger cabin (or the surroundings from the inside) thanks to the absence of a B-pillar.
On the inside, the Monza offers a preview of connectivity-themed developments that will feature in the next generation of Vauxhall cars.
The internal dashboard features advanced LED projection technology. Drivers no longer find the conventional individual, separate monitors that display different information; instead, they face a wide, sculpted dashboard that sweeps from door to door, and is used as a single projection surface. Information and decorative elements are displayed on the surface, which the driver can customise according to his needs, taste or mood.
A total of 18 LED projectors create a continuous, adaptable multi-functional display – the first car in the world to feature this states Vauxhall. The 3D graphics reflect all important functions from precise vehicle and driver information to internet and communication options as well as decorative elements. Both the area displaying information and the background can be individually configured, and operation is via voice control and steering wheel controls.
With three worlds of connectivity – called ME, US and ALL – drivers can focus solely on their driving experience, or get in touch with friends and family or even connect to the whole internet community. With ME the infotainment system virtually disconnects the drivers’ smartphone and prioritises the information relevant for the driving experience. US enables the passengers of the Monza Concept to connect with a group of selected people such as friends and family members: these can log-in to the car’s infotainment system with their own communication device and exchange information, music and images, chat and make appointments, etc. ALL goes beyond US. It allows the driver and virtually the whole outside world to connect. Drivers can for example spontaneously share their planned route online over a tablet or smartphone so that people can catch a ride with them along the way – enabling a new kind of instant car-sharing.
The sensor and connectivity technology in the Monza also gives a preview of the advancements in “Car-to-Car” and “Car-to-X” systems – prerequisites for future autonomous driving and areas in which the research department at Opel/Vauxhall is already working.
Based on a modular design, a variety of powertrains are available. For the Monza Concept set to be displayed at Frankfurt, engineers conceived an electric drive with a CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) range extender – a further development of the Ampera’s technology. The new-generation three-cylinder 1.0 SIDI turbo – which also makes its premiere at Frankfurt – takes over the task as range extender. But it does so with natural gas instead of petrol.
“We have a clear vision of how Opel/Vauxhall cars will be in the future, and we have a clear strategy of how we will achieve this goal. The Monza Concept gives this strategy an unmistakable identity,” said Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “It embodies what our customers can expect from us within the next years, not only in terms of design, but also in terms of efficiency and connectivity between drivers and the internet community. So it already anticipates future everyday automotive life, and serves as an important source of inspiration on the road to that destination.”