Monza concept signals new design direction for Opel/Vauxhall

  • 23-Sep-2013 09:00 EDT
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The Opel Monza concept is a four-seater designed with access and rear-seat comfort for adults.

“It starts with the sketch. You have to have the killer sketch,” explained General Motors Europe Vice President of Design Mark Adams, unveiling the Monza concept ahead of its official unveiling at the 2013 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show. The concept took its name from the large four-seat coupe that Opel produced in the late 1970s.

Like that car, the new Monza concept is a four-seater but designed to offer comfortable rear-seat headroom. Adams himself is around 6 ft, 4 in (1.93 m) tall and demonstrated the ease of entry to the rear seats, under the wing doors, and the amount of rear headroom, despite the coupe roofline.

A 1970s car may have been the inspiration for the name, but Adams also emphasized the influence of 1960s design. “We wanted the clean surface of 1960s cars,” he said—and also pointed to the way the design tapers inwards toward the base as another 1960s design feature.

Malcolm Ward, Director of Exterior Design for Opel/Vauxhall continued the story. “The car itself has this really nice barrel surfacing to the whole of the body side. '60s cars basically had one plan view, and certainly in the new generation there’s a lot more ‘coke bottle’ and surface movement in both directions, and I think that’s what this really illustrates. Also the ‘60s reference is to the simplicity of the line work and the forms, and I think we’ve married that really nicely with some strong sculpture.

“We said we wanted to create a four-seat coupe with some real functionality, that was the initial thinking. We wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just a four-seat coupe that had no reference. The interior room is pretty similar to an Insignia's. It needed to be a product that was perceived as a flagship. Then we wanted to use this as an opportunity to give an outlook of how we are evolving 'sculptural artistry'"—Opel/Vauxhall’s design language.

“I think this car exudes dynamism, it looks very athletic and muscular without being aggressive like a 100-m runner. It’s a harmony of the overall surfacing in conjunction with some of the plan views and ‘coke bottle’ that gives it this strong, lithe, but elegant and dynamic appearance. I would say that is quite typical for quite a few of the Opel products. For instance, Astra GTC and even the Zafira Tourer. If you look at the Zafira Tourer compared to all the other vans, it’s a very functional product but it has a certain sporty feel about it.”

Ward also highlighted the exterior surfacing: “There’s some really strong shadow and light and normally you can only do that with edges and dramatic surface change. Here it does it in a very subtle way. It’s just a really nice strong rolling surface.”

On the interior, Ward highlighted the wing graphic that flows into the instrument panel and the doors: “You have the same thing here, but it’s done in a different way. The second part is how we have got all the 3D sculptured surfacing into the infotainment and HMI, which is a world first.”

The Monza concept instrument panel is a continuous screen, which flows across the width of the car, using LED projection graphics to achieve its effects. The continuous screen can display instruments in front of the driver, and navigation, other vehicle functions, as well as entertainment can be displayed on different parts of the instrument panel.

The display area and background can be individually configured and operated via voice control and steering wheel controls.

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