The Opel GT Concept will make its public debut at the 86th Geneva International Motor Show from March the 3rd, representing the next step in the resurgence of Opel.
To do this, Opel has gone back to their roots in a past-meets-future sports car concept that melds the iconic Opel Experimental GT concept of 1965 with the Opel Monza concept of 2013, with the added flare of a few other historic Opel products.
Where the 1965 Experimental GT was based on the underpinnings of the Kadett B in both concept and production form, the new Opel GT concept is completely bespoke; yet it retains the same front mid-engined, rear-wheel drive configuration of the original.
Like the 1965 concept, the Opel GT concept relies on a low-displacement engine to do the dirty work of putting it in motion. Where the original production GT boasted a 1.1-litre inline 4-cylinder engine, the engine of choice in its modern counterpart is a similarly sized 1.0-litre powerplant. The three-cylinder, turbocharged motor is the same as the one found in the ADAM, Corsa, and soon-to-arrive Astra K, but in this application tuned to deliver 107kW and 205Nm.
Power goes to the rear wheels through a 6-speed sequential transmission, operated via paddles mounted on the steering wheel. But while 107kW may seem paltry, a total weight of less than 1 000Kg ensures that the GT is capable of a 0-100km/h sprint time of less than 8 seconds with a top speed of 215km/h.
Despite being the lighthouse for future Opels to find their way into being, the Opel GT concept takes large amounts of its design influence from the original Experimental GT concept.
A long, low bonnet and a sharp nose accentuate its sporting heritage, whilst flared wheel arches give the Opel GT concept a squat stance, also harking back to the original. The rear of the concept features dual centrally mounted exhausts, just like the original, and displays a GT logo that doesn’t try too hard to hide its roots.
Like the original, the Opel GT concept doesn’t feature side mirrors (rear-facing cameras are integrated into the flared wheel arches, which transmit to interior-mounted displays on either side of the cabin), items that would “disturb the pure form”. For that reason, the doors are devoid of handles too.
But amidst the sleek, clean lines and throwback elements, Opel hasn’t forgotten to have a bit of fun. The red tyres hark back to the Opel Motoclub 500 motorbike of 1928, but are fitted to roller-skate design allow wheels to add a light-hearted element to the concept’s design.
“Sculptural Artistry meets German precision” – that’s the design philosophy according to Mark Adams, Opel’s European vice president of design.
In addition to the rear-view cameras and aluminium engine, Opel are packing the Opel GT concept with the latest technology the brand has to offer. Three-dimensional appearing headlamps with integrated indicators boast the latest full-LED technology, including the next generation of Opel’s IntelliLux LED matrix system.
Additionally, the red line that runs the length of the Opel GT concept comprises a touch pad which opens the handle-less doors by means of a unique, patented mounting system that hinges into the front wheel-arch area. Opel claims this allows easy in- and egress, even for taller occupants, in tight parking spaces due to a wide angle of opening.
Should it see production – which if the public reception is as good as it was the first time Opel displayed a GT concept, it will – the Opel GT will take aim at the likes of the Mazda MX-5 (Miata), and Fiat 124 in its base trims, with the hope that more powerful variants will arrive to take the fight to the Audi TT and Peugeot RCZ sports coupes.
With the Opel GT concept, Opel CEO, Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann says they “are taking the next step towards even more emotion and driving pleasure. 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”.
History of the Opel Experimental GT:
The 1965 Opel Experimental GT concept made history at the 1965 Geneva International Motor Show – it was the first ever European concept car to be designed and built in-house by a manufacturer. Previously, concepts had been designed and manufactured by coachbuilders upon the platforms of other vehicles.
The Experimental GT was originally developed to be a ‘high-performance laboratory on wheels’ for the testing of chassis and engine components, but it created such a stir at the 1965 Geneva Motor Show, that 3 years later, Opel released a production version – making it the first European production car to go into series production.
The Experimental GT’s ‘Coke Bottle Shape’ styling had a firm focus on aerodynamic efficiency. The sleek front end with retractable headlamps and the tapered flanks were key design elements that also boasted elements of aerodynamic functionality.
The Experimental GT would prove to be an iconic design and a vehicle that influenced Opel for years to come.