• Sep 14, 2007
click above image to view high-res gallery of the Opel Flextreme Concept

For those unfamiliar with the suicide-style rear door, it's basically a car door with the hinges located closer to the rear of the car, usually on the C-pillar. The design isn't new, but it recently had a renaissance with cars like the Mazda RX-8 and Rolls-Royce Phantom adopting the unique style.

The rear opening doors will soon be featured on some General Motors products, as revealed by its Vice Chairman Bob Lutz on his blog. GM recently previewed its design, dubbed FlexDoor, on its new Opel Flextreme at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week. Engineers were able to do-away with the center B-pillar, which means opening both doors on a single side of the car leaves one giant opening the size of two doors. This was important because designers learned from focus groups that people, especially those who use child-seats, wanted easier access to the rear compartment.

The Flextreme itself is only a concept and Lutz was coy about when we might see them on a production car, so we suggest you don't hold your breath.

[GM Fastlane Blog via The GM Source]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ok, for a coupe where the suicide doors are small, they seem to work pretty good. But THIS car's suicide doors look big, and it seems to me that the normal configuration works better for full-size doors.

      Example: At a parking lot, in between cars, I think access would be easier in normal configuration. You can't open both doors at the same time in the suicide way. Sometimes its hard enough with the normal configuration b/c cars are parked so close sometimes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      How many family cars out on the road today have suicide doors?
        • 7 Years Ago
        None (unless you consider the Rolls a family car), but it's nothing new.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Prior to 1948 practically every four door sedan built in the USA had the rear door's hinge at the back. The British were building pillarless four door sedans (Alvis and MG) in the thirties. The Italians had pillarless sedans in the fifties. So, suicide doors aren't anything new. The problem with the pillarless sedans (no B post) was the lack of structural support. They simply were too flexible.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh, and to me, a 61 year old man, the MOST BEAUTIFUL, ELEGANT auto ever is the 1961 Lincoln-Continental 4-door convertible........... (I am astounded and ashamed of FOMOCO for what they have done to tha marque!)
      • 7 Years Ago
      I wonder for how long people have been wanting easier access to the rear compartment. I suppose it was only a matter of decades before someone listened.
      • 7 Years Ago
      GM needs to be careful with this one. Associating suicide with any of their products could be, uh-huh, suicide.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Suicide doors are terrible for kids. Just terrible.

      If you stop to drop off your kids at school, they can't just hop out like a normal car. The front door has to be opened, and then the driver needs to open the rear door with the lever in the jam.

      If you are in a crowded parking area, everybody has to get out and stand in the trapped space between the doors and then find a way to close one so you can go forward or backward.

      Don't any of these people actually use cars? Must be the same people that did the 3rd row in the Tahoe. Worst possible design for soccer mom's.
        • 7 Years Ago
        dumbest post so far, this is so untrue, the front doors dont need to be opened to work the back ones, thats on the mazda rx8, on a sedan or true 4 door car, it is just like any other car except the front and rear door handles are closer together on each side, u dont need to pull a lever in a rolls to open the back doors
      • 7 Years Ago
      Good job Lutz. Let's make GM the place for innovation again.
        • 7 Years Ago
        ... Um, just how is it innovative? :P
      • 7 Years Ago
      Although people have a visceral reaction to sliding doors because of their minivan associations, they're darn practical. Can't remember what Euro mini-car has them on the passenger and driver side, but it makes an awful lot of sense.

      Any innovation that allows you better access to a flexible, usable interior space is fine by me.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Peugot 1007 has power sliding doors. Sure, it's goofy, but it's astonishingly functional. I'd love a sedan or wagon with them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You know it's a concept only car when it has a glass roof and suicide doors. In the real world this car would flex over every bump and turn into a pretzel in a crash test due to the lack of structure. The suicide doors look cool but are not practical. Besides all the other things people have mentioned if the car rolls ahead accidentally while you are trying to get in the back seat you get whacked by the door instead of it rolling away from you and in the process can easily be knocked from your feet and end up under the back wheel. There's a safety feature! Imagine them trying to justify in court their use of something commonly known as a suicide door on a family sedan. Glass roofs turn cars into solar powered ovens for their occupants to fry in. These "innovations" are nothing new and are not practical. Which is why they never make it off the auto show turntables.
        • 7 Years Ago
        How is this different than a car with traditional doors accidentally rolling backwards?

        Nothing is idiot proof.
        • 7 Years Ago
        And if the car rolls BACK? That is a pretty poor argument. GM makes cars that have ebrakes and P on their selectors.
          • 7 Years Ago
          Think hoping in the back seat of a cab pulled up to the curb or any other car for that matter with an impatient driver. It happens all the time (especially in the city) and has nothing to do with the transmission or brakes.

          For the sake of arguement if a child was getting into a car with conventional doors and someone decided to backup they would still get knocked down but the car would have to continue quite a distance to roll over them with the front wheels. Not to mention the fact that when backing up you are generally looking backwards so you would hopefully notice a passenger not in the car and the door left open.

          How about when these cars actually hit the road I come pick you up and demonstrate. Then we can go see Elvis performing live at Burger King with Walt Disney on the drums.
        • 7 Years Ago
        If a car were to accidently roll, I guarantee it's forward 90% of the time, very rarely in reverse. When you pick someone up, you're usually not gonna go park in a parking spot.

        Very good points Judy
        • 7 Years Ago
        So agreed!
      • 7 Years Ago
      What's this going to do for side-impact crash test ratings?
      • 7 Years Ago
      all i have to say is morons, door dings, and the triangle of death.
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