We've seen lots of ways for an automaker to unveil a new car. They can do it online, at a special event, at an auto show. They can show us sketches and spy shots, they can give us a full array of photos, or they can make it all a big surprise when they pull back the sheet live in person. But this has got to be a new one: Opel has given us our first look at its latest concept car via hologram.
Well, not quite. It's not like we're looking at the hologram right now. What we're looking at is a picture of a hologram, ostensibly generated by an iPad held by Opel/Vauxhall's design chief Mark Adams. But that's not the point: the point is that GM's European and British subsidiaries will be unveiling this new concept next week in Geneva, and we won't need a hologram or an iPad to see it.
The show car is called the Zafira Tourer Concept, and serves as a preview for the next generation of minivan based on the Corsa. It's one of several new debuts for Opel at the European expo, joining the production Ampera (the overseas version of the Chevy Volt) and facelifted versions of both the Antara crossover and Corsa hatchback. We'll be on hand to see them up close and personal, but for now we've placed the press release after the jump for all those interested.
NEW ZAFIRA CONCEPT HEADS UP VAUXHALL'S GENEVA STARS
* New Zafira Tourer Concept makes world debut
* Ready to go – world premier of Ampera production car
* Re-designed Antara and Corsa make show debut
* New Astra ecoFLEX Start/Stop heads up low-CO2 model offerings
Geneva/Luton – Vauxhall's stunning Zafira Tourer Concept will head up a long list of new and revised models at next week's Geneva Show, including the first production version of the groundbreaking Ampera, which goes on sale in Britain at the start of 2012.
ZAFIRA TOURER CONCEPT RECEIVES GENEVA PREMIERE
Giving the strongest hint yet at what the next Zafira may look like, the Zafira Tourer Concept combines "lounge-on-wheels" luxury with the same high degree of flexibility the Zafira name has become synonymous with over the last 12 years.
Official images and information will be issued on Friday, February 25, a few days before the show opens, but in the meantime, Mark Adams, Vauxhall/Opel's Vice President of Design, had this to say:
"We have transferred the idea of a relaxing lounge to a vehicle and created an automobile oasis, a place to relax and enjoy. The Zafira Tourer Concept's exterior design also makes a bold statement with its sleek, flowing lines and premium feel."
PRODUCTION-READY AMPERA STARS AT GENEVA
* On sale in UK early next year
* Sub-£30k OTR
* Addition of four drive modes make Ampera the most complete EV package available
UK buyers will get a tantalising first glimpse of a production-ready Vauxhall Ampera at next week's Geneva Motor Show, ahead of its appearance in British showrooms at the start of next year.
Costing just £28,995*, the Vauxhall Ampera will be the first Extended-Range Electric Vehicle to hit UK roads and will give customers the unrivalled potential of emissions-free motoring combined with the real-world usability offered by its range-extender generator, allowing a total range of over 350 miles. In addition, British buyers of the four-seat, five-door E-REV will benefit from zero VED, TLF congestion charge exemption and company car tax of just five per cent.
With 150PS and 370Nm of torque, the Ampera will be no slouch either, achieving 0-60mph in nine seconds and a top speed of 100mph.
Showcasing the exceptional quality and equipment levels buyers can expect when they see the car in Vauxhall showrooms next year, the production Ampera also introduces a unique system of drive modes which enhances its real-world, everyday driveability still further.
Via a 'Drive Mode' button on the dashboard, drivers can choose between Normal (default), Sport, Mountain or Hold modes to optimise the car's energy management depending on prevailing driving and road conditions. In Normal mode, the Ampera employs the charge provided from a normal household outlet to travel up to 50 emission-free miles powered by its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery – suitable for a majority of average, 40-mile commutes. When the battery's energy level drops below its minimum charge point, the engine-generator kicks in to supply electricity to the electric motor, enabling extended range travel. Regenerative braking will sustain the charge still further.
Boosting performance still further, Sport mode improves throttle response, while Mountain mode enables the range-extender to run before the battery reaches its minimum state of charge. Drivers select this mode after a full charge, or 10 to 15 minutes before entering mountainous terrain, allowing optimum performance up sustained inclines.
Combined with Hold mode, which engages the range-extender immediately, preserving charge stored in the battery for urban areas or restricted emission zones, the Drive Modes allow Ampera customers to use their cars in a wide range of driving situations, with no disadvantage over a car using conventional power.
"The Ampera is currently the only real-world solution for everyday driving," said Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall's Managing Director. "This will be the first car in Britain to successfully combine a revolutionary propulsion system, progressive styling, excellent safety and superb driving dynamics."
*After £5,000 government Plug-In Grant
ePioneers and Katie Melua eagerly await Ampera's arrival
Over 100 'ePioneers' have joined the www.vauxhall-ampera.com community as potential customers. They receive exclusive information and services and will be among the first to take the Ampera for a test drive. The Ampera has also caught the attention of Vauxhall/Opel brand ambassador, Katie Melua, who is currently travelling with the E-REV groundbreaker on her European tour. "I like the way environmental protection and sustainability come together in the Ampera," said the British singer.
FIRST MOTOR SHOW APPEARANCE FOR NEW ANTARA
* Fresh exterior look
* New powertrain line-up with high efficiency engines
* Enhanced chassis
* Upgraded interior
* Electronically controlled all-wheel drive with variable power distribution
* Reaches UK showrooms in April
With a refreshed exterior design, new engines, revised chassis settings and an upgraded interior, the Vauxhall Antara combines off-road flair with practicality for the 2011 model year.
The all-new engine line-up comprising two diesel units (both meeting Euro 5 emissions standards) guarantees improved driving performance with significantly reduced consumption and emissions. Both the six-speed transmissions available – an auto and manual – are also newly developed for the Antara.
The 2.2 CDTI diesel engine comes in two output levels. The 163PS entry level unit develops maximum torque of 350 Nm at 2000rpm and is available with front or all-wheel drive and manual or automatic transmission. With fuel consumption of 44.8mpg, CO2 emissions of 167g/km combined with a 9.9-second 0-60mph time and top speed of 117mph, the powertrain offers an excellent blend of performance and efficiency.
The 184PS top-of-the-line diesel, producing maximum torque of 400Nm at just 2000rpm, comes standard with all-wheel drive and is available with both transmissions. Performance is enhanced further, with a 0-60mph time of 9.6 seconds and a top speed of 124mph, yet economy is still impressive, with a combined 42.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 175 g/km.
Intelligent all-wheel drive system with variable power distribution
The Antara's electronically controlled all-wheel drive system combines the advantages of front-wheel drive – such as low fuel consumption – with the traction benefits of an all-wheel drive system.
While the engine normally powers the front wheels, prevailing driving conditions are continuously monitored by the control electronics. If poor traction causes front-axle slippage, the system seamlessly redistributes power. Depending on the driving situation and outside conditions, the power distribution range spans from 100 percent front-wheel drive to 50 percent on both front and rear axles, and all variations in between.
New chassis set up
To match its lively engines, the updated Antara now features a newly-tuned chassis that combines driving involvement and agility with a comfortable, supple ride. The speed-sensitive power steering has also been enhanced to offer more accuracy and feel.
Refinements to the chassis and active safety include improvements to the ABS system and the standard fitting of Hill Start Assist (HSA) which prevents roll-back when driving away on gradients. Depending on model variant and equipment, distinctive 17-, 18- or 19- inch alloy wheels complement the new Antara's bold looks.
Refreshed design with clear brand identity
The new Antara's exterior sports an updated front grille with chrome bezel, with the Griffin logo positioned on the chrome cross-bar. Re-designed fog lights, rear lights with new graphics and a distinctive protection panel at the front and rear of the car complete the exterior changes.
The refreshed interior offers new, upscale trim and upholstery, instruments with new graphics, a re-designed centre console with extra storage solutions, along with an elegant leather trim option called Light Titanium. Improved safety and comfort features include: an electric parking brake; a gear display for manual operation in the automatic variants; deactivation of front and side airbags on the front passenger side to enable mounting of a child safety seat; seat-belt pre-tensioners and belt force limiters for front passengers.
Compelling alternative in European mid-size SUV segment
With its attractive looks, state-of-the-art powertrain line-up, active chassis tuning and upscale interior, the VauxhallAntara is a strong contender in its segment. The new crossover also offers excellent value for money: the 163PS Exclusiv with front-wheel drive is just £19,995 OTR.
The SUV and crossover segment will play a more important role in Vauxhall's product portfolio, strengthening the company's position in the European automotive market. The next step will be an all-new compact SUV planned for 2013. Vauxhall anticipates Antara sales of 15,000 units during 2011, rising to 20,000 thereafter. Around 80 per cent of these sales will be spread across key markets in the UK, Germany, Italy and Russia. The 163PS diesel variant is expected to be the biggest seller, accounting for around 75 per cent of sales.
CORSA'S NEW LOOK PREVIEWS AT GENEVA AHEAD OF UK SHOWROOM SALES IN MARCH
* Redesigned, up-market face brings Corsa up to date with other new Vauxhalls
* 'V' grille replaced by chrome signature bar featuring new Griffin design
* Five new colours and a host of new trims introduced to range
Vauxhall's new Corsa sports a fresh new face and a variety of trims and colours ready for delivery to UK customers.
The Corsa, Vauxhall's second best-selling model after the Astra, and a near-permanent fixture in the UK's top-three best sellers' list, has now adopted many of the premium styling cues from other recently launched Vauxhalls, such as the Insignia, Astra and Meriva.
Styled by Niels Loeb, Vauxhall/Opel's Chief Exterior Designer working in Brit, Mark Adams' design team, the new Corsa features a signature chrome bar, carrying the new Griffin badge, stretching across the front grille, while a re-styled front bumper with a more prominent, wider lower grille gives the Corsa a smiling appearance.
Framing the Corsa's new face are 'Eagle-Eye' headlamps, which have also made an appearance on the recently launched Meriva. The units have a chrome finish and include daytime running lights as standard across the range. New chrome-finished fog lamps and housings complete the picture at the front of the car.
Complementing the Corsa's fresh look are five new exterior colours in the range. Lime Green pearlescent and Chilli Orange metallic enhance the car's new look, with Guacamole – a solid hue – completing the pallet of all-new Vauxhall colours. Sunny Melon (a bright yellow) makes a welcome return to the Corsa range, while Pepperdust metallic is carried across from the new Meriva range.
Vibrant new colours also dominate the Corsa's cabin, with seat trims such as Steel Blue and Tabasco Orange brightening the interior, accompanied by a range of different coloured door trims, centre consoles, air vent rings and door handles.
Also inside, is Vauxhall's new optional Touch & Connect multi-media system, which replaces the existing CD60 unit. Touch & Connect uses a five-inch touch screen display featuring both 2D and 3D maps for the navigation system, as well as a CD/tuner, aux-in, USB and Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity.
Outside, the new Corsa benefits from new 16-inch alloy wheels on both SE and SXi models, while the 192PS VXR receives the option of a new 18-inch alloy wheel, modelled on the design of the optional 20-inch wheel worn by the Insignia VXR.
Corsa's new appearance complements recent upgrades to chassis and powertrain
With its fresh new look, the Corsa is now a very different car to the one on sale a year ago. Before the latest exterior and interior design changes were made, the Corsa had already benefited from a long list of significant upgrades to its chassis and powertrains. For example, certain ecoFLEX engines now feature Vauxhall's Start/Stop technology, which has reduced emissions on the 1.3 CDTi (95PS) ecoFLEX model to just 94g/km, combined with fuel consumption of 91.1mpg on the government's extra urban cycle (78.5mpg combined).
To maintain its success in the small-car class, Vauxhall's engineers also made important revisions to the car's steering and suspension set-ups. Softer springs were employed in the front suspension, mated to an anti-roll bar with new bushes and an increased diameter, improving ride and control characteristics.
Complementing this were revised damper setting all round, an optional re-tuned ESP system and enhanced steering geometry, ensuring that the Corsa remained as pleasurable to drive as it was economical to own.
The new Corsa range starts at £9995, based on 2011's 20 per cent VAT rate. However, setting aside the 2.5 per cent VAT increase, which was applied to all cars from January 4, new Corsa prices have only risen by between £60 and £75, depending upon model and, reflecting the exterior and cabin enhancements on all models in the range.
LATEST START/STOP MODELS SHOWCASED, WITH MORE TO COME IN 2011/12
The latest Vauxhall models to adopt Start/Stop technology will be showcased at Geneva, including the new 104g/km Astra ecoFLEX and Vauxhall's most economical production car ever, the Corsa 1.3 CDTi (95PS) which emits just 94g/km in three- door form.
Naturally, low emissions go hand in hand with miserly fuel consumption, and here the Corsa 1.3 CDTi (95PS) ecoFLEX excels, achieving 80.7mpg on the combined cycle (95g/km and 78.5mpg for 5-door). Add this to a raft of chassis upgrades made across the Corsa range last year, combined with its 2011 design changes inside and out, and you have one of the most complete super-minis on the market.
Also on Vauxhall's Geneva stand is the first Astra to get Start/Stop tech, the 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX. In 95PS, 5-door form, its CO2emissions are just 104g/km and combined fuel consumption is an impressive 72.4mpg. A non-Start/Stop Hatch model is also available, while customers opting for the Astra Sports Tourer 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX get the tech on all cars.
The principle of Start/Stop technology is simple: instead of the engine idling at traffic lights or at a level crossing, the engine automatically stops when the driver engages neutral and releases the clutch. When the traffic lights turn green, the driver simply presses the clutch pedal to re-start the engine, engages first and moves away. Naturally, the car's ventilation, power steering and braking system performance are maintained while the engine is temporarily off.
Vauxhall will roll out more ecoFLEX models using Start/Stop technology before the end of 2011, including even lower C02-emitting versions of the Insignia and Meriva. This forms part of a long-term strategy to introduce Start/Stop across all car lines before the end of 2012, significantly reducing emissions without impacting on a car's performance.