Paris Preview: Will the new Opel GTC concept spawn a Buick hot hatch?

Opel GTC Paris – Click above for high-res image gallery

With the recent launch of the LaCrosse and Regal, it's clear that the big, floaty Buick sedan is a thing of the past. However, the debut of the Opel GTC at the upcoming Paris Motor Show begs the question; will we soon see a Buick hot-hatch to take on the Volkswagen GTI? The GTC is a stylish, three-door hatchback version of the latest-generation Astra compact that debuted last year. Buick has already confirmed that it will introduce a four-door sedan version of the Astra in the U.S. market (which may or may not be called the Verano).

As usual, Buick doesn't like to talk about unannounced products, but we can't help but wonder how a three-door like this with a waterfall grille can succeed in America? Imagine a base version with the 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four from the Cruze and a performance variant with the 220 horsepower, 2.0-liter direct-injected turbo from the Regal. That latter engine is what Opel has installed in the show-car, along with an automatic start-stop system and six-speed manual gearbox. We'd drive one.

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[Source: General Motors]


World Premiere: Opel GTC Paris - Sculpture in Motion
Opel at the Mondial de l'Automobile 2010

* First exterior shots: Opel's vision of a compact, sporty hatch

Rüsselsheim. Opel's Vice President of Design Mark Adams gave his team the briefing: "show me the most emotional side of Opel's new design language, 'sculptural artistry meets German precision'." What they created, the GTC Paris concept car, will be shown for the first time at the Mondial de l'Automobile 2010 (October 2 – 17).

Coming close on the heels of the new generation Astra Sports Tourer, which will also debut at the Paris motor show, the GTC Paris is the next bold step of a newly shaped Opel line-up.

Inspiration for the concept was partly derived from a quote from Richard Bach's famous novel, Jonathan Livingston Seagull "...and the speed was pure beauty." This phrase is embodied throughout the character of the car with dynamic sweeping lines, beautiful sculptural surfaces, and a wide muscular stance. This three-door compact is bold yet pure and is very iconic in presence. The GTC Paris is conceived to be the obtainable dream car delivering German engineered precision and innovation, matched with eye-popping design.

"We wanted to express the most emotional side of the Opel brand and we believe this vehicle creates an appropriate visual impact to reinforce our dynamic sporty character," Adams said.

Distinctly a new Opel – with an emotional tribute to performance

At 4.46 meters, the GTC Paris is the ideal size for a compact, sporty car, but it still offers room for five passengers. Most iconic cars have been drawn from the side. Many can be sketched with two or three sharp lines. So, too, with Opel's new concept car: In profile, the designers have maximized tension by limiting the amount of lines in the GTC Paris. Similar to tendons in a sprinter, these lines create tension and provide a sculpted shape. They serve as the foundation to which the highlights and surfacing react and press to the wheels in a very athletic fashion.

The Opel signature blade is introduced in the same direction as first seen in the Insignia – a fine, tense crease along the rocker panel. A second line shoots from the door handle to the rear, emphasizing the vehicle's dramatic stance by spreading the surfaces to a fine undercut and a broad shoulder. The third line following the silhouette of the roof is finished in finely brushed aluminum that accentuates the window graphic, guiding the eye to the sharply distinct integrated spoiler.

The front is clean yet full of character and features Opel's typical centerline crease. It is further accented by intense, very slim eagle-eye shaped headlamps acting as parenthesis between the refined chrome emblem bar and the dramatic low trapezoidal grill which hints at its sporty character. Signature LED daytime running lights are outlined with finely crafted chrome inserts that can stand as a piece of sculpture by themselves.

The wide stance is accentuated in the rear, where the proportion of the vehicle is most imposing. This is further enhanced with the LED taillights showcasing a long, stretched "wing" nighttime graphic.

Innovative technology enhances performance

The best of Opel's compact car technology is brought to its sportiest level on the GTC Paris. The chassis has a special design with an extra-wide stance. It features a compound crank with an Opel-exclusive Watt's link in the rear, a new, updated execution of the adaptive mechatronic FlexRide suspension and a front electronic limited slip differential. The GTC Paris is planted to the ground with dynamic 21-inch wheels.

The powertrain in the GTC Paris is a four-cylinder, 2.0 liter Turbo with direct injection, packing maximum horsepower and torque. It is fitted with Start/Stop technology, proving that drivers can combine high performance with maximum fuel efficiency in urban driving conditions. The transmission is a six-speed manual gearbox.

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