Opel to show Monza concept
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Opel has released the first details of its Monza concept that is set to star at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The show car is a 'what's what' of concept frippery with mad styling, a cutting edge drivetrain and sci-fi movie-like interior, but a lot of the technology is not as far-fetched as it might seem. Let's just hope Opel tones the styling down and give us a reborn Monza!
The marketing bluff accompanying the images says that the lines of the Monza concept were "inspired by ocean waves lapping on the shore", which is never a good start, but whatever the dubious inspiration there is little question that the concept is a good looking car. Certain Opel design hallmarks such as the creased bonnet and winged front grille are carried over from recent production models but unique touches such as the large boomerang shaped air intakes and oversized wheelarches bring a new look to the table. Those wheelarches form the visual book-ends for one of the Monza's most striking features, its full length gull-wing doors that allow for easy access for both front and rear seat occupants.
With short overhangs and a long bonnet the Monza would appear to be stamped from the traditional coupé mould but an up-kick in the rear roofline, in addition to a low seating position, leads to a 500-litre boot space and an airy cabin.
LED projectors turn the entire dashboard into a multimedia device, displaying all the information drivers would expect to find in a car as well as internet and communication options and decorative elements. Both the area displaying information and the background can be individually configured with operation executed through voice control and steering wheel controls.
To prevent the driver from being overloaded with information certain details such as the navigation, smartphone settings and connection only appear when necessary or desired. These display options can be toggled depending on the number of occupants via new ME, US and ALL settings.
With ME, the infotainment system virtually disconnects the drivers' smartphone and prioritises the information relevant for the driving experience. US enables the passengers of the Monza concept to connect with the outside world (via their smartphone) to exchange information, music and images, chat and even make appointments. ALL goes even further, allowing the driver and the outside world to connect virtually. Opel gives the example of drivers being able to share their planned route online enabling a new kind of instant car-sharing, but the technology can go further than that (see Anything Else? below).
The Frankfurt concept will draw on the experience achieved by Opel engineers while working on the Ampera, but with a twist. The Ampera's 1.4-litre range-extending engine will be replaced by the new generation 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder (itself set for a Frankfurt debut in the Adam) that runs on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) rather than petrol. Opel says that this approach combines the potential of electric propulsion with the benefits of an internal combustion engine while also improving the car's CO2 output.
While the concept powertrain will be typically 'conceptual' the Monza is based on a modular design that Opel says will allow a high degree of flexibility when it comes to the engine. Monza OPC anyone?
The suite of sensor and connectivity options in the Monza concept could, in time, allow for Car-to-Car and Car-to-X communications, both prerequisites for future autonomous driving. By allowing cars to 'speak' to each other and the traffic infrastructure around them the world of 'Minority Report' and the likes could be one step closer.
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