When Vauxhall-Opel unveiled its rear-wheel drive GT Concept at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show in March, it became an instant star, with auto journalists even praising the study for its overall design. However, whether Opel would be able to bring the GT Concept coupe into production remains a big question, as the carmaker seems to be stuck in the planning phase.
According to the Vauxhall-Opel chairman Karl-Thomas Neumann, the carmaker really wants to build the GT Concept, but hasn’t decided yet on the approach to take. He added that Vauxhall-Opel is not reviewing different directions that could be taken with regards to the GT Concept. However, the company needs to be fast, since – as it believes – the GT Concept’s design appeal could only last for two more years.
Neumann disclosed that the main problem lies with the platform that would underpin the production version of the GT Concept. As a rear-wheel drive model, the production version GT Concept has to be underpinned by a rear-wheel drive platform. It has to be since if the production version has to retain the elegant proportions of the concept. But there is a problem. As Neumann admitted after the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, Vauxhall-Opel has no rear-wheel drive platform.
Neumann is considering two solutions for this. First, Vauxhall-Opel could create a “parts bins” rear-wheel drive platform. Second, Vauxhall-Opel could borrow an off-the-shelf (readily available) rear-wheel drive platform. However, creating a new rwd platform is costly, and parent General Motors would refuse to allocate lots of money to create such architecture. Spending so much money for rear-wheel drive architecture wouldn’t make a good business case, and if Neumann tries to push it with GM’s top executives, he risks having the GT Concept shelved.
On the other hand, Neumann could try to enter into a partnership to borrow a readily available rear-wheel drive platform. One possible partner is SAIC, which already has a partnership deal with GM in China.
A direct descendant of the Opel GT and the Monza Concept, the new Opel GT Concept is revolutionary take on the carmaker’s sculptural design philosophy -- avant-garde yet puristic. The Opel GT Concept features the large doors with the integrated side windows showing seamless transition from glass to painted surfaces. It features no door handles and no exterior door mirrors.
The doors can be opened just by pressing the touchpad integrated in the red signature line of the roof. Since the GT Concept features a front mid-engine, its center of gravity is low and central, making it ideal for sporty handling and cornering. It is powered by a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine that delivers 145 hp (107 kW) of output and 205 Nm of torque. Thanks to its low weight of below 1,000 kilograms, the GT Concept could accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in less than eight seconds and go on to reach a top speed of 215 km/h.