The main design elements are the compact three-door design, with a bold aspect enphasized by the muscular wheelarches and the crease in the engine hood. The streamlined profile and the frameless windows contribute to the coupe-like silhouette.
“The Antara GTC concept vehicle conveys ‘adventure’ – even when standing still. It leverages Opel’s current design language and reinterprets it for the SUV genre,” explains Bryan Nesbitt, Executive Director, GM Design Europe. “Contrary to traditional off-road concepts, the Antara GTC communicates that its true home is more on the road than on rough terrain.”
For Alain Visser, Executive Director for European Marketing at Adam Opel AG, the Antara GTC is a convincing ambassador of the brand: “Anyone who has been lucky enough to see the Antara GTC has felt instinctively: ‘Here comes a strong Opel.’ As a surprisingly sporty SUV concept, the study also symbolizes Opel’s innovative strength.”
Beneath the hood, the Antara GTC features a 212 hp twin-turbo version of the 1.9 CDTI four-cylinder engine. The transverse installed concept power plant produces 400 Nm starting at 1400 rpm, and, like all 1.9 CDTI engines in Opel models, is equipped with a maintenance-free particulate filter (DPF). In combination with the six-speed automatic transmission, the performance is outstanding: computer simulations show a top speed of over 210 km/h and an acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in around 8 seconds.
With the Antara GTC, Opel is continuing its series of exciting studies, each of which accentuates the new dynamic design language in various vehicle classes and reinterprets it for the particular segment. They include concepts such as the GTC Genève (Geneva 2003), Insignia (IAA 2003), Trixx (Geneva 2004) and VX Lightning (London 2003).
From the self-assured V-shaped radiator grill to the mighty 20-inch wheels of polished aluminum, the Opel Antara GTC study symbolizes a dynamism that breaks through conventional boundaries. It brings together the seemingly contradictory design patterns of a sporty coupe and a powerful SUV, and breaches both of them at the same time. Typical details like the crease on the engine hood, the roof module inspired by the new Zafira and the shape of the lights also show that the concept vehicle is an unmistakable member of the Opel family.
On the one hand, the basic design of the body (dimensions: length / width with outer mirrors / height with roof rack, 4530/1970/1640 mm) is characteristic of an off-road vehicle: short overhangs for large angles of approach and departure, stable flanks, powerful side shoulders and wheel cutouts, and steeply inclined windows. On the other hand, it also has the typical features of a coupe: two doors and a tailgate, a closed side window design without a B-pillar, an elegantly sloping roof towards the back (achieved above all by the ingenious design of the C pillar), and a dynamically rising sideline.
“With this study, we wanted to develop a concept that quite simply whets your appetite. An appetite for new discoveries, for driving, and for getting out and doing something sporty like mountain-biking”, says the director of exterior design, Mark Adams. “The result was a very attractive crossover that is a decidedly sporty interpretation of a SUV.”
The styling picks up on Opel’s current design language, which has successfully gone into production with the Speedster, Astra, Tigra and Zafira. Other versions have been presented with studies like the GTC Genève (consistent dynamism in compact form, Geneva 2003), Insignia (a new kind of elegance for a large sedan, IAA 2003), Trixx (extreme flexibility in the shortest form, Geneva 2004) and the VX Lightning (pure driving fun in a roadster, London 2003).
Antara GTC Designer, Kurt Beyer, is very pleased with the result: “The new Opel design language leaves plenty of freedom for creativity and the expression of various lifestyles without sacrificing the unique identity of the Opel family.”
Beyer exploited this freedom to the full, and combined it with an extreme love of detail. The ventilation louvers on the side of the fenders are fitted into fine aluminum frames, as are their counterparts on the side of the engine hood and the exhaust openings behind the doors.
The body color “Everglade Mica” features high portions of glimmering pigments, that are usually used only for bills. The contrasting dark bumpers and the bottom body strip on the side are a demonstration of rugged protection. Beyer took his inspiration for this from the soles of sports shoes, which are no longer confined to under the shoe. Even the profile of the tires is the work of the design team – and the pattern is repeated on the rubber pads on the pedals.
The front and rear underride protection not only looks as if it has been cut from solid aluminum, it actually has. The same applies to the edge protection strip for the luggage area. The V-shaped radiator grill of brushed aluminum (which made its debut in similar form in the Insignia sedan study) is repeated in the tailgate, which is tapered downwards. Also reminiscent of the Insignia are the door handles that retract flush with the body. They only slide out again when the owner approaches the vehicle with an electronic opening device (transponder).
The front and rear lights are almost works of art. Like all the light sources in the Antara GTC, they consist of light-emitting diodes, which have a longer life and shorter response times than conventional lamps. At the same time, the designers are given much greater freedom in designing.. At the front, the lamp units are smoothly integrated into the fenders, and at the rear, they form a brilliant highlight in the transition from the side shoulder to the rear.
One familiar feature – although the design is new – is to be found on the roof of the GTC. Along the length of the car above the heads of the passengers are two skylights to allow more light into the interior – a feature that is available as an option with the new Zafira. The strip between them is equipped with storage compartments. Outside, this strip somewhat resembles a Mohican hairdo, which could well become a recurring cue of Opel’s design language.
The center strip ends in one pantographic hinge on which the tailgate is fixed. This innovative concept which was used in a similar form in the Insignia and Trixx, produces two movements simultaneously when the rear flap is opened: upwards and forwards. It means there is no need to take a step backwards when opening the tailgate, and even in tight parking spaces, access to the luggage compartment is guaranteed.
The interior of the Opel Antara GTC adopts warm tones and leather in contrast with technical materials like carbon fiber (seat back), stainless steel and aluminum (cockpit). Colorwise, the interior is quite clearly split in two: Dark-brown dominates the upper part of the instrument panel and door liners, while the rest is light beige.
The panoramic roof system has been borrowed from the new Opel Zafira and has been further developed for this study. The two large skylights give the occupants a light and very pleasant atmosphere to travel in. Dark tinted glass provides protection from excessive sunshine. The roof console, which runs along the roof center and extends over the whole length of the car interior, offers additional stowing space. A special leather bag that can be moved along a rail between the front and rear seats. It can also be taken along on a shopping or sightseeing trip.
The center console accommodates the compact sturdy gear lever of the Easytronic transmission, as well as three large round ventilation nozzles and the controls for the infotainment system and air-condition.
The instruments are also backlit in turquoise and are accommodated in an aluminum housing – an impressive combination of structural strength and optical elegance. When off-road, displays in the two circular instruments keep the driver constantly informed of the gradient (up or down) and of the lateral angle of the Antara GTC.
With their striking contours, the four seats look as if they have been made to measure for the passengers. The front seats are anchored on mono-rails, giving the effect of floating about in the interior. With the aid of an easy-entry system, they slide right forward to the instrument panel at the press of a button to make it easier for the rear passengers to get on board. A sensor device ensures that no-one is actually sitting on the seats during this operation.
The rear seats can be automatically folded away, raising the luggage volume to a generous 2,400 liters by the VDA standard. The luggage area is completely flat up to the front seats thanks to a moving double floor, the upper half of which is easily pushed to the front like a tray over the retracted back seats. Here, too, sisal is used as the lining material.
“With the Antara GTC, we have again showed that a sporty design does not have to exclude a practical interior. Combining the sporty with the practical is a core area of competence for Opel,” said Frank Leopold, Manager GME Innovation, Show Cars and Advanced Packaging, summarizing the study’s interior concept.
The performances provided by computer simulations are a top speed of over 210 km/h and an acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in around 8 seconds.
The transversally installed four-cylinder engine features two overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and a variable turbo blade geometry. The fuel supply to the cylinders is controlled by a common-rail system with a pressure of up to 1600 bar.
The heart of the innovative twin-turbo technology of the concept diesel engine is forced aspiration through two exhaust-driven turbochargers, which unlike “biturbo” systems operate in series rather than in parallel: A smaller, highly responsive turbocharger for the low engine speed range, a larger turbocharger designed for high output to take over as the revs build up. Thanks to its efficiency, the twin-turbo system can achieve an extremely high specific power output, without disadvantages in fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
The chassis of the Antara GTC includes McPherson struts on the front axle, and four-link axle at the rear with rack-and-pinion power steering.
Not only was the Opel Antara GTC designed at the International Technical Development Center in Rüsselsheim, it was also built there by hand. This makes it the first ready-to-drive study for a long time not to have originated from a specialized body manufacturer but to have been fully developed and built in-house.
Even the extravagant front and rear headlamps with LED technology and the many aluminum and stainless steel components (including the underride protection, side vents for the engine and radiator grill struts) are “Made by Opel“.
The only exception are the tires, which were produced jointly with Dunlop. 70 engineers and technicians from Opel’s prototype construction, design and advanced engineering departments were involved in this SUV study.
The advantages of in-house development are considerable: “Short communications mean fast decisions,” said Kurt Beyer, who is responsible for the design.
Apart from that, the transfer of design data within the company’s network is very easy, and background knowledge of how the Group’s vehicles are built considerably facilitates working procedures.
Another factor, says Gerhard Mathes, who is project manager for the study, is that “here, the empathy with the product is, by nature, much stronger than it is for a supplier who builds concept cars for several different firms.”
Many members of the team had surpassed themselves, successfully trying out new ideas.
“The know-how to emerge from this will be of considerable benefit to the company,” said Mathes.
Apart from that, the project ties in perfectly with the policy announced by GM Europe’s President, Carl-Peter Forster, namely to do as much work as possible in-house.
This was also made possible because the Antara GTC concept car was a longer-term project than most studies. Mathes: “When we have capacity bottlenecks, we will certainly also renew our successful cooperation with the specialized body manufacturers in Italy”.