Opel is giving a preview of the exciting future of the brand with a new Brand Concept. Its name: the Opel GT X Experimental – a bold, 4.06-metre, 5-door, all-electric compact SUV with coupé appeal and brimming with innovative ideas.
The GT X Experimental embodies Opel’s values and vision along with providing a glimpse of what the future holds for Opel models. The company had already announced that it would further sharpen its profile during the presentation of the strategic PACE! plan last November. The GT X Experimental is the first tangible result of this process.
“With our PACE! plan, we have a very clear vision of how we want to create a successful future for Opel. Focus on a strong brand identity defined by our values – German, approachable, exciting – plays an integral role in our return to sustainable success. Our Brand Concept shows how these values will come to life in our products in the future. Our engineering and design teams have put this into effect brilliantly in the Opel GT X Experimental. It gives a clear idea of how we at Opel see the mobility of the future,” said Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller.
Passion for democratising technical innovations fuels Opel’s pioneering spirit
During the concept phase, Opel started a wide-ranging and intense process of reflection about itself and its values. Opel can look back on 156 years of industrial existence starting with precision mechanics and almost 120 years of automobile engineering fuelled by the constant commitment to make exciting and relevant innovative technologies accessible to all. Throughout its history, the specific “Opel way” can be summarised with these three values: German, approachable and exciting. As for its future, the brand wants to remain anchored in the most modern and positive expression of its German roots: Opel’s “New Germanness” takes the best of Germany’s traditional values – engineering excellence, a genuine fascination for well-executed machines, an intense focus on functionality, quality and reliability – and enriches them with warmth and open-mindedness. Inspired by Opel’s innovative spirit, the new GT X Experimental captures the essence of the company’s rich heritage and promises an exciting future. It blends German engineering, precision and quality with visionary innovations to give a preview of what Opel cars will be in the mid-2020s: bold, pure in appearance yet extremely approachable and customer-centric.
Opel decided to embody its vision for its future automobiles in a compact SUV of just 4,063 millimetres in length (wheelbase: 2,625 mm; width: 1,830 mm; height including antenna: 1,528 mm): SUVs are currently the most popular vehicles on the market and Opel is driven by the desire to make such even more attractive for a wide public. But to do so, SUVs must also become more efficient than ever before. This is why the Opel GT X Experimental is built on a lightweight architecture, has a reduced footprint and drives on 17-inch wheels that visually look much larger, so as to maximise road comfort but also look stunning. True to the PACE! plan promise of offering an electrified version of each Opel model by 2024, the GT X Experimental is a fully electric car with power delivered by a 50 kWh, compact next-generation lithium-ion battery with inductive charging. The GT X Experimental does not pretend to offer full autonomous driving. However, it does have Level 3 autonomous driving functions – meaning it can handle all aspects of driving but the driver must be able to respond to a request to intervene.
Pure and bold: This is future Opel design
The GT X Experimental presents innovative technology with sophisticated simplicity. Vice President Design Mark Adams and his team have developed a whole philosophy for Opel’s specific, German design, blending purity with emotional boldness. In the GT X Experimental, each usual function, each module of an automobile has been questioned with the aim of achieving purity of design by removing all unnecessary design elements. This is something the design team calls “visual detox”.
The Opel GT X Experimental body shows bold proportions coupled with beautifully structured, pure flowing surfaces. Its strong silhouette is accentuated by the bold graphic identity separating the upper and lower areas. The lower section is painted in a luminous light grey, and the whole upper part including the bonnet, glass and roof are in an almost black, night blue. Between these is a bold Opel yellow signature accent that flows through the car to give it structure and dynamism. This colour scheme re-visits Opel’s traditional grey/black/yellow colour but reconfigures it to create a fresh modern feel. The GT X Experimental welcomes passengers with spacious, unobstructed access thanks to rear-hinged rear doors and all four doors opening wide to 90 degrees to give the concept an approachable character. The sweeping panoramic windscreen/roof reaches far back to the rear seats, enhancing the SUV’s light and open sense of spaciousness.
Opel designers have also reduced the traditional, so-called “cut lines” in the bodywork – made necessary by the different openings such as doors and bonnet – to an absolute minimum. The upper cutline of all doors is hidden in the yellow accent and the one of the rear doors coincides with the opening of the boot. Forgoing conventional elements such as door handles and exterior mirrors, the body is a smooth canvas that wraps around surprising details such as small cameras embedded in the yellow graphic lining the sides of the bonnet pop out, replacing the exterior mirrors.
To counterbalance this visual detox, rare graphical details energise the appearance of the GT X Experimental. Cropped triangles are engraved along the sill under the driver’s side rear door: one of them contains a small, hexagonal LED screen that shows the electric charge level of the battery. The 17-inch wheels look much bigger thanks to robust rubber covers that flow over the rim to visually enlarge the size of the dark blue tyres. Yellow graphic lines on the rim echo the yellow signature accent of the body and surround the electronic Blitz emblem that stands still as the wheels rotate. And to underline the SUV character of the car, protective cladding wraps around the lower body, giving the GT X Experimental’s solid, robust stance a rugged look.
“The Opel GT X Experimental embodies the spirit of our core brand values – German, approachable, exciting. It’s an “approachable” concept that people can identify with. It confidently combines a pure and bold design execution with progressive technology that makes life easier. Clearly, this vehicle signals a very exciting future for the brand,” said Mark Adams.
Opel Compass and Opel Vizor give new visual identity to future Opel models
The GT X Experimental also reveals the new theme for the front and the rear fascia of future models for the first time. The “Opel Compass” organises the design elements along two strong axes that intersect the Blitz. The legendary brand emblem is now the focus point more than ever before. In a crisper and purer execution, the centre-crease line on the bonnet represents the vertical axis, which is prolonged under the Blitz. The horizontal axis is symbolised by the Opel-typical wing-shaped daytime running light signature, which will continue to feature on all future Opel vehicles. The rear echoes the front fascia and shows the Opel Compass in its purity, with the Blitz solidly anchoring the horizontal line of the wing-shaped rear lights and the vertical line from the roof fin antenna to the accentuated crease in the bumper.
Following the theme of the Opel Compass and in line with the approach of creating the purest possible design, Opel designers have also created a new Opel face that expresses the company’s pioneering spirit: the “Opel Vizor”. The Opel Vizor is a full, single module that frames all of the high-tech and brand elements such as the LED Blitz emblem that shows the car’s operation state by lighting up in different colours, the LED matrix headlights, the wing-shaped daytime running lights as well as all cameras and sensors of the assistance systems and autonomous driving functions under darkly tinted Plexiglas. The elegant module boldly stretches across the front of the car right under the bonnet. The new, distinctive Opel Vizor is set to be a hallmark design element for all Opel models later in the 2020s.
Interior around Pure Panel: Visual and digital detox for a relaxing Oasis
The airy interior of the Opel GT X Experimental follows the same principles and opts for visual and digital detox. Surrounded by the panoramic windscreen/roof and uninterrupted side-window, the cabin’s sleekness masks the innovations it holds in store. The interior’s standout feature is the instrument panel encased in a module that mimics the Opel Vizor – the Opel “Pure Panel”. One wide, single screen welcomes drivers and shows that the multitude of screens, buttons and controls often seen in current-day production vehicles could become obsolete. The Pure Panel enables drivers to have access to the latest technology and get the information they need while eliminating all visually distracting elements. The purity of the interior design can also be seen in the clever positioning of the air vents. They have been hidden behind the screens, allowing all-round pure, clean surfaces. The Pure Panel also shows how Opel allows technology to simplify customers’ lives. Two screens on the far left and right of the front panel display the side views captured by the small pop-out cameras. Elsewhere, the design of the steering wheel has been simplified while its centre module repeats the shape of the Opel Vizor. And, like its counterparts on the wheels, the LED Opel Blitz on its centre remains upright whatever the steering position.
This clean high-tech approach flows throughout the interior. For example, the four seats look like they are floating while removable speakers nestled under the headrests also allow an out-of-car sound experience. Graphic details also highlight the strict purity of the design in the interior: the cropped triangle theme is repeated on the seat backs and the accelerator and brake pedals.
Opel concept cars have showcased Opel’s future for more than 50 years
The name of the GT X Experimental is reminiscent of Opel’s pioneering concept car, the 1965 Experimental GT – an accessible coupé that was also the first concept car ever produced by a car manufacturer in Europe. The additional X underlines Opel’s plan to further develop its footprint in the SUV market: 40 per cent of all Opel cars sold in 2021 are to be SUVs.
Over decades, Opel has used concept cars to shape its future. Most concepts were never meant to ever be produced but they allowed the brand to set guiding principles for its upcoming models. In this regard, the three latest concept cars from Opel display a clear coherence with the development of the brand. The 2013 Monza concept reflected Opel’s quest for more efficiency (lightweight, packaging, powertrain) and the expression of this efficiency in a sleek design. The 2016 GT Concept took efficiency to the next level, with a design around the core ideas of approachability, simplicity and purity. This has now been taken to the next level by the GT X Experimental and its philosophy based on the brand values – German, approachable, exciting – is expressed in a pure and bold design.
Author: Robert Metzger