The Vauxhall Opel Monza concept – a gullwing coupe that previews the future of the brand’s design and technology - has been unveiled the day before the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show opens its doors. Frank Leopold, head of concept cars, calls the Monza a “sportsbrake” and vision of what’s technologically possible by 2020.
“I would think the next Insignia will get a lot of treatments from this car, not exactly in this way, but the designers will refer to it,” Leopold said. “We chose this kind of car – not specifically a coupe or an estate, but a mix of the two – so people don’t directly relate it to something in the current range. This is the start of something new.”
The Monza name has been used before in the UK on an Opel-badged coupe, which later became the Vauxhall Royale. And just as the original Monza was available with a futuristic digital dash, Vauxhall is pushing the boundaries again with the Opel Monza 2013 concept. It features LED projection technology, which allows drivers to use the whole dash as one large screen. It’s the same kind of set-up used to project graphics on to Buckingham Palace during the Queen’s Golden Jubilee last year, and displays range from a simple speedometer or sat-nav map to decorative elements and infotainment.
“It’s an example of taking technology from elsewhere and using it in an automotive application,” Ivo van Hulten, chief designer of interior components, explained. “It’s feasible right now, you can see that it works, but bringing it to production will take some time.”
The Opel Monza also has a focus on smartphone connectivity, and Vauxhall gives drivers three different modes to choose from: ME, US and ALL. ME prioritises driver information, allowing you to focus solely on the road. US is more for passengers, letting them log into the infotainment system with their phones and display their own images or play their own music. Meanwhile, ALL keeps the car connected with the outside world by – for example – allowing people to see the route you’re taking so they can hop in along the way.
This kind of information can also be used to talk to other cars and stationary objects like traffic lights to help prevent accidents and ease congestion.
The Opel Monza can be powered by a variety of sources – although the car in Frankfurt uses a plug-in hybrid system like that in the Ampera. Electric motors drive the wheels at all times, but a 1.0-litre turbo engine is used as a range-extender – and this is being tipped to replace the 1.4-litre engine in the current Ampera. However, the concept uses natural gas rather than petrol to further reduce CO2 emissions.
“Technology is helping to shape the cars of the future,” Leopold said. “Smaller batteries leave more room in the back and a smaller petrol engine allows a lower bonnet and therefore a lower roof.”
To go with its futuristic tech, the Monza features a futuristic design, previewing what we can expect from the next generation of Vauxhalls. The wing motifs in the headlights, grille and intakes will remain a trademark for the brand, but expect to see more flowing curves like the Monza’s.
Vauxhall sources have previously told us that a production version of the Opel Monza is something the brand would love to do. If the car does happen, we can expect it to be front-wheel drive and possibly use the Vauxhall Cascada platform.