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2003 Opel Insignia Concept

2003 Opel Insignia Concept

2003 Opel Insignia Concept

In addition to its progressive, elegant and dynamic design, the Insignia features numerous innovations including extensive use of LED lighting technology and unique pantograph-action doors and tailgate. Further highlights include the versatile interior layout and excellent driving dynamics. Says Opel’s Chairman and Managing Director, Carl-Peter Forster: ‘The Insignia is not an expensive luxury car but an ambassador of Opel’s new confidence. It emphasizes our message of the past few months, that Opel is back, and it also demonstrates the innovative ideas we come up with when we think about a big Opel.’

The driver-oriented, rear-wheel drive concept car can be transformed from a comfortable four-seater for day-to-day business purposes, into a sporty five-seat transport vehicle for weekend activities, family and recreation. The 344-hp aluminum V8 engine gives it a top speed of 250 km/h (electronically controlled), with acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in under six seconds.

Opel’s New Design Language

With its well-balanced proportions and its progressive, elegant and dynamic lines, ‘the Insignia shows how Opel’s new design language translates to a large sized car for the very first time,’ explains Opel’s Executive Director of Design, Martin Smith. ‘With its many creative ideas, this study is a vision reaching far into the future, showing how Opel defines such a new concept.'”

This departure from a conservative notchback silhouette is evident in the coupe-style body lines and design details such as the long engine hood with sweeping A-pillars and the inward-tapering front and rear ends. The Insignia’s short overhangs and balanced proportions (length/width/height: 4803/1914/1414 millimeters) and the long 2915-mm wheelbase are just as striking. The wide track (1666 mm) emphasizes the Insignia’s dynamics even further.

The impressive radiator grille represents pride in the brand in three-dimensional form – a reference to the big cars that have always been part of Opel’s tradition. It is milled from solid aluminum and flanked by large air intakes, thus dominating the front end and conveying an unmistakable sense of confidence. This is an Opel with genuine power under the boldly styled hood, accentuated by a characteristic crease down the middle and a V-shape that flows from the A-pillars, thus creating a strong link to the honeycomb-grille. Four sturdy crossbars (the top one carrying the prominent Opel emblem) emphasize the grille’s significance in the front-end design.

High-tech Interior

The Insignia comes in even more guises. Continuing the long tradition of innovative interiors at Opel, for instance the Zafiras Flex7 system with fully retractable third-row seats or the multiple configurations of the Meriva and Signum FlexSpace concepts, the Insignia features yet another new idea: The section of the center tunnel that separates the two individual rear seats can be moved back under the trunk-floor to reveal a folded seat that can be raised electrically to make the Insignia a five-seater. The tunnel, covered with fine leather with exclusive Macassar ebony wood inlays conceals even more secrets: The designers have integrated a DVD player with folding screen, a cool-box large enough for two bottles of champagne and a humidor for storing fine cigars.

Despite these luxury accessories in the rear, there’s never a doubt in the Insignia as to whos in charge: The cockpit, with its three-dimensional instruments and control satellites for the most important functions made of satin-finished and polished aluminum, is perfectly matched to the drivers needs so he or she can concentrate on the essentials.

All secondary control panels such as the infotainment system or the air-conditioning are hidden away under ingenious sliding covers in the center console.

Parallel sliding action

The future potential of the pantograph mounting and lever principle used for the two rear doors is also obvious. With its help, even large doors can be opened in small parking spaces or garages. Like a sliding door but without the sliding rails, the doors move parallel to the body rather than swinging outwards.

Because of their advantages, pantograph hinges with two pivot points have often been tried in automobiles, but this is the first time that the door has been successfully realized without multiple levers and without destroying the harmonious styling.

This is how the dictionary explains the mechanism: ‘Pantograph – an instrument & consisting of four &bars jointed in parallelogram form.’ Now that the Insignia has appeared, this definition will have to be re-written, as the Opel’s engineers in the team led by Gerhard Mathes, have succeeded in designing a sophisticated but simple mechanism inside the pantograph support arm. When the door is closed, the aluminum support lever disappears elegantly into the door trim. ‘The kinematics of the Insignias rear doors will puzzle many observers,’ says Mathes with a smile. How it works will, for the time being, remain Opel’s secret, as Hans H. Demant, Executive Director, Engineering, is positive that ‘the pantograph has revolutionary potential’.

Observers can also study the advantages of the pantograph system at the rear of the Insignia, even though this is a conventional design, with articulated parallelograms. Both the large tailgate and its rear window can be opened parallel to the roof by remote control, which means that they can open even if the car has been reversed up to a wall – especially since they open with the aid of electric motors. A total of 45 electric motors are installed on the concept car. They not only open and close the doors at the touch of a button, for example, but also move the seats forward automatically to make access to the rear easier.

Rear-wheel drive and V8 engine

Opel’s engineers chose an all-new GM rear-wheel drive architecture being developed for future global products as the basis for the Insignia’s dynamic concept. With double wishbones and coil springs at the front and a five-link axle at the rear (decoupled for refinement), the Insignia delivers exemplary cornering behavior and high directional stability. Hydraulic load-leveling control compensates for changes in payload. In line with the dynamic character, the Insignia is powered by the Corvette’s 344-hp aluminum V8 engine, which gives it a maximum speed of 250 km/h (electronically controlled), with acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in under six seconds.

In Detail

engine Aluminum V8
power 256.5 kw / 344 bhp
driven wheels RWD
f brake size mm / in
r brake size mm / in
f suspension Double Wishbones
r suspension Five-Link, Multi-Link
wheelbase 2915 mm / 114.8 in
front track 1666 mm / 65.6 in
rear track 1666 mm / 65.6 in
length 4803 mm / 189.1 in
width 1914 mm / 75.4 in
height 1414 mm / 55.7 in
gear ratios :1
top speed ~250 kph / 155.3 mph
0 – 60 mph ~5.9 seconds