Wednesday, 26 October 2016

!NEW! Next-Generation Holden Commodore Is Coming

  • First details of Holden’s next-generation Commodore revealed, redefining a four decade legacy
  • First imported Commodore lives up to the legend; V6 flagship boasts 230 kW and 370 Nm, cutting-edge AWD system and 9-speed transmission  
  • Packed with advanced technology: Active Fuel Management, adaptive suspension, torque-vectoring AWD, Matrix lighting system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Extensive Holden Australian engineering development ensures next-generation Commodore lives up to the legendary nameplate with outstanding driving dynamics  
  • Next-generation Holden Commodore on sale in 2018 

Next-Generation Holden Commodore

Holden has today revealed first details of the all-new, next-generation Commodore ahead of its Australian launch in early 2018.

Next-Generation Holden Commodore - Matrix LED lighting system
Australia’s first look under the bonnet of the cutting-edge new Commodore reveals a car that will set new benchmarks in its segment for technology, style, practicality and driving dynamics.

Next-Generation Holden Commodore - Flagship AWD model with 3.6 V6 engine 
Headlined by the V6 flagship model, the first ever imported Commodore will honour the legendary nameplate by being the most technologically-advanced Holden ever. With a cutting-edge all-wheel-drive system channeling 230 kilowatts and 370 Newton metres to the road, combined with adaptive suspension technology, a company-first nine-speed automatic transmission and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, the next-generation Commodore is set to cement the iconic nameplate’s reputation for class-leading driving dynamics and on-road refinement.

Based on General Motor’s new ‘E2’ global architecture, engineered in Germany and shared with the Opel Insignia, the new Commodore has also been co-developed under the expert and watchful eye of Holden’s Australian engineers to ensure the all-new Commodore continues a four-decade tradition of setting new benchmarks.  

“Holden has been engaged in this program from the outset to ensure the next-generation Commodore lives up to its legendary nameplate,” said Jeremy Tassone, Holden’s Engineering Group Manager for Vehicle Development.

“We know the first imported Commodore will come under a lot of scrutiny and we know we have a lot to live up to – this car delivers in spades”

“Although we are remain in the early stages of the Holden development process, this is an absolutely world-class car. We’ve taken a precision-engineered German car and endowed it with Holden DNA. It drives like a Commodore should.

“We’ve had our Holden engineers engaged in this global program from the outset and we’re continuing to do extensive tuning and development, racking up thousands of kilometers, at our Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria to ensure it’s got that Holden magic.

“Of course, it helps that the underlying platform is absolutely world class! This global vehicle program, led by Opel in Germany, has produced a phenomenal base for us to work from. The genuinely cutting-edge all-wheel-drive system using active torque vectoring provides incredible traction and handling finesse. The key is what is dubbed the ‘Twinster’ rear drive module. Essentially, the traditional rear differential has been replaced with two individual clutches that not only save weight and improve packaging but provides virtually instantaneous active distribution of torque to the required wheel.

“The overall system monitors inputs from vehicle sensors 100 times per second and constantly adjusts accordingly, it’s extraordinary.”

The V6 engine with the all-wheel-drive system is a combination that the Holden team drove into the global vehicle program because we know our customers and this performance option is important to them. While it may not be built here, we’ll deliver a Commodore that our customers will love in 2018,” said Mr Tassone.    

Commodore’s evolution reflects the transformation of the Holden brand and company as it moves to full-line importer of vehicles. But just like Commodore, Holden will remain a powerhouse of the industry and of the local motoring landscape. 

“The next-generation Commodore will reset benchmarks in its class, as has every Commodore since 1978,” said Holden’s Executive Director of Sales, Peter Keley.

“What Commodore will also continue to do is carry the family in space and comfort. Commodore will also race in Supercars from 2018 and continue to be on the road as police cars.

“This next-generation vehicle is changing and bringing incredible technology and refinement with it but will continue to offer customers that quintessential Commodore experience they have loved for nearly four decades.  

“With the first-ever imported Commodore, we’re delivering our customers an absolutely world-beating vehicle, with the space, practicality, technology and driving pleasure that Commodore has always provided. This is a different kind of Commodore to what has come before but lives up to the nameplate in every respect and will carry our heritage with pride.”

  • Next-generation Commodore built in Germany on all-new, global E2 architecture shared with Opel Insignia
  • Lightweight construction methods result in 200kg - 300kg weight savings compared to current Commodore
  • Flagship model offers V6 AWD drivetrain with Holden-first 9-speed transmission
  • V6 engine delivers 230kW / 370 Nm while being incredibly efficient thanks to Stop-Start technology and Active Fuel Management
  • 2.0T petrol and 2.0T diesel front-wheel drive models also coming to Australia
  • Liftback and Sportwagon body-styles
  • Cutting-edge, adaptive all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring and twin-clutch (‘Twinster’) rear differential system
  • Adaptive suspension
  • Next-generation Matrix lighting system
  • Infotainment includes:
    • Apple Car Play and Android Auto
    • 8-inch configurable LCD instrument display,
    • Next-gen Head-Up display
Pricing, specification, full details of driver, safety and additional infotainment technology to be confirmed closer to launch  

!NEW! In Final Development Stage: All-New Opel Insignia Grand Sport

  • Today: Elegant, athletic silhouette discernable despite camouflage
  • Future: Opel flagship with all-new architecture and top technologies
  • In March: World premiere at Geneva Motor Show 2017

Final development phase: Opel Insignia Grand Sport is still heavily camouflaged. Opel’s new flagship will celebrate its world premiere at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. 

All-new Opel Insignia Grand Sport is currently completing its final development phase. Even though the next generation of Opel’s flagship still hides its elegance from inquisitive eyes with extensive camouflage, the five-door sedan’s new grandeur is clearly distinguishable. The Opel Insignia Grand Sport is based on a completely new architecture and has a considerably longer wheelbase (over nine centimeters longer). But thanks to markedly shorter front and rear overhangs, it is only 5.5 centimeters longer than its predecessor. The one-centimeter wider track and three-centimeter lower roofline emphasize the Insignia Grand Sport’s dashing presence. 

Longer wheelbase, shorter overhangs: Reworked proportions give new Opel flagship, Insignia Grand Sport, a more athletic presence than ever before.
These altered proportions give the next generation of Opel’s flagship a look that is more athletic and striking than ever before. But the Insignia Grand Sport doesn’t simply look more athletic – it delivers on this sportiness too. Space efficiency and weight-savings were at the top of engineers’ specifications: by using lightweight materials, they were able to shave up to 175 kilograms off of the new model generation. Optimized packaging allows for a roomier interior and of course a great range of top technologies is on board.

New presence: Elegant and athletic silhouette of Opel’s future flagship, the Insignia Grand Sport, is clearly visible despite the camouflage. 

“The name Opel Insignia Grand Sport says it all. It reflects the efficient dynamics of a Monza Concept as much as it does our pride in the magnificent Opel classics Kapitän, Admiral and Diplomat,” says Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. 

“Our future flagship represents a new dimension – elegance, lightness and sportiness blend to create an extremely attractive combination.”

Lightweight athleticism: New Insignia Grand Sport shows true grandeur – despite being up to 175 kilograms lighter that the outgoing model.
With the new Opel Insignia Grand Sport, the company is starting the next chapter in the history of its top-of-the-line models. In 2008, the predecessor founded a new Opel era in terms of development and design – and was a huge hit with the public: to date, over 900,000 Insignia cars have been sold and it was named “Car of the Year” in 2009.

At the 2013 IAA, Opel gave a glimpse into the future of the automobile with the visionary Monza Concept Study: light, athletic, efficient and with top connectivity – this is what defines future Opel cars.

The new Astra, which was promptly named “Car of the Year 2016”, follows this philosophy. With the Insignia Grand Sport, Opel now launches another potential successful model that consistently realizes these standards.

The Insignia Grand Sport consistently continues the approach, which Opel began in the compact class with the youngest Astra generation and now takes to the next level. The newcomer is slightly larger than the current Insignia on the outside but this leads to a noticeable increase in spaciousness on the inside, putting it in a higher league in terms of size, roominess and comfort. Even as innovative technologies underline the future top-of-the-line Opel model’s ambitious standards, the company remains true to its philosophy: mobility and trend-setting developments must remain affordable and accessible for a broad audience. The Insignia Grand Sport thus represents the chic alternative to considerably more expensive cars.

The official world premiere of the Opel Insignia Grand Sport takes place in March 2017 at the Geneva Motor Show.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

!NEW! Around the World in 80 Years: Opel Kadett Celebrates its Birthday

  • Opel Kadett launched as innovative small car with an integral body and frame
  • Over 24 million Opel Kadett and Astra have been sold to date
  • Current generation Opel Astra continuing the success story of its ancestors

Opel led the way in the 1930s, especially with the innovative and revolutionary all-steel unitary body construction.

The first Opel Kadett was a minor sensation, both technically and in terms of price. More than 100,000 of these four-seat models were built from 1936 to 1940 in Rüsselsheim, which even then was one of the most advanced car-making plants in Europe. The first Kadett with its revolutionary unitary body construction available as a sedan or convertible cost only 2,100 marks.

With its good value for money and progressive features, the first Kadett laid the corner stone for Opel’s success in the compact class. To date, eleven generations of Kadett and Astra have been successful in their segment: Over 24 million Opel Kadett and Opel Astra cars sold is an impressive number and a notable achievement. Lined up one behind the other, all Opel compact models built so far would surpass the magical 100,000-kilometer mark and create a column of cars that could circle the equator two and a half times. Opel compact cars have successively made personal mobility accessible to a broad customer base, especially in economically difficult times and not only that. The latest generations have made technologies and innovations from higher segments affordable for numerous customers. The new Opel Astra K, launched in 2015, has already been ordered 275,000 times across Europe.

1936-1940: Opel Kadett 1 – The “Volkswagen”

The speedy four-seater could do nearly 100 km/h and it did not take long to find its way into the hearts of the general public. It also found favor with the press: “As the first test drives have confirmed, the Kadett is certainly not an ordinary vehicle in this price range,” wrote a German newspaper, “Braunschweiger Tageszeitung,” on December 5, 1936. The chassis with Dubonnet independent front suspension and leaf-spring rear axle stemmed from the Opel Olympia, and the L-head four-cylinder gray cast-iron engine was taken from the Opel P 4. It generated 23 hp from a displacement of 1,073 cm3. The advantages of taking the engineering from a modular system also played a key part in the low price of the car. Just like its big brother the Olympia, which it resembles in appearance, the Kadett is a modern car. Harmonious proportions with a hatchback and integrated headlights are characteristic.

Flowing lines: The 1936 Opel Kadett shows harmonious proportions with a hatchback and integrated headlights.

Like its big brother the Olympia, which it also resembles, the Kadett was a snazzy car. It was characterized by harmonious proportions with fastback and integrated headlamps. In 1938 a major mid-cycle enhancement added a new radiator mask in late art deco style– experts today count this model as an intermediate generation.

From Kadett to Admiral

“Just as agile, versatile and obedient to all the driver’s commands as you would expect of a career-making cadet,” wrote the Cologne newspaper, “Kölnische Zeitung,” in 1936 about Opel’s new car. Its name, “Kadett” was as new as the segment. Up until the debut of the first Astra in 1991 (see page 54), Opel’s compact class line would use this name for more than  five decades. The company launched two more ranges with names stemming from the German navy, Admiral and Kapitän, in 1937 and 1938.

Unitary body and ultra-modern production

After the Olympia, which was the first German series-production vehicle to feature a unitary all-steel body, the first Kadett also had a monocoque body. There are many advantages of this construction compared with the classic wooden body-on frame. For instance, the driving performance and fuel consumption benefit from the car’s low weight, while the safety level is higher thanks to the rigid passenger cell and the lower center of gravity. The self-supporting structure opened the door to a new production method that is still commonly used today: The body and the powertrain (engine, transmission, axles) are “married” on the production line with the help of hydraulic elevators. The Kadett was manufactured by Opel, in Rüsselsheim. In 1936, the company operated the most modern drop forge in the world and the largest body press shop in Europe.

Fresh design and innovative technology

Headlamps integrated into the body instead of the ancient separate lamp units gave the Kadett a fresh appearance. Not surprising, because it was Opel that first made modern car design popular in Europe. Back in the 1930s, shortly after the company’s integration into the General Motors Group, a design department was established in Rüsselsheim on the initiative of GM chief designer, Harley Earl.

Impressive from all angles: Opel Kadett was popular right from the start and is now a sought-after classic car.

Plenty of car for your money: As long ago as 1936, the first Kadett offered the same good value for money and thus democratized luxury. This has become typical of the Opel brand. Details such as hydraulic four-wheel brakes, direction indicator, draft-free ventilation through a triangular hinged window and “dustproof” trunk accessible from the inside were at that time very unusual for this category of car – in the Kadett, they were all standard.

The secret of the Kadett’s success: Modern design, outstanding spaciousness and innovative technology such as the unitary body construction.

The Kadett was the first Opel model to feature an in-house developed downdraft carburetor with a so-called venturi tube. In this tube, named after the Italian physicist, Giovanni Battista Venturi (1746–1822), the fuel is mixed into the incoming air ahead of the throttle valve. The venturi tube is a smooth-walled piece of tubing with a constriction in it. When air flows through the tube and passes the constricted section, it has to flow faster at this point than in the other sections. As a result, a vacuum is produced (as on the upper side of an aircraft wing). At the constricted point is a tube filled with gasoline. The fuel is sucked in by the vacuum in the venturi tube and dragged along.

At a glance

Series First generation Opel Kadett
Production period 1936–1940
Number 107,608 (Moskwitch: 247,439)
Body variants Two-door sedan
Four-door sedan
Two-door convertible
Engine Gasoline: 1.1 l/23 hp
Body/chassis design  Monocoque all steel body
Front wheel suspension Rigid axle, forged
Front wheel suspension/damping Dubonnet springs/shock absorbers
Rear wheel suspension Rigid axle, banjo type
Rear wheel suspension/damping Semi-elliptical leaf springs, hydraulic shock absorbers; “Normal-Limousine” (sedan) from 1937: semi-elliptical leaf springs, shock absorbers
Steering, type Worm segment steering
Wheels, type  Steel disk wheels
Tires, size (Base) 4.50 x 16
Length/width/height (mm) (Sedan) 3810 x 1375 x 1455 
Special-Limousine (from 1937)  3840 x 1375 x 1535
Normal-Limousine (from 1937) 3710 x 1375 x 1455
Wheel base (mm) (Sedan) 2337
Track width front/rear (mm)           1075/1168
Curb weight (kg)  757

The post-war generations: From Kadett A to the current Astra K

1962-1965: Opel Kadett A – For the economic miracle

A large trunk and plenty of room for four people plus a new, lively engine and low maintenance costs made up the recipe for success for the Kadett A. Opel built nearly 650,000 of them from 1962 to 1965. The contours of the two-door notchback model were businesslike and modern. The beltline was low down, the panoramic windows made for good visibility and a decorative strip running along the side accentuated the stretched form. Front fenders tapered off into the headlamps and the rear ends were shaped like fins. The interior space deeply impressed owners of conventional small cars. The trunk was a real baggage compartment and the fuel tank cap was outside! “Opel Kadett, in brief: O.K.,” wrote Opel’s advertising team, unable to also resist a dig at their competitors in Wolfsburg. “You never have the smell of gasoline in the trunk,” they said with a wink. With its modern, water-cooled front engine, the Kadett had another major design advantage over the Beetle. The 993 cm3 four-cylinder unit developed 40 hp and, from March 1963, also powered the new Kadett Caravan.

1965-1973: Opel Kadett B – “Das Auto”

B follows A, and in 1965 a new series replaced the first model. The new version was more than four meters long and thus a good deal bigger than its predecessor. As for its fashionable figure – the designers were inspired by their colleagues overseas. The flat sloping rear was reminiscent of the fastback models popular in the USA. In 1966, “Automobil Illustrierte” noted: “You can almost see the power and speed before you hear the engine.” Not only was the length stepped up – so, too, was the horsepower. Opel engineers enlarged the bore of the four-cylinder unit by 3 mm. The basic 1,078 cm3 unit developed 45 hp. Also available was a higher-compression 1.1 S engine with 55 hp.
The Kadett was a fast success, with over 2.6 million units produced from September 1965 to July 1973. And its success was certainly not limited to its country of birth. In 1966, the export quota reached 50 percent as customers from 120 countries around the globe snatched up the Kadett.

1973-1979: Opel Kadett C – The athlete

The Kadett C family had many faces: a smart family car, a chic second car with a practical rear tailgate, or a competitive sports coupé in war paint. A total of 1.7 million of them were built between 1973 and 1979. The rear-wheel drive Kadett C made its debut in August 1973 with a cleanly designed body and a new double-wishbone front axle. Characteristic design features included a flat radiator grille, an engine hood with the brand’s signature crease, and a front apron in spoiler form. “The Kadett not only drives exceptionally well, but is also conscientiously designed and cleanly made. It requires little maintenance, is repair-friendly and economical to run,” praised the car-testing experts at “auto motor und sport” in the 20/73 edition. The powerful GT/E debuted at the 1975 IAA. Its 1.9-liter engine with Bosch L-Jetronic injection produced 105 hp and propelled the mere 900 kilograms of Kadett to a top speed of 184 km/h.

1979-1984: Opel Kadett D – The front-wheel drive car

New epoch: Front-wheel drive and transverse-mounted engine celebrated their debuts in Opel compact class cars in the 1979 Kadett D.
The fourth generation of the post-war Kadett introduced a new compact class era at Opel. At the 1979 IAA, Opel’s first front-wheel drive model debuted as the modern-looking Kadett D. The packaging was truly convincing. Although the newcomer was 126 mm shorter than its predecessor at 3,998 mm, it sported a longer interior and offered significantly more space than many of its rivals. But it was not only the powertrain layout and the chassis with a torsion-beam axle at the rear that broke with tradition: the Kadett was given a new 1.3-liter OHC engine that generated 60 or 75 hp. The revolution continued with the body variants. In addition to the spacious station wagon with a load volume of up to 1,425 liters, Opel offered only fastback versions. In January 1983 the sporty Kadett GTE followed, with a top speed of 187 km/h and equipped with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that developed 115 hp. Other technical modifications included a tighter and lower chassis, new steering dampers and internally ventilated disk brakes at the front. A total of 2.1 million Kadett D units were produced from 1979 to 1984.

Great white: Opel Kadett D GTE with its sports chassis, Recaro seats and feisty 115 hp began hunting down GTIs in 1983.

1984-1991: Opel Kadett E – The aerodynamics world champion

Opel Kadett E: “Car of the Year 1985”

The second front-wheel drive Kadett, built from 1984 to 1991, was named “Car of the Year 1984” and was an absolute winner. Selling a grand total of 3,779,289 cars in its lifetime, it was the bestselling Opel so far and a real aerodynamics world champion. Opel engineers certainly hit the jackpot in 1984. Based on the engineering of its predecessor but with a completely new hatchback design, the Kadett E was set for a stellar career. With a drag coefficient of 0.39, the Kadett D was already best in its class, but this figure paled in comparison to its successor. After spending 1,200 hours of fine-tuning in the wind tunnel, the E model achieved a sensational 0.32. The sporty GSi, with a Cd of 0.30 and aerodynamic drag of 0.57 m2, was the most aerodynamic hatchback in the world. Buyers took to the new form after only a few months, paving the way for a new success story that provided the Kadett E with 625,000 new registrations across Europe in 1987. By this time, the station wagon version had already climbed to the top of its class. From the fall of 1985, a notchback variant was again in the line-up, the first since the Kadett C. Moreover, the sporty GSi variant was an icon in the making. When the legendary 16-valve engine arrived on the scene in 1987, it left its competitors eating dust.

1991-1997: Opel Astra F – The bestseller

Body variants of the ’91 Opel Astra F, 1991–1998.
Some 4.13 million Astra Fs were built between 1991 and 1997, making it the bestselling Opel model ever. Development work focused on combining modern design with more interior space, enhanced comfort and greater emphasis on environmental protection.

Opel Astra F with active belt system with pre-tensioners
The successor to the Opel Kadett assumed the name of its British sister model (the fourth generation of the Kadett had been sold in the UK as the Vauxhall Astra since 1980).

High safety as standard: Side protection with double steel tube reinforcements in all the doors.
Opel also launched a safety offensive with its new star. All Astras offered an active belt system with tensioners on the front seats belts, height-adjustable belts and seat ramps as well as side protection including double steel tube reinforcements in all the doors. For the first time, all engines came with catalytic converters.

1998-2004: Opel Astra G – The versatile car

In spring 1998, the Astra with coupé-like design was offered from the start as a three- and five-door hatchback and as a station wagon. A notchback sedan, coupé and convertible were added later. Progressive independent design, dynamic chassis and powertrain technology as well as nearly twice the torsional and flexural rigidity of its predecessor were just some of the characteristics of the completely new, second-generation Opel Astra. The new model’s fully galvanized body played a key role in its high value retention. Active safety was enhanced with a 30 percent increase in the light output of the transparent H7 halogen headlamps and the completely redesigned Dynamic Safety (DSA) chassis. It combined comfort with agile and safe handling, even under full load. The wheelbase was around ten centimeters longer, enabling more interior space, in particular more rear knee room in the rear and a larger trunk volume of 370 liters.

2004-2009: Opel Astra H – The mighty car

With twelve engines ranging from 90 to 240 hp and seven body variants, the choice of models for the Astra H that sold over 2.7 million units was exceptional. When it was launched in March 2004, the third-generation Opel Astra boasted a progressive design, high driving dynamics and plenty of technical innovations, immediately winning numerous comparison tests in specialist automotive publications. The Astra’s technological highlights included the adaptive IDSPlus chassis system with electronic Continuous Damping Control (CDC), otherwise only found in luxury class and exclusive sports cars, as well as Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL) Bi-Xenon headlamp system with dynamic curve light.

The Astra also boasted high levels of safety. The consumer protection organization Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) awarded the Astra the highest rating of five stars for adult passenger protection. With a total of 34 points, the bestseller was considered one of the safest sedans in the compact class.

2009 – 2015: Opel Astra J – The designer piece

Sculptural artistry combined with German precision – the Opel Astra J not only embodies the brand’s new design philosophy, it also assists drivers with a range of technologies that already made an important contribution to the success of the best-selling mid-class Insignia. The Opel Eye recognizes traffic signs and informs the driver of speed limits or overtaking bans. It also warns drivers if they are in danger of veering out of lane. With the AFL+ headlamp system, the Astra can look around the corner and, if necessary, even automatically dim the lights or switch to high beam. With a chassis that can be enhanced by the FlexRide adaptive technology, the current Astra can play out its dynamic talents to the full. A new rear axle construction guarantees driving fun, improved handling and maximum comfort, with a Watt’s link incorporated to improve wheel control. Astra drivers also benefit from a new generation of front seats developed according to the latest findings in safety ergonomics and are awarded with the seal of quality from the independent medical and back experts of the AGR (action for healthy backs) organization.

From 2015: Opel Astra K – Car of the Year 2016

Up to 200 kg lighter, roomier inside despite a reduced overall length, and more efficient thanks to exclusive use of new-generation engines – the new Opel Astra is a quantum leap in development and is crowned European Car of the Year 2016. The compact car is once again available as a hatchback and as a spacious Sports Tourer. Opel receive numerous orders even before the official world premiere at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show – to date, Opel has received 275,000 orders of the latest generation Astra.

Continuing a tradition that started with the Astra G, the new Astra K also stands out with its lighting technology. It is the first car to introduce the adaptive, Full LED Matrix technology IntelliLux LED – so far reserved for luxury and premium models from higher classes – into the compact segment. New generation driver assistant systems also comprise Traffic Sign Assistant (TSA), Lane Keep Assist (LKA) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW) along with Following Distance Indication (FDI) and Forward Collision Alert (FCA) with Collision Imminent Braking (CIB). In addition, the new Opel Astra K once again delivers on wellness with newly engineered ergonomic front seats, certified by the AGR (Aktion Gesunder Rücken) organization once more, being introduced. These new front seats can even be enhanced with a ventilation and massage function.