Saturday, 1 November 2014

!NEW! Precise and Comfortable: New Opel Corsa E, the Small Car with High Standards

• Newly designed chassis provides more comfort, pleasure and safety 
• New steering with precise feel for the road, City Mode for maneuvers
• From test track to road: Fifth generation Corsa passes toughest tests

Chassis engineers in charge of developing the fifth generation Opel Corsa have set to themselves the objective of delighting future customers with a driving experience comparable to the one provided by larger, more expensive cars in terms of comfort and precision. They have lowered the center of gravity of the new Corsa by 5 millimeters and completely redesigned its chassis and steering systems. 

“The chassis of the new generation Corsa does not inherit a single component from the previous model. We turned every conceivable setscrew to achieve a better drive experience with new levels of comfort, precision and pleasure. At the same time, we concentrated on finding the optimal balance between enjoyable dynamics and predictable, safest road-handling,” said Michael Ableson, Vice-President Vehicle Engineering Europe. 

New Opel Corsa chassis raises the bar for comfort, fun and safety

In addition to its 5 millimeter lower center of gravity, the Corsa receives a new, stiffer, redesigned chassis. The front MacPherson suspension has a new geometry with new front knuckles which improve the vehicle’s roll behavior, steering response and understeer behavior. A new, reinforced sub-frame increases torsional rigidity, while dual strut mounts provide improved responsiveness on uneven surfaces. Furthermore, the new spring rates and damper characteristics in the front reduce the pitching moment during sharp braking maneuvers. This results in the Corsa remaining controllable in case of emergency braking, even for inexperienced drivers. The rear axle torsion bar has been redesigned too, and an enhanced stabilizer has been added to reduce tilting for a better cornering compliance and stability.

Corsa customers can choose between two chassis set-ups, the standard ‘Comfort’ and the more active and direct ‘Sport’. The Comfort chassis is featured with 14 to 16 inch wheels. The Sport chassis has stiffer springs and shock absorbers as well as a specific steering geometry and calibration for a more direct response. It is optional with 16-inch wheels and comes standard on Corsa models equipped with 17-inch wheels.  

New steering system with numerous innovations

In order to improve directional stability, the Opel engineers changed the mounting points of the rack-and-pinion steering shaft and optimized its geometry. A newly constructed mounting for the steering column saves space which is filled with additional padding material and increases driver safety in case of a collision. Furthermore, the steering column possesses special impact absorbers.

The development of a completely new electrical architecture for the fifth generation Corsa enables a more sophisticated level of interaction between its various systems. An optimized software for the electrical and speed-dependent power steering adds additional possibilities. For instance, all new Corsa are equipped with a new standard ‘City’ steering mode that allows reducing steering effort at low speeds for easing maneuvers. The City mode is activated at the press of a button located on the center console.

Furthermore, the active cornering component of the Corsa’s steering aids the driver in crosswinds and on convex roads. Amongst others, the software is fed with the data from the ninth generation Electronic Stability Program (ESPPlus). This system contains no less than eleven different functions, including, for example, the new Hill Start Assist (HSA).

Elsewhere, the fifth generation of the Opel bestseller can be fitted with an Advanced Parking Assistant (€580 including VAT). This system recognizes parallel and perpendicular parking spaces and takes over the steering, meaning that the driver only has to control the pedals.

Well-rounded: Brakes and wheels

The base new Corsa comes with 14-inch steel rims and 185/70 tires. In combination with a turbocharged engine (1.0 Turbo, 1.4 Turbo and 1.3 CDTI), the new Corsa is always fitted with 15-inch or bigger wheels. However, the Opel bestseller can optionally be ordered with 17-inch rims and 215-wide tires. The standard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TMPS) display warns the driver in the event of excessive pressure loss in one of the tires.

The braking system consists of ventilated front and solid rear discs which can easily cope with high stress. The pedal feel is distinguished by the exactly defined pressure point and excellent controllability. The braking systems is assisted by electronic aids that permanently receive information for the ABS/ESP sensors. For example, the systems recognizes if the braking maneuver is being performed while cornering and distributes the braking force to all four wheels depending on the load. 

A car’s life in high speed: Fifth generation Opel Corsa at the test center 

The engineers in Opel’s Test Center in Dudenhofen have tested the new generation Corsa extensively over thousands of kilometers before allowing it to be presented to the customers. The Opel Development Team pushed the new Corsa to its limits during the tests: the development prototypes had to master 40,000 kilometers on the torture track, the high speed circuit and in hilly terrain, equivalent to 160,000 kilometer on “normal” demanding roads. Within only 24 weeks, these development prototypes are put through burdens that a production car would normally only encounter during its entire life cycle.

The new Corsa was asked to prove its resilience time and time again on the torture track. The track delivers exactly what its name promises: more than 900 meters of potholes, humps, the “washboard“, a cobbled section and a pavé track. It’s a really tough test for the chassis, which will most probably never go through such torture in real life – but the Corsa mastered it comfortably. To put the steering, transmission and brakes to the test, the new Corsa also successfully completed the hill track many thousand times. 

On Dudenhofen’s 40-degree banking circuit without lateral forces engineers can test the stability at high speed. Another circuit that is used during the testing procedure has rising and falling gradients, ranging from eight to 30 percent, with different road surfaces and a serpentine section including hairpin turns – similar to conditions found in alpine mountains. 

The endurance test, which all new Opel models are put through, was decisive for the new generation Corsa. The longest track at the test center offers many different road surfaces including asphalt and cobblestones, bumps and numerous curves. Here engineers test if the performance and quality they fine-tuned and approved in the development vehicles have been successfully transferred to the production vehicles. This final quality control ensures that any minute disturbances or doubts are erased, thus guaranteeing that the new Corsa reaches the customers perfectly aligned with the stringent performance and quality targets set at the beginning of its development.

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