Thursday, 31 March 2016

!NEW! Opel Astra TCR Celebrates Race Debut in Bahrain

  • TCR International Series 2016 kicks off on the Bahrain International Circuit
  • Target Competition with two Opel Astra TCR driven by Jordi Oriola and Andrea Belicchi
  • Testing under special conditions

Campaign opener in Bahrain: Two Opel Astra TCR of Team Target Competition will compete for this first time this season.
The opening race of the Touring Car Racing (TCR) International Series in Bahrain on April 2 and 3 will not only mark the start of the second season of the competition, it will also see the start of a new chapter in 

Opel’s touring car tradition. Two new Astra TCR cars, run by the Italian Target Competition Team, will take to the track in the kingdom on the shores of the Persian Gulf. Thirty-nine-year-old Italian veteran Andrea Belicchi and 19-year-old Spanish youngster Jordi Oriola will be behind the steering wheel of the customer racing cars from Rüsselsheim.

Opel drivers: Italian veteran Andrea Belicchi (39) and 19-year-old Jordi Oriola from Spain will be behind the steering wheels of the 330hp Astra TCRs.
In the light of the specific external conditions on the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, built in the middle of the desert around 30 kilometers from the capital Manama, the Target Team will face a tough challenge. The expected temperatures of over 40C represent a substantial challenge for the engine cooling system, the turbocharger, the transmission and the brakes. Tire wear will also be a major topic in the desert heat. The 5.412km-long Bahrain International Circuit consists of six left and eight right-hand corners together with four straights, the longest being the finishing straight with a length of around 1.1km.

The Astra TCR is thus facing it first major challenge. The technical staff of Opel Motorsport and Target Competition made significant progress in relation to the vehicle set-up during the final test drives on the Spanish Valencia circuit. 1993 German Touring Car championship winner and former Formula One driver Nicola Larini also stated that the Opel Astra TCR “has a very good handling”. Larini was responsible for test all the TCR cars of the different brands to create a basis of the “Balance of Performance” (BoP).

BoP uses the key elements weight and engine performance to create a balance between all vehicle concepts and thus give every carmaker the chance to field a competitive car for customer sport. Equal opportunity is one of the key characteristics of the TCR (Touring Car Racer Series) that was developed for five-door compact class cars with a maximum engine displacement of 2.0 liters. Another major factor in favor of the TCR is the possible use of the vehicles in a multitude of national and continental championships in addition to the global TCR International Series. Three races of the international competition, including the one in Bahrain, will be held as part of the Formula 1 Grand Prix supporting program. Each round of the TCR consists of two heats.

Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott is already excited ahead of the Astra TCR’s competitive debut but is also managing expectations. “We are a newcomer to the TCR series with our Astra and will definitely need a bit more time to further optimize the vehicle. Furthermore, the conditions in the desert are unique. Therefore, we should treat the two races in Bahrain as another important test. We aim to learn as much as possible to have a fine-tuned the Astra TCR as soon as possible after the races.”

For customer racing: Opel Astra TCR is based on the serial production Astra and benefits from its lightweight construction and outstanding aerodynamics.

!NEW! Buick Introduces All-New LaCrosse in China

Adds new styling, comfort, safety and connectivity

All-New Buick LaCrosse was launched in Guangzhou.

SAIC-GM introduced all-new Buick LaCrosse in China. The LaCrosse is available in six trims, with an option of a 1.5T or a 2.0T engine – and is priced between RMB 225,800 and RMB 339,800.

The Buick sedan has built an image based on comfort, quietness and quality, as well as attention to safety. The all-new LaCrosse builds on a strong global heritage, with more than 950,000 worldwide sales since 2009.

“The all-new LaCrosse incorporates innovations in design and technology, signaling Buick’s future vision in these important areas. It ushers in an exciting new era for the brand in China – its largest market,” said SAIC-GM President Wang Yongqing.

Trend-setting exterior

All-New Buick LaCrosse
The all-new LaCrosse is the first production vehicle to adopt the next evolution of Buick design. Inspired by the award-winning Avenir concept, it maintains the distinguishable features associated with the LaCrosse nameplate.

All-New Buick LaCrosse - Tri-shield insignia, waterfall grille 
Its new wing-shaped chrome front grille with a large opening distinguished by the return of a three-color – red, silver and blue – Buick tri-shield insignia, is accented by wing-shaped elements set against darkened waterfall grille bars inspired by the 1954 Wildcat II concept. It is complemented by LED headlamps and taillamps.

All-New Buick LaCrosse - LED headlamps

All-New Buick LaCrosse - LED taillamps and ducktail spoiler
The traditional Buick sweep-spear bodyside seamlessly connects with the ducktail spoiler, enhancing the profile and contributing to the sedan’s dynamic stance.

Spacious and stylish interior

All-New Buick LaCrosse -  Stylish interior
The cockpit has a horizontal form that sweeps across the instrument panel and into the doors. Together with its 2,905 mm wheelbase, this creates more space for the driver and passengers. It also supports 29 flexible storage spaces and a large trunk with room for four suitcases.

All-New Buick LaCrosse - Flexible storage spaces
In addition, it incorporates a “floating” center console that positions the controller for the new Electronic Precision Shift high and close to the driver, while creating storage space below the console for items such as a handbag or tablet.

All-New Buick LaCrosse - Electronic Precision Shift
It features the brand’s Contemporary Moon White ambient lighting system for a quiet and relaxing environment. Attention to detail includes soft materials for practically every touchpoint; French stitching on the seats, instrument panel and more; and aluminum sill plates and wood decorative trim – depending on the model.

Engineers leveraged local consumer data insights to finesse seating development to meet the needs of Chinese customers. For the first time, Buick LaCrosse comes with heated/cooling rear seats that include the massage feature. The seats adjust automatically.

All-New Buick LaCrosse - Heated / Cooled rear seats with the massage feature

The all-new Buick LaCrosse has a quiet and refined interior. Thanks to its flowing bodyline and active grille shutters, which open and close automatically to control airflow, the car has a drag coefficient of 0.29 that minimizes wind noise and helps improve fuel efficiency. In addition, it incorporates noise-damping features such as upgraded QuietTuning, Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Liquid Applied Sound Deadening (LASD) materials.

Latest-generation powertrains

Customers have a choice of two of GM’s latest-generation powertrain combinations. They incorporate stop/start technology and the brake energy recovery system for even better fuel efficiency. In addition, the all-new LaCrosse is the first model to adopt Electronic Transmission Range Selection (ETRS) with paddle shifters, which assist with responsiveness and durability, while also saving space and improving drivability.

Buick 2.0T SIDI engine

The all-new Buick LaCrosse 28T has a high-performance 2.0T SIDI engine, a Ward's 10 Best Engine. Combined with an all-new six-speed DSS intelligent transmission, the engine produces maximum output of 192 kW at 5,400 rpm and peak torque of 350 Nm at 2,000-5,000 rpm. It accelerates from 0-100 km/h in only 7.4 seconds.

Buick 1.5T SIDI engine 
The all-new Buick LaCrosse 20T comes with an efficient 1.5T SIDI engine that produces maximum output of 125 kW at 5,600 rpm and peak torque of 252 Nm at 2,000-4,000 rpm. Mated to a seven-speed DCG intelligent dual-clutch transmission, the engine consumes only 6.2 liters of fuel per 100 km, making the sedan eligible for the Chinese government’s 50 percent purchase tax cut for vehicles with small-displacement engines. 

Comprehensively upgraded chassis

All-New Buick LaCrosse - Upgraded chassis
Another highlight of the all-new Buick LaCrosse is its comprehensively upgraded chassis. Its optimized MacPherson front suspension has a class-leading decoupled three-link upper suspension structure and a redesigned eight-point full-length sub-frame. The multi-link independent rear suspension has seven sets of bushes and rear suspension stabilizer bars to support a smooth ride.

Its second-generation CDC active suspension comes with hardware and software updates as well. This allows for improved maneuverability and comfort with the help of the specially tuned sport mode, high-performance anti-noise tires, redesigned Electric Power Steering (EPS) and GM-Exclusive Ferritic Nitro-Carburizing (FNC) technology that also expands the life of brake rotors.  

With 41 percent of its body made from ultra-high-strength steel, the all-new Buick LaCrosse is 200 kg lighter than its predecessor. However, it maintains the previous generation’s optimized safety and stability to exceed the highest five-star safety rating standards.

Adding to the safety are the Bosch ESP 9.1 electronic stability system with 21 expandable functions, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), an Electric Parking Brake (EPB) and dual-stage pre-crash seatbelts with dynamic spring bolts. The top-of-the-line trim level adds 10 airbags.

All-New Buick LaCrosse - Pedestrian Detection
Five new functions – Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Following Distance Indicator, High Beam Alert and Advance Park Assist – have been added to the previous-generation LaCrosse’s seven intelligent safety functions to further enhance protection.

Trend-setting intelligent technology

All-New Buick LaCrosse - User friendly HMI
The all-new Buick LaCrosse employs a range of user-friendly human-machine interactive technologies along with eight in-car data lines. Buick’s upgraded IntelliLink infotainment system is complemented by the new-generation OnStar full-time online assistant, which can now be connected with 4G LTE through an original built-in integrated system.

All-New Buick LaCrosse - IntelliLink infotainment system
The user-friendly operating system provides a stable Wi-Fi hotspot with a stronger signal than ordinary smartphones. Up to seven mobile devices can be connected simultaneously. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Baidu CarLife.

All-New Buick LaCrosse - Full-color Head-Up Display (HUD)
Adding to the comfort and convenience for the driver and passengers are a full-color head-up display (HUD) and Bose Centerpoint surround sound system that has been adapted for the all-new Buick LaCrosse.

All-New Buick LaCrosse - Bose Centerpoint surround sound system
It also comes with remote engine start, keyless entry and keyless start, a high-resolution 8-inch frameless flat touch screen, four USB ports, Bluetooth hands-free calling and the Air Quality System (AQS) with a highly efficient PM2.5 filter.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

!NEW! All-New Buick LaCrosse Upgrades Computing Power

New electronic control system lays foundation for intelligent power, handling, safety and connectivity

All-New Buick LaCrosse
At a time when the world’s attention is focused on a computer program capable of defeating a professional board game player, the automotive industry is also embracing a new era of in-vehicle electronic and software advances. 

Vehicle safety, comfort, fuel efficiency and connectivity technologies are influenced at least in part by electronic control modules within the vehicle. A car’s electronic system manages a constant influx of data for many of its most important components – from an engine’s fuel injection system and the car’s windshield wiper motor, to the operation of advanced active safety features like Pedestrian Detection.

All-New Buick LaCrosse - Pedestrian Detection
The all-new Buick LaCrosse, pioneers advances for the brand in connectivity and safety. Its all-new, more robust electronic control system – an integral part of these features – includes eight in-car data Controller Area Network buses (CAN bus) that act similarly to an eight-core brain, enabling the interaction of the vehicle’s electronic systems, microcontrollers, sensors and software to perform handling, safety and connectivity operations seamlessly for the owner.

When a vehicle is in motion, a vast amount of data is being rapidly transmitted and calculated to generate instructions that are often unnoticed by the driver, such as data from the transmission as it shifts gears or even temperature sensors to alter in-cabin comfort. That is why an efficient and capable electronic control system is needed for today's increasingly smarter vehicles.

In an automobile, the electronic control layout works similarly to the central nervous system in a human being. At its core, in-car data buses form a Local Area Network (LAN) to connect the nodes and sensors of the different Electronic Control Units (ECUs). Data buses allow vehicles to detect their surrounding environment and control corresponding functions such as slippery road conditions for traction control.

While data buses serve as “messengers,” ECUs play the role of an in-vehicle computer. There are 31 ECUs distributed in the all-new Buick LaCrosse, while its predecessor utilized only 17 ECUs. This optimizes calculating efficiency. In order to facilitate the handling of large quantities of data, a specific data bus is arranged to connect ECUs, each of which can process data independently.

All-New Buick LaCrosse Offers Smart Features

The current Buick LaCrosse has been the segment leader in China in the introduction of intelligent safety features that include Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Change Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Collision Imminent Braking.

The all-new Buick LaCrosse introduces additional safety functions such as Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Following Distance Indicator, High Beam Alert and Advance Park Assist.

The all-new Buick LaCrosse has upgraded the hardware and software of its intelligent safety systems. It features a Megapixel Front Camera, all-new long-distance radars and sensors, and added External Object Calculation Modules (EOCM). The previous distributed intelligent safety mechanism has now become an integrated one, ensuring a faster and more precise decision-making process.

For example, if the all-new Pedestrian Detection system identifies a pedestrian directly ahead and a collision is imminent, the system alerts the driver and, if necessary, automatically applies the brakes to help reduce the collision’s severity or avoid the collision.

The second-generation Continuous Damping Control (CDC) system scans road conditions at a frequency of 100 times per second, with real-time damping adaptations made accordingly to guarantee optimized comfort and handling.

New Landscape: Intelligent and Connected

Thanks to its IntelliLink infotainment system, the all-new Buick LaCrosse has a fully upgraded system that is both intelligent and connected. It is not only compatible with Apple CarPlay and Baidu CarLife, but also benefits from OnStar with 4G LTE. Its built-in Wi-Fi hotspot allows the connection of as many as seven devices simultaneously. IntelliLink ensures reliable networking services with a convenient and user-friendly operating system.

All-New Buick LaCrosse has a fully upgraded system that is both intelligent and connected.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

!NEW! 2017 Buick Encore Gets Latest Tech, Sculpted Design

New Full LED headlights, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto for Buick’s bestseller

Buick introduced the new 2017 Encore, strengthening the appeal of America’s most popular small SUV with more refined styling and new connectivity technology – including available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

2017 Buick Encore

A new front-end appearance and a new premium interior highlight the visual refinements, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported by a next-generation IntelliLink system featuring an 8 inch-diagonal color touch screen.

2017 Buick Encore - Premium interior
Push-button start, keyless unlock via the exterior door handles and an 8-inch color touchscreen highlight the Encore’s roster of new standard features.

“The Buick Encore created the premium small SUV segment and remains the top choice for customers seeking premium features and dependability coupled with timeless design,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick Sales, Service and Marketing. “In a rapidly evolving segment, the Encore continues to lead with smart, purposeful updates and a new level of technology-infused elegance and refinement.

Introduced in 2013, the Encore quickly carved out a niche of its own, offering the premium features typically associated with larger luxury SUVs but with greater maneuverability. It quickly rose to the top of the fast-growing small SUV market, topping it in 2014 and 2015.

Encore was Buick’s best-selling vehicle in North America in 2015, accounting for nearly a third of overall sales. Its sales were up 34 percent for the first two months of 2016, extending a year-over-year sales increase streak to 26 months.

Overall, SUVs now account for approximately 60 percent of all Buick sales, up from 34 percent prior to the introduction of the Enclave in 2007. Starting this summer with the arrival of the Envision – which slots directly between the Encore and Enclave – Buick will offer SUVs in the market’s three most popular segments.

The 2017 Encore goes on sale this fall, initially offered in five trim levels: Encore (1SB), Encore Sport Touring (1SH), Encore Convenience (1SD), Encore Leather (1SL) and Encore Premium (1SN). Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available.

It is the fourth all-new or significantly updated Buick coming in 2016, joining the Cascada convertible, Envision compact SUV and LaCrosse sedan.

Sculptural Beauty

2017 Buick Encore - LED signature tail lamps
The new design features the sculptural surfacing and elegant line work that continues to distinguish the Buick brand. The addition of the winged grille with Buick’s new tri-color insignia, new front headlamps and rear LED signature tail lamps contemporize the Encore and set up the visual flow around the entire vehicle. Uplevel models receive Buick’s full LED headlamps, which provide efficient, clear lighting of the road ahead.

2017 Buick Encore - Full LED headlamps
“Sporting cues first shown on the award-winning Avenir and Avista concepts, the 2017 Encore embraces Buick’s modern design aesthetic,” said Holt Ware, design director, Buick Exteriors. “The Encore is a crossover known for its presence – the appearance is sleek, muscular and modern.”

Also new are a chrome exhaust outlet, body-color heated outside mirrors, a new 18-inch wheel design and three exterior colors: Black Cherry Metallic, Ebony Twilight Metallic and White Frost Metallic.

Premium interior

Building on Buick’s reputation for premium and quiet passenger environments, the 2017 Encore elevates with a new interior design and a greater emphasis on material selection, placement and subtle details like bright accents and contrast stitching.

2017 Buick Encore - 4.2 inch color driver information center and 8-inch color touchscreen
An updated instrument panel flows across the interior and incorporates a new gauge cluster with a 4.2 inch-diagonal color driver information center. Also, a new center stack blends with the instrument panel to offer more intuitive access for the user interface and its new, frameless 8 inch color touch screen.

IntelliLink is designed to support the latest interface technologies, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Buick’s connectivity also includes OnStar 4G LTE with a Wi-Fi hotspot, which is now standard across the brand’s U.S. model line. With the 4G LTE connection, Encore allows passengers to connect up to seven devices to high-speed wireless Internet.

“As a representation of modern Buick styling, the Encore’s cabin is sophisticated in look and feel, and precise in its execution,” said Liz Wetzel, design director, Buick Interiors. “The instrument panel and center stack forms are artfully sculpted, while offering an effortless interface with the infotainment technologies.”

Core features

All 2017 Encore models offer room for five and up to 48.4 cubic feet (1,371 liters) of storage space with the 60/40 split rear seat folded. Standard features include 10 airbags, StabiliTrak stability enhancement and a 1.4L turbo four-cylinder/six-speed automatic powertrain.

A unique 1.4L Turbo with Direct Injection, more power, more torque and stop/start technology is available on most trims.

EPA estimates will be announced at a later date.

Buick’s exclusive QuietTuning is standard on all models and includes Bose Active Noise Cancellation technology. Encore also offers available active safety features including Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Park Assist, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning.  

FAST FACT: Encore was named Best Compact Crossover/SUV in Kelley Blue Book’s 2016 5-Year Cost to Own Awards – the third consecutive year for the accolade.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

!NEW! Seat Engineering at Opel: High-Tech Perfection with a Long Tradition

  • Robot tested: Outstanding ergonomic AGR seats for Astra, Insignia and Meriva and co.
  • Second row comfort: Heated rear seats make new Astra debut
  • Learning curve: From box seat to 18-way adjustable seat with massage function in 117 years

Bernd, Werner, Oliver and Marius are full of enthusiasm for their task – repeatedly they rub over the side bolsters of the seat underneath them before simulating getting in and out while scrubbing across the leather. Somewhat stubborn and relentless but at the same time completely dedicated. Bernd, Werner, Oliver and Marius are inspection robots in the test lab of the Opel International Technical Development Center in Rüsselsheim. To be more precise, they consist of a friction pad covered with a jeans-like material and a foam layer that simulate the human posterior and thighs. “They are more than just robots for us – they are fully qualified members of the team. They perform an important job and therefore they all have names,” explains seat specialist Andrew Leuchtmann, Senior Manager Interiors at General Motors Europe.

The robot team simulates gets into and out of cars 50,000 times a week – equivalent to an entire lifecycle of a car. Both the premium and ergonomic seats targeting the seal of approval from the back specialists of Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V. (AGR) as well the integrated comfort seats that come as standard are subjected to this ordeal. After the tests, the engineers can recognize whether the seats will be able to withstand future strains just by looking at the fabric structure. “The color has normally faded and the surface is scratched but the most important thing is that the foam underneath is ok and that the surface structure remains stable,” says seating expert Leuchtmann. If this is not the case, the premium and ergonomic seats Opel offers for the driver and front passenger need to be upgraded – after all, there have to last an entire car life, no matter whether it is in the Mokka, Cascada, GTC, Meriva, Zafira Tourer, Astra or Insignia.

“This is where we obviously benefit from our great experience,” says Leuchtmann. After all, the Rüsselsheim-based carmaker can look back on 117 years of seating heritage. The success story of ergonomically valuable sitting began in 2003 with the first AGR seal of approval for the Opel Signum, making Opel the first manufacturer to offer back-friendly seats in the middle class.

The offensive for healthy sitting at affordable prices was rolled out across the model range. Especially long distance and company car drivers are grateful for the system. The numerous settings available allow the AGR certified premium seats in the Opel Insignia to be perfectly adjusted for each driver, ensuring that they are relaxed and symptom-free even after many hours at the wheel. Since 2003, Opel has made democratizing good seats one of its missions and is the leading volume manufacturer in regards to ergonomic seats with the AGR seal of approval.

The new lightness of sitting in the Opel Astra Sports Tourer

Lightweight: AGR seats in the new Opel Astra have shed 10 kilograms in weight thanks to ultra-high-strength steels.
The structure is the most important component of the seat. It ensures the safety of the occupants and keeps them in the right position in case of an impact. However, at the same time is also normally responsible for the considerable weight - not so in the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer. The seats have shed 10 kilograms in weight thanks to ultra-high-strength steels. The engineers know exactly how much weight they can take out safely before even starting on the first prototype thanks to a computer simulation. Darker colors show stress peaks in the material that could lead to a breakage. “We really pushed our limits on the Opel Astra Sports Tourer and experimented a lot,” says Leuchtmann. Amongst others, numerous welding tests were necessary. “You can no longer weld if the material is too thin,” says the engineer.

Comfort guaranteed: The numerous setting possibilities ensure that everybody can find the ideal position. 

Once the first prototypes have been built and the fabrics or leather for the covers selected, Werner and colleagues can start their work. But before that, the team calculates to the load level the robots need to apply to the test subject. Furthermore, a team of experts consisting of men and women of different size and build are asked to take a seat with a pressure mat measuring the peak loads, for example where the sit bones make contact. “We test it with prototypes in the real car,” explains Leuchtmann. “Opel Meriva seat for example is higher and you enter differently than you do the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer where the seats are lower.” Testers also sit differently on a premium or ergonomic seat. Because of the especially good lateral guidance, the side bolsters are higher and therefore under more stress. The data obtained results in an average calculation for stress and Werner and co can be programmed accordingly.

Mobile wellness: Massage and ventilation function along with electropneumatically adjustable side bolsters and lumbar support make the AGR seats in the new Opel Astra true all-rounders. 
Nine human seating experts are also at work in parallel. They, for example, drive around in a new Opel Astra Sports Tourer – for hours on end and for countless kilometers. They test the four-way electropneumatically adjustable lumbar support, the extendable thigh support or the massage function, complete a comprehensive survey and give a subjective overall grade. Serial production can only start when the last weakness has been eliminated.

Opel Meriva first vehicle to receive AGR certificate for integral ergonomic system

The development of a new seat takes around five years – of those, the team invests two years in the implementation of new concepts. This was also the case for Opel’s flexibility champion, the Meriva. It is the first and to date only vehicle with the AGR seal of approval for its integrated ergonomic system. This includes the ergonomic seats along with the 84-degree opening FlexDoors, the versatile FlexSpace seat concept for the rear seats and the optional FlexFix bicycle carrier. Or take the Astra Sports Tourer for example. Thanks to advance development, which also considers customer feedback along with comments posted in forums and blogs, the optional FlexFold rear seatback that can be split in a 40:20:40 ratio at the touch of a button could be realized. Furthermore, heated outer rear seats are available as an option for the first time. The added level of comfort will ensure that the next major trip with family or friends is more relaxing.

To ensure that Opel maintains its frontrunner position in seating development, the engineers are already working on the next generation of the premium and ergonomic seats behind closed doors. “Maintaining our ‘knowledge head start’ over our competitors and consistently extending our production know-how is vital,” insists Leuchtmann. “That is why we develop as much as possible internally and even have some components delivered by our own plant in Kaiserslautern.” The front seat structures are made entirely at the Kaiserslautern plant. The near vicinity to Rüsselsheim also has logistical advantages. The goal is clearly defined: Seats of the future will be even more ergonomic, even lighter, even more stylish and even safer. “We still have a lot of new ideas on how the contouring can adapt even more individually,” reveals the expert. “And there is still more to come on the massage front.” The fact that further Opel models with premium and ergonomic seats will follow seems to be a matter of course especially as the company looks to democratize good sitting further. 

Historical Overview of Opel seat Engineering

1899 – The box seat: The whole Opel Patent Motor Car System Lutzmann including the seats is reminiscent of a carriage. The seats cannot be adjusted.

1929 – Lower position: 30 years later, the Opel 4/20 “Moonlight Roadster” still comes with a firmly fixed bench. However, the position is considerably lower and the passengers can stretch their legs.

1950 – More comfortable: The seats of the Opel Olympia are fixed to a metal frame and the longitudinal position can be adjusted. The backrests of the front seats can be folded forwards to facilitate rear seat passenger ingress/egress.

1956 – Continuous longitudinal adjustment: The continuously adjustable front bench and the adjustable backrests of the Opel Kapitän are a further milestone. The backrests can be set to the optimum position by pulling a lever and simultaneously applying pressure.

1968 – Sporty: The legendary Opel GT gets sporty contoured seats with integrated headrests. Extended cushions and a significantly improved shoulder section show which way development is heading.

1970s – Headrests: Opel optionally fits certain model ranges with headrests – such as the Monza, the Kapitän/Admiral/Diplomat models or the Rekord C and D. The Opel Diplomat B comes with height-adjustable comfort headrests, which can even be tilted forwards.

1978 – First height adjustable seat: Opel Monza drivers can adjust the height of the seat with ease thanks to a telescopic rod.

1994 – Safety with a capital ‘S‘: The seats in the Opel Omega B are comfortable and as an option electrically adjustable. The reinforced rear backrests and the side airbags make an important contribution to passive safety, crash tests with a load are conducted for the first time. In the rear, all three seats come with three-point seat belts and headrests.

2003 – The first AGR seal: The Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V. (Campaign for healthy back) gives the 18-way electrically adjustable multi-contour driver seat in Opel Vectra/Opel Signum its sought-after seal of approval. Opel is the first carmaker to offer back-friendly seats in the midsize class.

2008 – Comfort seats: The standard comfort seats in the Opel Insignia offer numerous setting possibilities – the height can be adjusted by 65 mm (electric) whereas adjustments of 270 mm are possible in longitudinal direction – outstanding figures. The premium driver seat is AGR certified.

2012 – Ergonomic total concept: FlexDoors with an opening angle of 84 degrees, AGR-certified ergonomic seats and the FlexFix bicycle carrier convince the AGR experts and they award the Meriva with their seal of approval. The first and still only serial production car to receive the certificate for its overall concept.

2015 – Compact class wellness: For the first time the AGR-certified premium ergonomic seats of the new generation Astra are not just 18-way adjustable including side bolster adjustment but are also optionally available with further comfort features such as massage and memory function along with ventilation

Friday, 18 March 2016

!NEW! Automated manual transmissions: Automatic comfort for everyone

  • Automated manual gearboxes are affordable-alternative to automatic transmissions
  • Lower fuel consumption than manual five-speed gearboxes
  • Easytronic 3.0 available in Opel KARL, ADAM, Corsa and new Astra

Attractive: Easytronic 3.0 automated manual gearbox is an affordable alternative to a conventional automatic transmission for the Opel ADAM, Corsa and KARL.
Smaller cars are popular in big cities where traffic is dense and parking spaces tight. However, the enthusiasm of even the biggest small-car fans can wane after spending hours in traffic jams. After all that decoupling and shifting between first and second gears, they frequently wish for the luxury of an automatic transmission.

Automatic transmissions that select the right gear ratio without any driver intervention are very comfortable and very easy to use. However, they are often too expensive for most drivers of smaller cars. The difference in price between cars with manual or automatic transmission can be thousands of euros.

Fortunately, drivers of small cars don’t need to give up completely on a little luxury. An automated manual transmission, based on a manual gearbox with an automated gear-shifting system, is an affordable, efficient alternative to a conventional automatic transmission for small or compact cars.

Easy to operate, economical on the wallet: Thanks to the automatic shift function, Opel Easytronic 3.0 is more comfortable than a manual gearbox and also enables lower fuel consumption.
Although automated manual transmissions cannot reach the highest comfort levels of full automatics, they do offer considerably easier operation than manual gearboxes because of their automatic shift-actuation. Automated manual transmissions also enable lower fuel consumption.

Smooth operator: The wide spread of five gears on the Opel Easytronic 3.0 transmission reduces engine speeds for pleasant acoustics.

The latest generation of automated manual transmissions, such as the Easytronic 3.0 from the German automobile manufacturer, Opel, are particularly advanced, providing not only enhanced shifting comfort and drivability but also optimized functions such as “creep” and “launch”.

Compared with previous automated manual transmissions, Easytronic 3.0 impresses with smoother gear shifts and reduced reaction times. In addition to automatic mode, Easytronic 3.0 also offers manual gear shifting via simple movement of the gearshift lever.

Silky smooth: The latest generation of Easytronic impresses with reduced reaction times enabling quicker and smoother gear shifts.
The wide spread of the five gear ratios reduces engine speeds for pleasant noise levels, especially at higher speeds. “Creep” mode for slow-speed maneuvers is similar to that of an automatic transmission, and the special start/stop function enables rapid starts and acceleration.

For optimum fuel economy Easytronic 3.0 automatically selects the most fuel-efficient gear and is combined with Start/Stop technology that reduces fuel consumption even further especially in urban areas. In combination with Easytronic 3.0 the new Opel Astra 1.0 Turbo ecoFLEX is one of the most fuel efficient gasoline cars in its class, consuming just 4.2 liters per 100 km (96 grams CO2/km) in the NEDC combined cycle.

Opel offers the Easytronic 3.0 automated manual transmission in the KARL, ADAM and Corsa family of small cars, as well as the all-new Astra, the 2016 European Car of the Year.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

!NEW! All-New Opel Astra Sports Tourer: The Station Wagon with that Little Bit Extra

  • More room, less weight: The clever lightweight construction
  • Comfortable, practical, smart: New seat architecture and tailgate opening via a kick
  • Athletic, elegant, well-conceived: The design of the future station wagon bestseller
  • Fast, powerful, efficient: Latest generation turbocharged diesel and gasoline engines
  • Ultramodern, connected, safe: Opel OnStar, new IntelliLink and IntelliLux LED Matrix 

All-New Opel Astra Sports Tourer 
Opel is continuing its success story in the compact class with no less than two new models: after the successful market launch of the five-door version of the new generation Astra a few months ago, the Sports Tourer variant is now eagerly waiting in the wings and will be at dealerships in the spring. Opel has already received more than 130,000 orders for the five-door and Sports Tourer variants. The youngest member of the compact class station wagon generation follows a tradition to which Opel has continuously been loyal since it introduced its first Kadett A CarAvan in 1963. So far, 5.4 million of the 24 million Kadett and Astra sold have been station wagon versions.

10 generations of Opel compact station wagons 

The new Astra Sports Tourer is the 10th generation of an Opel compact wagon. It comes with the same trendsetting development features as its five-door sibling. The Astra Sports Tourer is based on a completely new lightweight vehicle architecture that will make it up to around 190 kilograms lighter than the outgoing model. Given that the station wagon will also be combined with the latest generation engines, the Astra Sports Tourer will be punchier, livelier and more fun to drive. Simultaneously, fuel consumption has been curbed giving it convincing attributes for company car and frequent drivers who often look to both practical and representative station wagons.

Just like its five-door sibling, the Astra Sports Tourer will be available with Opel OnStar and the new IntelliLink infotainment systems ensuring that it has an ultramodern and extensive connectivity offer. The same applies to the numerous safety and assistance systems along with the equipment features previously only known from cars from higher segments. And last but not least, the new Astra Sports Tourer will turn heads with its elegant, lean and athletic styling. The aerodynamics and interior demonstrate perfectly just how intelligent the design and the entire packaging are. With a cd-value of 0.272, the Astra Sports Tourer is just as efficient as the five-door version. Furthermore, the newcomer has exactly the same dimensions as the outgoing model but is considerably more spacious inside. Occupants can enjoy more headroom, more legroom in the back and loading space has been increased by 80 liters to 1,630 liters in total. In general, the new Astra Sports Tourer offers more all-round comfort. This makes the Astra Sports Tourer the perfect car for everyday use as a comfortable company or a multifunctional family car.

All-New Opel Astra Sports Tourer & Opel Astra hatchback
“Our new Astra Sports Tourer and our new Astra hatchback – they are two sides of the same coin. Both represent a quantum leap for Opel and for the compact class. Apart from offering ultramodern connectivity and evolutionary design, the station wagon version focuses even more on efficiency,” said Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “Our Sports Tourer is the perfect combination of practicality and dynamism: more space, less weight and in addition clever, trendsetting equipment details and features such as the power tailgate that opens and closes automatically with a little kick of the foot. This is how compact class station wagons should be nowadays.”

Easy access: A kicking motion under the rear bumper and the power-tailgate opens automatically.

Efficient packaging: Athletic design with amble space

The new Opel Astra Sports Tourer impresses with its athletic appearance. Just like its five-door sibling, it takes Opel’s design philosophy ‘Sculptural Artistry meets German Precision’ to the next level: efficient, light and dynamic. The newly designed double chrome bar on the grill carries the Blitz and the front headlamps melt into the radiator grill to form a graphic unity. The Sports Tourer further extends the dynamic lines of the 5-door. The slightly arched sloping roofline gives the station wagon a longer appearance – an effect that is further enhanced by the divided C-pillar. The rear view combines high functionality with sporting, elegant design. The Opel Astra Sports Tourer has a stable, robust and safe stance – the muscular rear-wheel arch contours and the divided rear light clusters add to this impression.

All-New Opel Astra Sports Tourer - Opel ‘wing’ signature LED Rear Lights
The latest generation Sports Tourer has almost the same dimensions as the outgoing model with a length of 4,702 millimeters, a width of 1,871 millimeters (with exterior mirrors folded in) and a height of 1,510 millimeters – however, it offers much more space for passengers and luggage. The driver can enjoy 26 millimeters of additional headroom, passengers in the rear have 28 millimeters more legroom – two convincing improvements for spatial perception and travelling comfort. In addition, it can now shoulder 1,630 liters of luggage thanks to the efficient packaging.

Clever and variable: Loading space improvements that help on a daily basis

Opel offers an extremely practical novelty for the new Astra Sports Tourer, which will help on a daily basis: for the first time, the tailgate can be opened without a touch or a remote control. In combination with “Keyless Open” a simple small kicking motion under the rear bumper is enough to open the tailgate. A further kicking motion under the bumper will close the tailgate. The clever system can detect any obstruction and stops the mechanism in case of emergency. Furthermore, the tailgate can still be opened by a switch on the driver’s side of the car, buttons in the luggage compartment or via the key’s remote control.

Flexible loading space configurations: In order to increase loading space when necessary, new Opel Astra Sports Tourer comes with optional 40/20/40 foldable rear seats.
In order to increase loading space the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer comes with optional 40/20/40 foldable rear seats enabling even more flexible loading space configurations. Furthermore, the FlexOrganizer product range with side rails, dividing nets and various fastening options is available and an option so that all loaded materials can be stored safely and tidily.

FlexOrganizer product range with side rails, dividing nets and various fastening options is available and an option so that all loaded materials can be stored safely and tidily.

Lightweight construction + new generation engines = great driving fun and economy

Each Opel Astra Sports Tourer component was looked at with practicality and efficiency in mind. This is not only visible when it comes to the efficient use of space but especially when it comes to the weight. Compact design on the in and outside and the lightweight bodyshell helped the station wagon shed up to 190 kilograms. High-strength and ultra-high-strength steels, modifications to the axles, to the front and rear along with new production process all played a part in the impressive result.

All-New Opel Astra Sports Tourer - Lightweight design 
The entry-level Opel Astra Sports Tourer weighs just 1,188 kilograms (excluding driver) and is thus lighter than before. This obviously has a positive effect on agility, ride comfort, consumption and costs.

All-New Opel Astra Sports Tourer - Chassis and steering 
The engine portfolio with outputs ranging from 70 kW/95 hp to 147 kW/200 hp (fuel consumption and CO2 emissions combined: 6.2-3.4 l/100 km; 142-89 g/km) also adds to the aforementioned virtues. The Sports Tourer will only be powered by engines of the latest generation. The diesel and gasoline engines with a displacement range of 1.0 to 1.6 liters all combine highest efficiency with excellent responsiveness.

A new engine in the portfolio is the two-stage turbocharged top-of-the-range 1.6 liter diesel. The especially compact 1.6 BiTurbo CDTI with 118 kW/160 hp develops its maximum torque of 350 Nm from only 1,500 rpm. The superiority of the common rail engine comes from the sequential, two-stage turbocharging. A small VGT (variable geometry turbine) turbocharger is responsible for the exemplary responsiveness without “turbo lag” in the low rpm range. The Astra Sports Tourer with the 1.6 liter BiTurbo under the hood only needs 8.1 seconds to accelerate from 80 to 120 km/h. But it is not only powerful – it is also frugal and in combination with six-speed manual transmission, Start/Stop and low-rolling-resistance tires, only needs 4.1 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (109 grams of CO2 per kilometer).

1.6 CDTI BiTurbo with 118 kW/160 hp develops its maximum torque of 350 Nm from only 1,500 rpm.

With this brand new powertrain, the diesel offer in the Astra family is now extended to four power levels, all based on the similar 1.6 displacement, with 70 kW/95 hp, 81 kW/110 hp, 100 kW/136 hp and 118 kW/160 hp.

Five different gasoline engines are available for the Astra Sports Tourer including the all-aluminum 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo and the 1.4 liter, four-cylinder turbo. The new 1.6 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo that will celebrate its premiere at the IAA is the top-of the-range engine available for the Astra Sports Tourer. The 147 kW/200 hp direct injection turbo unit mobilizes an impressive 300 Nm of torque (with overboost, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions combined: 6.0 l/100 km, 139 g/km, with low-rolling-resistance tires).

Money-saver: Premium quality, low total cost of ownership

However, the outstanding efficiency proposed by the new Astra is not only linked to the innovative powertrain technologies. Thanks to ultra-modern production methods and high-quality materials, it reaches an excellent level of quality – attributes that also have a positive impact on the total cost of ownership, where the new Opel Astra also sets the standard in its class. Predicted residual value of the Opel Astra Sports Tourer 1.4 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo Business CDTI Business is up around seven percent or €2,485 over a five-year period and 100,000 kilometers. In total, savings add up to €3,374.

The Opel Astra Sports Tourer 1.6 CDTI Business with 81 kW/110 PS goes one better with a predicted residual value of 48.8% after three years or 90,000 kilometers respectively – almost twelve percent or €3,465 more than the previous model. This sees the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer climb to the top of the total cost of ownership table – no competitor is more cost-conscientious and economical. The attractive terms for the Business models along with generous service intervals of 30,000 kilometers, play just as important a role as reduced fuel consumption.

Innovative technologies: Safety, comfort and connectivity taken to a new level

All-New Opel Astra Sports Tourer - IntelliLux LED Matrix light 
Apart from impressing with ultramodern, trendsetting engine, the new Opel Astra Sports Tourer also sets new standards in safety, infotainment and comfort. The intelligent IntelliLux LED Matrix light in the new Opel Astra is another absolute novelty in the compact segment. It enables permanent extra-urban driving with glare-free high beams and automatically and continuously deactivates individual LED modules when oncoming traffic or a vehicle immediately ahead are detected. The area around the light source is simply masked out and the rest of the road remains brightly illuminated. The groundbreaking system thus increases the active safety of all road users while also bringing additional comfort to the Opel Astra Sports Tourer driver when driving at night.

Permanent high beam: Opel IntelliLux LED Matrix light is adaptive; it recognizes a vehicle approaching or immediately ahead and blanks them out.
Numerous innovative assistance systems drawing on the latest generation Opel Eye front camera offer the driver further support – starting with the more extensive and precise Traffic Sign Assist over Lane Keep assist, that even offers active steering corrections in case of an emergency, right up to the Forward Collision Alert with Collision Imminent Braking.

Forward Collision Alert: If the gap shrinks below a safe distance, it warns the driver with a loud audible alarm, a visual warning in the instrument cluster and an LED projection on the windscreen.
On the inside, another unique element for the compact segment can be found: Opel OnStar, the personal connectivity and service assistant, serves as a guardian angel for the driver and passengers.

In addition, two new IntelliLink systems will be introduced. The latest generation of the infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Plug and play: Navi 900 IntelliLink is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone integration.
Elsewhere, frequent and long distance drivers will be able to enjoy additional comfort with the new AGR certified premium ergonomic seats with side bolster adjustment, massage and memory function along with ventilation.

All-New Opel Astra Sports Tourer - AGR certified premium ergonomic seats
Passengers in the rear can also look forward to an additional optional comfort feature with seat heating being available for the two outer rear seats.

All-New Opel Astra Sports Tourer - Rear seat heating buttons and two USB charging ports
The Astra Sports Tourer is traditionally responsible for around 30 percent of Astra sales in Europe. The main customers are company car drivers along with families who want to combine practical loading space solutions with high travelling comfort. The biggest markets for the versatile station wagon, which has been available for order since last fall, are Germany, the UK and Italy.