With two world premieres and a host of new exciting models, the Vauxhall stand will be one of the star attractions at this year’s Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris (October 2 – 17), the most visited motor show in the world.
Some 1.5 million visitors will get a chance to see the GTC Paris – a stunning new concept car – the new Astra Sports Tourer, the latest new Meriva diesel models, as well as the recently announced Start/Stop Corsa ecoFLEX model. There will also be the very latest Ampera development car on display, as its on-sale date in the UK draws ever closer.
World Debut: The GTC Paris, Vauxhall’s new concept combines Speed and Beauty
“And the speed was pure beauty.” This simple line from the novel, Jonathan Livingston Seagull inspires the vision around Vauxhall’s newest concept car, the GTC Paris and is laser etched into the upholstery of both front seats.
The name, GTC Paris, evokes both the character of the vehicle and the fashionable city where it will have its debut. With its dramatic proportions and sculptural shapes the GTC Paris showcases an expressive, sporty compact hatch.
The Sports Tourer will be the second model to join the new Astra range, which has now sold over 28,000 units in the UK (to end of May) since its launch last December, and has helped the Astra become Britain’s best-selling retail range in the first five months of this year.
Combining high levels of practicality, clothed in a typically sleek and rakish body from Brit Mark Adams’ design team, the Sports Tourer is available to order now and will arrive in UK showrooms at the end of October.
Illustrating the depth of Vauxhall’s engineering and manufacturing excellence in the UK, the Sports Tourer will be assembled solely at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire, while its new upper-body structure has been 100 per cent engineered at Vauxhall Engineering Centre in Bedfordshire. And like the recently launched Astra hatch, the Sports Tourer will feature key dynamic elements tuned for UK roads.
Packed with clever features, the Astra Sports Tourer maintains the hatch’s wheelbase (2685mm), yet its superior packaging has allowed the maximum load length to be increased by 28mm to 1835mm, and its load volume by 30 litres to 500 litres with the rear seats up.
As well as boasting a cargo area with flat wall linings to fully optimise available space, a new FlexFold feature (standard or optional depending on trim level) allows each section of the 60:40 split-fold rear seatbacks to be lowered at the press of a button housed in the walls of the cargo compartment. In addition, with the rear seat cushions folded up against the front seat-backs, the Sports Tourer has a completely flat load floor and a maximum load capacity of up to 1,550 litres. A further new addition is the Easy-Access Cargo Cover which effortlessly slides upwards and away at the touch of a button.
Also starring at Paris are the latest new Meriva diesel models, which complete the engine line-up for this groundbreaking car. The two ultra-efficient units together boost the range’s green credentials and offer yet more performance than before. This brings the total number of engines in the Meriva range to seven, comprising three petrol and four diesel units.
The first new addition is a 94bhp 1.3 CDTi engine, which will power all Meriva ecoFLEX models. Featuring closed-loop combustion control, the 1.3 CDTi (94bhp) uses a variable geometry turbocharger and is mated to a gearbox with taller ratios. As a result, the Meriva ecoFLEX’s emissions drop to 119g/km and it achieves fuel consumption on the combined cycle of 62.8mpg – a 9 per cent improvement over the 1.3 CDTi engine in the Meriva’s previous range. The 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX joins the 1.3 CDTi (74bhp), which was available from launch.
For those Meriva buyers after more performance, but who still require the efficiency and economy expected from a modern diesel, the new 1.7 CDTi (128bhp) has all the answers. With up to 300Nm of torque available from 2,000-2,500rpm, the Meriva’s most powerful diesel takes just 9.9 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph and will hit a top speed of 121mph.
But brisk performance hasn’t come at the expense of economy. On the combined cycle, the 1.7 CDTi (128bhp) still achieves 54.3mpg and C02 emissions of just 138g/km, made possible by a comprehensive package of efficiency upgrades.
All 1.7 CDTi (128bhp) Merivas have six speed manual gearboxes as standard and provide a more performance-focused alternative to the existing 1.7 CDTi (99bhp), which is available as standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The new Corsa ecoFLEX is the first Vauxhall to feature Start/Stop technology, enabling the new Euro 5-compliant 1.3 CDTi (74bhp) models to achieve 70.6mpg – a near 5mpg, or more than 7 per cent improvement – on the combined cycle.
Compared with the outgoing Euro 4, 1.3 CDTi (74bhp) engine, the addition of Start/Stop technology and Euro 5 emissions compliance has brought a 9g/km reduction in CO2emissions, down to 105g, as well as a 20Nm increase in torque to 140lb ft. All Start/Stop cars are also fitted with a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter), which traps harmful particulates.
The principle of Start/Stop is simple: instead of the engine idling at traffic lights or at a level crossing, the engine will automatically stop when the driver engages neutral and releases the clutch pedal. When the traffic lights turn green, the driver simply presses the clutch pedal to re-start the engine, engage first and move away. Naturally, the car’s ventilation, power steering and braking system performance is maintained while the engine is temporarily off.
Vauxhall’s goal is to offer the first extended-range electric vehicle in Europe. And the latest Ampera development car on Vauxhall’s Paris show stand proves that the brand is on schedule to launch this revolutionary car in early 2012.
The Ampera extended-range electric vehicle will be the first emission-free, electrically driven car in the UK suitable for everyday driving. With its unique electric propulsion system providing lively acceleration and high levels of refinement, the five-door Ampera seats four passengers, offers a useful boot for their luggage, and features an extended range of around 350 miles. The Ampera will be well-suited to the daily driving schedule of most European customers. For example, approximately 80 percent of UK drivers travel less than 40 miles per day.
The Ampera’s wheels are driven by electricity at all times and speeds. For trips up to 40 miles, power is supplied by the electricity stored in the 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery. While driving on electricity delivered by the battery, the Ampera emits zero CO2. When the battery’s energy is depleted, a petrol-fuelled engine-generator seamlessly provides electricity to power the electric drive unit while simultaneously sustaining the charge of the battery. This mode of operation extends the total range to approximately 350 miles, until the battery can be recharged (in about three hours at 240v) by plugging the vehicle’s on-board charge system into a standard household outlet. Unlike a conventional battery-electric vehicle, the Ampera eliminates range anxiety. It gives drivers the confidence and peace of mind that a depleted battery will not leave them stranded.
More than 280 lithium-ion cells in the T-shaped battery pack provide ample power. The nearly silent electric drive unit delivers 370Nm of instant torque, the equivalent of 150PS, zero to 60mph acceleration in around nine seconds, and a top speed of 100mph.