Opel presented the Insignia, an automotive vision of the future and a design study with a new formal concept, for the first time at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (September 13 to 21, 2003). In addition to its progressive, elegant and dynamic design, the Insignia features numerous innovations including extensive use of LED lighting technology and unique pantograph-action doors and tailgate.
The driver-oriented, rear-wheel drive concept car can be transformed from a comfortable four-seater for day-to-day business purposes, into a sporty five-seat transport vehicle for weekend activities, family and recreation. The 344-hp aluminum V8 engine gives it a top speed of 155 mph (electronically controlled), with acceleration from zero to 60 mph in under six seconds.
The impressive radiator grille represents pride in the brand in three-dimensional form – a reference to the big cars that have always been part of Opel’s tradition. It is milled from solid aluminum and flanked by large air intakes, thus dominating the front end and conveying an unmistakable sense of confidence. This is an Opel with genuine power under the boldly styled hood, accentuated by a characteristic crease down the middle and a V-shape that flows from the A-pillars, thus creating a strong link to the honeycomb-grille. Four sturdy crossbars (the top one carrying the prominent Opel emblem) emphasize the grille’s significance in the front-end design.
The Insignia comes in even more guises. Continuing the long tradition of innovative interiors at Opel, for instance the Zafira’s Flex7 system with fully retractable third-row seats or the multiple configurations of the Meriva and Signum FlexSpace concepts, the Insignia features yet another new idea: The section of the center tunnel that separates the two individual rear seats can be moved back under the trunk-floor to reveal a folded seat that can be raised electrically to make the Insignia a five-seater. The tunnel, covered with fine leather with exclusive Macassar ebony wood inlays conceals even more secrets: The designers have integrated a DVD player with folding screen, a cool-box large enough for two bottles of champagne and a humidor for storing fine cigars.
The future potential of the pantograph mounting and lever principle used for the two rear doors is also obvious. With its help, even large doors can be opened in small parking spaces or garages. Like a sliding door but without the sliding rails, the doors move parallel to the body rather than swinging outwards. Because of their advantages, pantograph hinges with two pivot points have often been tried in automobiles, but this is the first time that the door has been successfully realized without multiple levers and without destroying the harmonious styling.