Opel already features a very well-rounded lineup that ranges from compact hatchbacks to crossover SUVs. One area that Opel simply couldn’t keep pace was the premium convertible segment, as BMW , Mercedes , and Audi pretty much had that segment on lockdown. With its corporate eyes focused on expansion, Opel chose to release an all-new full-size convertible that can compete with the aforementioned premium lineups.
This Opel Cascada is the first of its kind in the storied automaker’s lineup since the 1930s and really digs deep into the automaker’s sporting roots by offering up competent performance matched with great drivability. The true test for this new convertible 2-door vehicle is how well it stacks up against its fellow European brands. Opel is claiming that the new Cascada will also pull at the hearts of prospective buyers, thanks to a lower-than-average entry-level price.
So, has Opel launched the perfect balance of full-size premium convertible with a wallet-friendly price, or has it simply stamped out a cheap Audi A5 ?
Click past the jump to read our full review and find out.
As you approach this new drop-top coupe, you’ll notice that it carries itself very well and would look the part parked in a garage chock-full of BMW s and Audis. Its stylish front fascia boasts a pair of sharply styled headlight assemblies with integrated LED daytime running lamps. Between the headlights is Opel’s signature grille with a large chrome bar spanning its top-third.
At the base of the front fascia, you get a lower lip that boasts a fenced grille in the center. The grill e is flanked by a pair of fog lamps that are housed in what Opel calls “overturned sharkfin” elements.
The hood features a set of five ridges that give it a rather aggressive look from the front end. The ridges all start facing the center of the vehicle’s nose and shoot outward with the outermost ridges meeting the A-pillar, giving the hood a near flawless look.
The Cascada’s shallow-raked front glass helps usher airflow up and over the roof. Speaking of the roof, the company took great care in designing the fabric top, giving it a low-slung look that allows air to flow over it easily. The roof is also specially designed to handle temperamental climate, as it features polyester fleece between the inner and outer linings that act as both a superior insulator to outside temperature and a insulator of outside noises – a common complaint of most convertible owners.
Many times these full-size convertibles look great with the top down, but once you put the top up, they lose all of their charm. With the way Opel designed the top’s profile, this car looks sexy with the top up or down. Then again, that stellar side profile with the top up or down could also be attributed to the swooping waistline and ankle line that graces the side profile of the Cascada.
This awesomely styled top can go from open to closed in just 17 seconds, via an interior-mounted switch. It can also go up on the move, as it is safe to operate at speeds of up to 30 mph.
Around the back end, you get a pair of wraparound LED taillights that are connected via a chrome strip. The Cascada starts losing its charm as you proceed toward the ground on the backside, as the lower, rear fascia features nothing special and looks like the design team just mailed it in at that point.
Though the Opel Cascada is classified as a full-size convertible, it is relatively short in comparison to the BMW 6-series, measuring in at 4,697 mm (184.9 inches) long and 1,840 mm (74.2 inches) wide compared to the Bimmer’s 4,894 mm (192.7-inch) length and 1,894 mm (74.6-inch) width.
In terms of safety, Opel did not cheap out on us. It will fit the Cascada with pyrotechnic-activated rollover bars, a high-strength steel passenger cell, diagonally mounted high-strength door-reinforcement beams, and press-hardened steel A-pillars.
Color options are plentiful, as Opel offers up 10 different choices of body color and three different top colors. To help you further customize your Cascada, you can choose from a collection of various rims, ranging from 18 inches to 20 inches in diameter.
|Passenger Protection||High-Strength Steel Passenger Cell and Door-Reinforcement beams, and Press-hardened Steel A-Pillars|
|Overall Dimensions (LxWxH)||4,697 mm (184.9 inches) x 1,840 mm (74.2 inches) x TBD|
Inside the Cascada, Opel took its design to a whole new level. The soft-touch dashboard with contrasting stitching gives the Cascada a very luxurious look and feel, and it seems to flow effortlessly between the two door panels, thanks to careful crafting. The front seats are deeply contoured, so you seem to fall into them when you sit down and they wrap firmly around you without being overbearing. You can have these seats wrapped in embossed fabrics or leather. For the more discerning patron, you can opt for the ergonomic Nappa leather seating – available with heating and ventilation.
Accessing the rear seats is a breeze, using Opel’s Easy Entry system, which it did not elaborate on in the press release. Speaking of the rear seats, they fold at a 50:50 split via Opel’s FlexFold system, which includes electronic seat releases.
For drivers and passengers that like to bring along lots of little things on trips, the Cascada offers up seven storage units throughout the cabin. These little compartments include, but are not limited to: one in each door, one under the instrument panel and one between the front seats. The one between the seats is made possible because the Cascada comes standard with an electric parking brake.
One tradeoff with convertibles like the Cascada is the fact that their trunks typically do not hold too much cargo. Opel maximized its trunk space to a full 350 liters (12.4 cubic-feet) with the top up and an impressive 280 liters (9.9 cubic-feet) with the top down. The top-down capacity is still 0.3 cubic-feet less than the A5 convertible, but still acceptable.
One thorn in the Cascada’s side is its center stack layout – yeah, we preach this a lot. It is a massive mess of buttons and knobs all crowned by a color screen that runs the navigation system. That’s the only real complaint that we can come up with on the Opel’s interior… Not too shabby.
|Standard Seating||Embossed Fabric|
|Cargo Space (Top Up/Top Down||350 liters (12.4 cubic-feet) / 280 liters (9.9 cubic-feet)|
Engine and Drivetrain
The Opel Cascada will come with a slew of engine options, starting out with its entry-level 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. This small 4-banger engine pumps out 140 PS (138 horsepower) and 220 Nm (162 pound-feet) of torque. This kind of power from a small-displacement powerplant is possible, thanks to the engine’s overboost feature.
The next step up in engines in the Cascada is the 2.0 CDTi engine. This 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder diesel plant pumps out a decent 165 PS (162 horsepower) and 380 Nm (280 pound-feet) of torque.
For now, the top-level engine in the Cascada lineup is the 1.6 SIDI Ecotec engine. This 1.6-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine pumps out a stout 170 PS (167 horsepower) between 1,650 and 3,200 rpm, and 280 Nm (206 pound-feet) of torque.
In the future, Opel intends to bring more powerful engines to the Cascada lineup, but for the foreseeable future, these are the available engines. This lineup really puts the Cascada well below the engine lineup in the Audi A5, but we will wait and see what new engines Opel will roll out as time passes.
In terms of transmission, there’s not too much information to give. We do know that there will be a 6-speed manual transmission and a pair of 6-speed automatic transmissions available. There is no mention of what transmissions will link up to the base-level engine, but we do know that the 2.0 CDTi engine will feature either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic and that the 1.6 SIDI engine will come only with a 6-speed, low-friction automatic gearbox.
Engine and Driveline Specifications:
|Engine||Engine Format||Transmission Options||PS (Horsepower)||Torque||Fuel Economy||CO2 Emissions|
|1.4||1.4-liter Turbocharged Petrol 4-Cylinder||TBD||140 PS (138 Horsepower||220 Nm (162 pound-feet)||TBD||TBD|
|2.0 CDTi||2.0-liter Turbocharged Diesel 4-Cylinder||6-Speed Manual or 6-Speed Automatic||165 PS (162 Horsepower||380 Nm (280 pound-feet)||TBD||TBD|
|1.6 SIDI Ecotec||1.6-liter Turbocharged Petrol 4-Cylinder||6-Speed Low-Friction Automatic||170 PS (167 Horsepower at 1,650 to 3,200 rpm||280 Nm (206 pound-feet)||TBD||TBD|
Handling and Braking
The chassis and underbody of the Cascada have been drastically upgraded over the model previous drop-top model, the Astra TwinTop. These modifications include crossed steel bars on the underbody and strengthened rocker panels, which increased the Cascada’s body stiffness by 43 percent and it is 10 percent less prone to body flex than its smaller Astra counterpart.
The Cascada boasts Opel’s impressive HiPerStrut front suspension system, which helps separate steering a dampening, thus lowering the vehicle’s torque steer and increasing the feeling of the vehicle’s steering. The Cascada features electric power steering that is brought to life by being mounted directly to the steering rack, giving it a better feel than most other electric power steering systems.
Every 2013 Cascada will come standard with Opel’s FlexRide system, which automatically makes minor changes to suit your driving style and the road surface. There are three driver control modes that override this system, which we assume are “Comfort,” “Regular” and “Sport.”
The standard brake system is not mentioned, but Opel does tell us that the Cascada can be yours with up to 326 mm (12.83-inch) and 325 mm (12.75-inch) rotors on the front and rear, respectively.
Handling and Braking Specifications:
|Front Suspension||HiPerStrut System|
|Front Brakes||Up To 326 mm (12.83-inch) Discs|
|Rear Brakes||Up To 325 mm (12.75-inch) Discs|
|Steering System||Rack and Pinion w/ Electric Power Steering|
Pricing and Release Date
Opel has yet to release a base MSRP, but we anticipate it to come in around £26,000 ($41,984 at the current exchange rate) to remain below the Audi A5’s base MSRP. The Cascada will begin delivery in March 2013.
Well, it is rather obvious who Opel is going after with the new Cascada: the Audi A5 . Sure, it can be compared to the BMW 6-series convertible, but it is closer to the size of a 5-series. In terms of the Audi A5, Opel simply comes up short in the engine department, as Audi offers up a slew of engines. The engines start at the 170 PS (167-horsepower) 1.8 TFSI engine and range up to the super-powerful 270 PS (266-horsepower) 3.0 TFSI engine, plus a handful of eco-friendly diesels.
In pricing, we just don’t know what Opel will come up with. The A5 cabriolet starts out at £29,455 ($47,563), so the Cascada needs to come in at a far lower price to pull buyers away from a premium line like Audi.
We love the way the Cascada looks on the inside and out, sans the center stack. However, under the hood, the Cascada falls drastically short of our expectations. Sure, Opel is looking into expanding the engines to include more powerful options, but why release it without those more potent options available? For now we’ll reserve judgment on the car as a whole and just say that we love its looks and features, but we question Opel’s planning by releasing it with the promise of future engine upgrades.
- Beautiful on the inside and outside
- Finally, a more wallet-friendly alternative to Bimmer and Audi
- Tons of standard goodies
- Well-engineered convertible top
- Way too underpowered for its class
- Empty promises of a more powerful engine
- Lack of fuel economy numbers is a bit troubling
- Deceptive"Lifetime" warranty
Gallery Opel Cascada
- Vauxhall’s new convertible set to revitalise full-size convertible segment -* Classic lines combine with outstanding body stiffness and HiPerStrut suspension -* All-new 1.6 turbo petrol engine heads up broad powertrain range -* Multi-layered fabric hood ideal for UK winters or top-down Cote d’Azure cruising -* All Cascadas come with Vauxhall Lifetime Warranty.
Luton – Vauxhall today released full pictures of its Cascada full-size convertible that will launch the company into a fourth new sector this year, following on from its Ampera, Mokka and ADAM models.
The Cascada is a full four-seat, fabric-roof convertible which at nearly 4.7 metres in length is longer than an Audi A5 Convertible and positions Vauxhall in a sector that it hasn’t occupied since the 1930s.
Cascada’s design team, headed by Brit Mark Adams, has created a car with classic lines, redolent of the Grandes Routieres (luxury touring cars) of a bygone age, matched with a capacious cabin and high-quality materials.
An all-new 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, producing 170PS and 280Nm of torque, and marking the first outing of Vauxhall’s MGE (Mid-Size Gasoline Engine) family, will be the highlight of a four-engine range.
Crucially for weather-hardened UK buyers, there will be a high-quality fabric hood, with superior acoustic and thermal insulation thanks to a special layer of polyester fleece between the outer and inner linings. Making the Cascada a practical year-round car, the hood can be opened in just 17 seconds at speeds up to 30mph by an interior switch, or via a button on the key fob.
Cascada’s dynamic credentials will be highlighted by an immensely rigid body, which is torsionally 43 per cent stiffer than Vauxhall’s last open-topped car, the Astra Twin Top. It will also use the much-praised HiPerStrut front suspension which was initially used on the 325PS Insignia VXR.
‘Cascada is set to change people’s perception of Vauxhall once again,’ said Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director. ‘The full-size convertible sector tends only to be occupied by very high-priced cars from premium manufacturers. With Cascada, we’re offering customers high levels of equipment, technology and luxury but at an affordable price.’
At 4697mm long and 1840mm wide (excluding mirrors), Cascada has a broad stance and elegant lines. With the top down, it has a perfectly clean profile with no roof-top cover or visible roll-over protection disturbing the car’s silhouette aft of the steeply-raked A-pillar.
The subtle ‘blade’ on the Cascada’s lower body side is mirrored by a sharp crease that swings upward and meets with the wraparound rear light cluster. A gently rising waistline is highlighted by a chrome strip that borders the cockpit, marking the boundary between roof-top and body.
‘Most convertibles look good with the top down, but many seem clumsy with their roof up,’ said Malcom Ward, Vauxhall’s British Director of Exterior Design. ‘Thanks to its high quality, aerodynamically clean soft top with a perfect, seamless profile, the Cascada cuts a fine figure when it’s closed.’
Sculpted with a purposeful power bulge, Cascada’s bonnet tops a deep front grille with bold chrome applications. The fog lights are carried in two overturned ‘sharkfin’ elements, which are enhanced by chrome inserts. Using LED technology, the daytime running lights in the headlamps and the rear lights incorporate Vauxhall’s ‘wing’ signature. In the rear, the LED modules are diffused to give a solid and sharp light signal – typical of cars in the premium sector. A chrome strip linking the boot-mounted light units matches a similar bar across the front of the car.
The Cascada’s fabric roof can be specified in one of three colours, which can be coordinated with one of ten body colours.
The Cascada’s cabin mixes the well-equipped functionality of an Insignia’s interior with handcrafted modules not found in any other Vauxhall.
Wrapped in a soft-touch material with high-quality stitching, the instrument cluster tops a wing-shaped panel which flows into the doors and frames the area around each front occupant. All-new, deeply contoured seats are available in a range of embossed fabrics and leathers, and customers have the option of ergonomic, Nappa-leather trimmed seats, which can be heated or ventilated. An Easy Entry system allows access to the rear seats, and electric seat belt presenters make securing front occupants less of a chore.
With a minimum load volume of 280 litres with the roof down, and up to 350 litres roof up, the Cascada is an exceptionally practical convertible. In addition, the rear seats benefit from Vauxhall’s FlexFold system, which electrically releases and folds down the 50:50 split rear seats, allowing longer objects to be carried with ease.
In the cabin, several large storage spaces are available: one in each door and one under the instrument panel, and thanks to the use of a standard Electronic Park Brake across the range, a further cubby is located between the front seats.
Chassis and dynamics
Maximising torsional stiffness in a convertible’s body is critical to maintaining a high standard of vehicle dynamics. Despite being significantly larger, the Cascada’s body is 43 per cent stiffer torsionally and 10 per cent more resistant to bending forces than the Astra TwinTop, Vauxhall’s last open-topped car. Impressive underbody reinforcement comprises crossed steel bars and strengthened rocker panels, which also contribute towards a significant reduction in NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness).
Distinguishing the full-size Cascada from the compact-class Astra TwinTop is a wheelbase which is 71mm longer and front/rear tracks which are 56mm and 70mm wider respectively, benefiting handling and stability.
Vauxhall’s HiPerStrut front suspension, first used in the 325PS Insignia VXR, will also be standard across the Cascada range. The system separates damping and steering functions, reducing torque steer, while also improving steering feel and cornering control. In addition to this, the Cascada’s electric power steering module is mounted direct to the rack for greater feel and precision.
Also available across the Cascada range is FlexRide, Vauxhall’s fully adaptive chassis control system, which automatically adapts to suit driving style and prevailing road conditions, or can be over-ridden with one of three driver-controlled modes.
The Cascada can be equipped with a range of wheels, from 18- to 20-inch in diameter, mated to brake disc sizes up to 326mm (front) and 325mm (rear).
A broad range of powertrains will be available from launch for the Cascada.
At entry level, a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine produces 140PS, and up to 220Nm thanks to an overboost function.
Vauxhall’s efficient and powerful 2.0 CDTi (165PS) diesel engine, which can also be found in Insignia and Zafira Sports Tourer models, is available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, producing up to 380Nm of torque on overboost.
But the highlight of Cascada’s engine line-up will be the all-new 1.6 SIDI Turbo ECOTEC petrol engine. The first production engine from Vauxhall’s MGE (Mid-Size Gasoline Engine) family, the unit offers major improvements in torque, linearity and overall efficiency. It produces a maximum 170PS from 1650-3200rpm and 280Nm of torque, again thanks to an overboost function. Initially this engine will only be available with a new, low-friction automatic six-speed gearbox.
More powerful versions of both petrol and diesel engines will be launched in the Cascada in due course.
The Cascada brings together all Vauxhall’s latest, innovative technology as part of the UK offer. This includes options like: AFL+ (Adaptive Forward Lighting) with up to 11 automatic lighting functions; Front Camera System, including Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Following Distance Indication and Forward Collision Alert; rear-view camera; heated steering wheel; Hill Start Assist; Side Blind Spot Alert.
Using an extremely rigid passenger cell made mainly from high-strength steel, the Cascada is designed for the least deformation and largest possible survival space in the event of a crash. Its doors have diagonally-mounted ultra-high strength steel beams and beltline reinforcements. The A-pillars supporting the windscreen are made from press-hardened steel. And in the event of a roll-over incident, pyrotechnically activated, spring-loaded high strength bars automatically deploy behind the rear seats. These pop-ups are also triggered during other severe impacts, eg. when airbags are deployed. Front seats both benefit from two-way active headrests and double seat belt pre-tensioners; even the two rear seats benefit from seat belt pre-tensioners.
Cascada pricing will be announced in line with order banks opening at the start of next year. First UK deliveries will be from March 2013.
As with all Vauxhalls, first Cascada owners will benefit from Lifetime Warranty, lasting the life of the car or up to 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.