2018 Vauxhall GT X Experimental
Surprisingly beautiful!by Ciprian Florea, on
The Vauxhall GT X Experimental is a concept car that previews the company’s next-generation design language. The same cues will be used by sister company Opel in the 2020s.
It’s been a while since the British company that produces rebadged Opel and Chevrolet models made headlines. Barely known outside the United Kingdom, Vauxhall usually only made the news when it rolled out performance-rated models equipped with the "VXR" badge. Come 2018, and the Brits came into the spotlight with an original concept car. It’s called the GT X Experimental, and it’s a tiny, four-meter-long EV that combined styling characteristics of compact SUVs, hatchbacks, and coupes. It’s also the brand’s first semi-autonomous vehicle.
2018 Vauxhall GT X Experimental
Vauxhall GT X Experimental Exterior
- Coupe-style compact SUV
- Clean, simple design
- Thin LED lights
- Three-tone paint
- Looks sporty overall
- Will inspire production cars
Up front, the fascia is a big transparent screen through which pop out the thin LED headlamps and the "Griffin" badge
The concept car looks a bit unusual at first glance. Measuring only four meters in length and sporting a somewhat tall ride height, the GT X Experimental is confusing to look at. Is it a hatchback? Is it a mini crossover? Well, it’s a bit of both. And on top of that, it has a coupe-style roof and beefed-up rear haunches.
Besides the weird, somewhat confusing layout, the concept car boasts surprisingly simple design cues for a show car. Up front, the fascia is a big transparent screen through which pop out the thin LED headlamps and the "griffin" badge. The bumper below is almost featureless, with only the thin and wide grille disrupting the simple, clean design.
But Vauxhall was pretty clever here, as both the apron and the hood have more organic and muscular cues. It’s the kind of design that takes you by surprise and a breath of fresh air among modern vehicles.
Not only sporting an intricate design, the wheels appear larger than they are
Onto the sides, the contrasting story continues with clean fenders and doors and organic rear haunches and roof section. The latter boasts a coupe-style design, but it’s also combined with an unusual glasshouse area. While most crossovers have proper quarter windows behind the rear doors, this one lacks this traditional feature. A good decision if you ask me, as it gives the profile a sportier look.
This is also where the car’s complex paint scheme comes to life. While the center section that includes most of the fenders and doors are painted in light grey, the hood and the lower doors are finished in dark blue. A third, bright yellow color was used on the line that separates the hood from the body before turning into an upper window trim. The same yellow accents the wheels. Not only sporting an intricate design, the wheels appear larger than they are. Vauxhall says that even though they loo to measure 20 inches, the tires are actually mounted on 17-inch rims. I guess it makes sense knowing that the vehicle is only four meters long.
A triangle engraved on the side skirt shows the electric charge level of the battery
Another interesting feature are the cropped triangles engraved on the side skirt under the driver’s side rear door. These are more than just a fancy design feature, as one of them contains a small, hexagonal LED screen that shows the electric charge level of the battery. Pretty cool!
The simple theme continues out back, where the taillights are shaped just like the headlamps and the apron have similar features are the front bumper. Additionally, a thin black insert above the bumper mimics the front grille. This trim holds "XPRMNTL" lettering, while a larger "G T X" logo is placed above. The rear window is narrower than your usually hatchback/crossover. The concept features a short decklid, a somewhat unusual design cue for this body style.
All told, the GT X Experimental is unique and bold in a very special way. While most concept cars go the extra mile with pompous features to gather attention, Vauxhall took simplicity to the next level.
Vauxhall GT X Experimental Interior
- Simple design
- Massive screen on the dash
- Hidden A/C vents
- Sporty steering wheel
- "Floating" seats
The dashboard is clean and simple with almost flat surfaces
Entering the GT X concept is way easier than a regular production car thanks to the rear-hinged rear doors and to all four doors opening at a 90 degree angle. The cabin also benefits from plenty of natural light thanks to a large windscreen-sunroof panel that extends all the way back to the rear seats.
The simple exterior theme extends into the cabin as well. The dashboard is clean and simple with almost flat surfaces. The air vents at the corners are hidden behind small screens that display images from the outer cameras. Speaking of that, Vauxhall replaced the traditional two-screen layout for the instrument cluster and infotainment display with a big screen that extends from the left corner of the dash to the area above the steering wheel. We’ve seen something similar in modern Mercedes-Benz cars, but the Germans actually use two screens under the same hood.
The air vents at the corners are hidden behind small screens that display images from the outer cameras
The steering wheel in front of the instrument cluster boasts a traditional three-spoke design, but the lower spoke is much thinner. The center section is pushed behind the upper spokes, a unique design in modern cars. The bottom is flat, while the upper rim features a mark at the 12-o’clock position. Sporty!
There’s no center stack, while the center console is rather thin. The piano black trim combined with the white base gives it a premium look though. The same can be said about the upholstery, which is white on the seats, dash, and door panels, but highlighted by dark blue and yellow accents here and there.
The seats are as sporty as they get, with big bolsters and integrated headrests
Vauxhaull went with a four-seat layout. The seats are as sporty as they get, with big bolsters and integrated headrests. This applies to the rear seats too. They also feature removable speakers at the bottom of the headrests. A cool thing about these seats is that they appear to be floating thanks to bottom sections that match the dark color of the floor. The cropped triangles engraved on the side skirts are reproduced on the seatbacks, the floor, and the gas and brake pedals.
I really like the simple and premium-looking design of this interior and I hope Vauxhall and Opel will use it in one of their production cars in the future. With Vauxhall and Opel having been purchased by PSA in 2017, I’m tempted to say that this cabin was created with a bit of help from Citroen, a company known for its bold designs. I don’t have the information to back this claim, but it sure looks like it.
Vauxhall GT X Experimental Drivetrain
- All-electric drive
- Semi-autonomous tech
- 50-kWh battery
- Inductive charging
It also inductive charging and Level 3 autonomous driving functions
Vauxhall didn’t have much to say about the drivetrain, but the British automaker mentioned a fully electric powertrain powered by a 50-kWh "compact next-generation lithium-ion battery." It also has inductive charging and Level 3 autonomous driving functions, which means that it can handle all aspects of driving, but the driver must be able to respond to intervene.
The GT X is basically Vauxhall’s first-ever semi-autonomous car and its second all-electric vehicle after the Ampera-e, which is a rebadged Chevrolet Bolt EV. The latter uses a larger, 60-kWh battery, but the new-generation "generator" should be more efficient. With that in mind, it’s safe to assume that the GT X is capable of more than 200 horsepower and should return more than 250 miles per charge.
I’m not a big fan of concept cars, and the main reason for that is most of them are way too flamboyant for my taste. And I can’t stand the idea of cool concepts cars being followed by mundane production models. But I definitely like the GT X Experimental. It’s not as experimental as the name suggests, but it’s simple and intriguing at the same time. You don’t see this too often nowadays. I just love how Vauxhall managed to combine clean body panels with muscular lines and the interior is plain gorgeous to look at. And everything feels modern, despite a lack of "high-tech" features. Not to mention that the coupe-crossover layout is appealing too.
Vauxhall says that many of these features will make it into production. I’m not getting my hopes up for an identical production model, but I’d definitely like to see those lights, fenders, roof, and most of the interior on a car I can buy at the dealerships. Maybe the new PSA ownership will manage to turn Opel and Vauxhall into less boring brands?
Read our full review on the Opel GT Concept
Read our full review on the 2017 Opel Ampera-E.
Read more Vauxhall news.