When we last looked at the Vauxhall Monza Concept, Vauxhall/Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann hinted at an innovative infotainment technology and new body design. Now the lid has been lifted a bit, and we can see more of the new take on the 70s classic. When the concept is presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, it will not only have a modular powertrain, but the first LED projection infotainment system fitted in a passenger car.
Since the 4-seater Monza is a concept, the designers at Vauxhall's sister firm, Opel, put the emphasis on style by combining aerodynamic smoothness with echoes of the original Monza. The bonnet has the distinctive Vauxhall crease and the Monza front end, though the huge air intakes dominating the look and the angularity of the grille don't match very well with the smoothness of the bonnet. It’s telling that Vauxhall compares the car’s lines to both ocean waves and greyhounds because there is a flowing beauty to the lines, but they also have the feel of two visions battling with one another as the sleekness of a mover collide with the large cab of a luxury ride.
One thing the Monza Concept can boast is that it’s easy to get in and out of. There are massive gullwing doors, though Vauxhall likes to call them “condor” winged. Given their size, it's an apt term. There’s no B-pillar and when the doors swing up, they seem to eat up half the car. This leaves a lot of room for both front and rear passengers to step out.
However, the centerpiece of the Monza Concept is the LED projection infotainment system. An automotive first, it dispenses with dedicated separate monitors in favor of a single projection surface that covers the entire dashboard in one continuous display by means of 18 LED projectors. The 3D graphics are customizable as are the background and decorative elements. This display handles all driving information, entertainment, navigation, and communications, and is operated either by voice or steering wheel controls.
To prevent distraction, the display is designed for, according to Vauxhall, “simplifying the multitude,” so it only presents information that is necessary or desired to prevent the driver from being deluged with irrelevant and distracting data. There’s also smartphone connectivity in three modes: ME, which disconnects the driver’s smartphone and prioritizes information; US, which allows friends and family to log in to the infotainment system and exchange information from their own device; and ALL, which allows the deliver to swap all manner of information, such as route planning, ride sharing and others.
Another innovation that the Monza showcases is its modular engine design, that allows for a choice of powertrains. According to Vauxhall, the Concept on display at Frankfurt will be fitted with a hybrid electric drive with a 3-cylinder 1.0 SIDI turbo running on compressed natural gas as the range extender.
“Connectivity is demonstrated by a trailblazing LED projection technology for instrument and infotainment displays,” says Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, Opel/Vauxhall CEO. “Efficiency comes in many ways, with lightweight design, optimal use of interior space, and advanced powertrain technology. The Monza Concept is based on increasing electrification of the automobile in everyday driving, from range-extender to fuel cell. And as far as styling is concerned, we are expressing pure efficiency in a new, lean and athletic interpretation of our typical sculptural shapes.”
The Frankfurt Motor Show runs September 12 to 22.
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