Production-Ready Opel Antara Provides Preview of 'Real' 2008 Vue

Last week General Motors' Opel division unveiled a new SUV that industry sources say provides a good indication of what the "real" 2008 Saturn Vue will look like.

The new Opel sport-utility – called the Antara – rides on an updated version of the current Vue's Theta architecture. The five-door production-ready Antara shares styling cues with the popular three-door Antara GTC crossover coupe concept that both Opel and Saturn displayed on auto show circuit this year. Saturn's version was called aptly called the "PreVue." When introduced to the media at the New York International Auto Show in April of this year, GM's Bob Lutz said that the PreVue concept showed "how Saturn's new design vocabulary could be applied to the next generation of the Vue utility." Neither GM nor Saturn have said at where the next-generation Vue will be built, and but Edmunds.com's Inside Line predicts that it will be in a GM plant in Mexico. In addition, "when the vehicle heads to North America in late 2007," Inside Line says, "the engine lineup is expected to include a 140-horsepower DOHC 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 224-hp DOHC 3.2-liter V6."

Note the similarities between the vehicles in the following photo galleries:

Below is Opel's press release describing the upcoming Antara:

Following the enthusiastic reaction to the Antara GTC crossover concept car at the IAA 2005, Opel launches this year the five-door production version of the new Antara. "With the new Antara, we are entering one of the fastest-growing segments in Europe. It is a technically sophisticated vehicle with a unibody construction which combines dynamic design with intelligent four-wheel drive, high levels of functionality and a higher seat position – tailor-made for a growing customer base," says Opel Managing Director, Hans Demant. The total share of the combined SUV and crossover market in Europe has doubled since 1998, from three to six percent, with continued growth expected.

"When we presented the Antara GTC concept car last September at the IAA in Frankfurt, it immediately became the star of the show," says Alain Visser, Executive Director, European Marketing, Adam Opel GmbH. "Now the production version is ready. It realizes our high ambitions in the growing crossover market, as it takes the coupé-like sporty character of the three-door Antara GTC concept, and transforms it into a dynamic, elegantly designed five-door series-production model, with five seats and remarkable interior versatility." Prices for the new Antara - with 2.4-liter-gasoline engine - will start at 26,850 euro. "That is a very modest price for such a high-value crossover," adds Visser. While the opening of the GM Europe Design Center in Rüsselsheim today provides the first opportunity to see the new model, the Antara will make its public world premiere at the Mondial de l´ Automobile in Paris (September 30 – October 15, 2006).

The special character of the Antara design is spotlighted by bold contrasts. The lower section looks very robust, and the body features bold lines and taut surfaces that combine to give a sporty muscular appearance with stylish elegance. The designers visualized a versatile car that is both dynamic and comfortable for long journeys. Carefully crafted details such as the crease on the hood and the grille accented by the wide chrome bar with large Opel logo confidently emphasize the car's high quality and brand identity.

High ground clearance, large wheels and robust protective elements all round are defining characteristics of the new Antara, as are its compact dimensions (length x width x height: 4.57 x 1.85 x 1.70 meters). It takes up no more space than a mid-size passenger car, while at the same time offering ample interior room. The interior echoes the style and elegance of a top-of-the-line sedan, with sporty contoured seats that highlight its dynamic SUV character. In characteristic Opel style, all instruments and operating controls are ergonomically placed and arranged. The large, well-designed instruments and center console with central info display give the cockpit a driver-oriented layout. On board are innovative infotainment systems familiar from other Opel models, including DVD navigation and Bluetooth functionality.

Initially, three transversally-mounted engines are available for the Antara, all of which have four valves per cylinder. The top-of-the-line unit is closely related to the six-cylinder engines of the Vectra and Signum models. The Antara’s V6 gasoline engine has 3.2-liter displacement, output of 165 kW/224 hp, and comes with an automatic transmission with ActiveSelect function. Opel expects the 110 kW/150 hp, 2.0-liter common-rail turbo-diesel to be the top seller. It is available with a five-speed manual gearbox, or with the same automatic transmission as the V6 engine. The entry-level engine is a 2.4-liter, 104 kW/141 hp, four-cylinder gasoline unit with two overhead camshafts and one balance shaft.

The Antara's intelligent active four-wheel drive system combines the benefits of front-wheel drive - such as tractional stability when accelerating and increased driving dynamics - with those of permanent four-wheel drive. It features an electronically controlled electro-hydraulic differential which ensures optimal torque distribution between the front and rear axles in all situations. The drivetrain is fully integrated in the ABS and ESP systems, enhancing vehicle control and active safety.

Other standard functions include Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA), Active Rollover Protection (ARP), and (unusually for the Antara's segment) Descent Control System (DCS). DCS enables the Antara to be driven safely on steep slopes at a constant speed, which is pre-selected by the position of the gas pedal. Trailer Stabilization Assist (TSA) is available as an option. The McPherson suspension in front and a four-link suspension in the rear provide a high-quality chassis concept similar to that in the Opel Vectra and Signum models. The braking system comprises large-sized ventilated disc brakes on all wheels.

Opel is now staking a claim as leader among volume manufacturer in the midsize crossover market, which has been mostly dominated by non-European brands until now. Thanks to the synergy-effects of GM's worldwide development capacity, a vehicle has been created with an unmistakably unique brand character, distinguished by its sporty design, high-quality interior and dynamic chassis settings.

Source: Inside Line, Opel

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