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GM takes aim at MX-5 with sportscar concept

GM takes aim at MX-5 with sportscar concept

GENERAL Motors appears to be chancing its arm to take on Mazda’s mighty MX-5 and Lotus in the “retro” sportscar segment if its GT sportscar concept revealed in images shot in Australia ahead of its public debut at next month’s Geneva motor show are anything to go by.

The photographs indicate the little 2+2 coupe is similar in size and weight to Alfa Romeo’s 4C and the word from GM is that the GT concept is powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine lifted from small Opels such as the Adam, Corsa and Astra.

The engine – making 140hp and 205Nm of torque – is mounted under the bonnet but behind the front axle line for optimum centre of gravity.

Like a true sports coupe, the engine drives the rear axle via a six-speed sequential gearbox and mechanical diff lock. The transmission is operated by steering wheel shift paddles.

Weighing less than 1000kg, the GT concept is said to be capable of sprinting from zero to 100 km/h in less than eight seconds and on to a top speed of 215 km/h.

A distinctive feature of the GT is the red front tyres that are a nod to the 1928 Opel MotoClub 500 motorcycle that had two red tyres.

Opel says the tyres – sitting on a wheel design said to have been modelled on roller skate wheels – are among the few echoes of the past in the GT.

Others include a long bonnet, absence of a boot lid and central dual exhaust, all of which hark back to the original GT.

The coupe is, according to GM, a design study, with no firm plans for production, but the company is not ruling out a production version.

Opel Group CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann said: “We are taking the next step towards even more emotion and driving pleasure with the Opel GT concept.

“The GT concept shows what Opel stands for now. We are confident, ambitious, innovative and we want win over more customers with every new car.”

“This coupé impressively demonstrates the continuous development of our design philosophy – ‘Sculptural Artistry meets German precision’.”

The driver and front passenger gain access to the cabin by pressing a touchpad in a red signature line in the roof. There are no handles on the unique electric-operated doors that move into the front wheel space behind the wheel when opening, thus creating a bigger opening.

The seamless look continues with a smooth transition from the integrated glass to the painted surfaces. How this would work in production remains to be seen.

Inside, the cabin is said to be sufficiently spacious for tall occupants, in the front seats at least.

The red theme is carried into the cabin, with bright red sports seats and red rings around the twin instrument dials.

Further details of the Opel GT will be revealed at the Geneva show on March 3.

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