August 21, 2002 - General Motors Europe have released the first photographs of the Opel/Vauxhall Signum, which will reach European showrooms in the summer. The production version follows the themes previewed in the 1997 Signum concept vehicle, and the Signum2 concept, shown at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The Signum is based on GM's Epsilon platform, and while sharing some major elements with the Vectra, it represents a radically new approach for Opel in the business-luxury segment. With a unique, stretched body design, a highly flexible rear-seat arrangement, top-rate equipment package and pioneering technologies, Signum aims to break through conventional segment barriers and open a whole new market.
The proportions are also unusual: although the overall length of 185.4in/4636mm is only 1.6in/40mm more than the Vectra saloon, the 113.2in/2830mm wheelbase is a full 5.2in/130mm longer. The rear overhang is correspondingly short and the height only slightly greater.
Signum signals its character through a unique front end design and reveals it fully in the side view of the body with a stretched four window DLO, the wraparound ends of the rear window and the broad C-pillar.
Carl-Peter Forster, Opel CEO, sets ambitious goals for the newcomer: "The Signum is the Business Class of Opel. This is a unique car, tailor-made for demanding drivers who expect a lot in terms of dynamics, design, quality and presence, and who want to express their individual personalities and lifestyles. We are convinced Signum will appeal to drivers of other marques who who so far might not have considered buying an Opel."
A major highlight is its innovative seating system, which thanks to the long wheelbase, provides the rear-seat space and comfort of a large luxury car. The three-seat rear can be turned into two individual seats that can slide back by up to 130mm giving lots of legroom.
Following the versatile Flex7 seating system of the Zafira, and a similar system in the new Meriva, Opel has clearly focussed on innovative interior packaging across the whole vehicle range.
The seat back can be inclined to an angle of 28 degrees making it as comfortable as having the front seats in the rear. The three rear seats can also be folded forward to create a completely flat load surface. In this configuration the load carrying capacity is more than 1400 litres. With all five seats in use there is up to 480 litres of load space, depending on the rear seat position.
Opel/Vauxhall engineers have designed the centre rear seat to be especially versatile. When the seat cushion is folded forward and flipped over, a practical storage console is created. The upper section of the upholstered seat back can then be folded down to provide a comfortable armrest for those occupying the two outer rear seats.
Those who wish to work, or play a game, will welcome the innovative "Travel Assistant". This is mounted between the two outer rear seats and conceals two fold-out trays, a cold-store box, a refuse bin, cup-holders, an electric power outlet, and a holder for a portable DVD player, as well as separate rear-seat controls for the audio system.
All these intelligent solutions are similar to those in a modern aircraft. There is a roof-mounted console, with reading lamps for rear passengers, with five compartments providing more storage space while giving the interior a distinctive appearance.
Among the many other innovations to be premiered in Signum are three new ECOTEC engines: Opel’s first petrol direct injection engine — 2.2 litre and 155PS; a new 175PS 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and a 3.0-litre 177PS V6 common-rail diesel.
The Interactive Driving System (IDS) debuted on new Vectra is duplicated in Signum, and there are additional pioneering new features like Adaptive Forward Lighting with bi-xenon headlamps — the steering-linked headlamp system that lights up bends in the road — and an orthopaedic and air-conditioned driving seat that can be adjusted eight ways.
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