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Opel Antara - Elegant 4WD Crossover
Wednesday, 02 August 2006

Following the enthusiastic reaction to the Antara GTC crossover concept car at the IAA 2005, Opel launches the production version of the all-new Antara this year. The technically sophisticated five-seater combines dynamic, elegant design with intelligent four-wheel drive, high levels of functionality, generous interior space, a raised seat position and clever transport features such as "Flex-Fix". Prices start at 26,850 euros for the five-door Antara, with which Opel is again staking a claim as leader among volume manufacturers in the SUV and crossover segment. The Antara makes its public world premiere at the Mondial de l´Automobile in Paris (September 30 – October 15, 2006). It can already be ordered now and will be available at dealerships from November. 

Initially, three transversally-mounted engines with four valves per cylinder are available for the Antara. The most powerful is a V6 gasoline engine with a displacement of 3.2 liters, and output of 167 kW/227 hp. Opel expects the 110 kW/150 hp, 2.0-liter common-rail turbo-diesel to be the top seller. Within a few months, it will be joined by a second version which produces 93 kW/127 hp. Both engines come with a maintenance-free diesel particulate filter. The entry-level engine is a 2.4-liter, 103 kW/140 hp four-cylinder gasoline unit with two overhead camshafts and one balance shaft.

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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.

Crossover vehicles: Opel re-enters four-wheel drive segment

Since 1998, the total share of the combined SUV and crossover market in Europe has doubled from three to six percent, with continued growth expected. An increasing number of active families with children who enjoy outdoor hobbies and sports prefer versatile and practical SUV and crossover vehicles that also look good.

With the Antara, Opel makes a strong comeback in a segment that has long been dominated by non-European brands. Opel already led the field in this segment before, with a vehicle that stood out at the time: unveiled in 1991, the Frontera was one of the first SUV models ever. It was number one in its segment across Europe for a number of years and was also the Opel model with the highest conquest rate. Unlike the Antara with its unibody construction, the Frontera had a ladder frame design typical of off-road vehicles. In total, around 285,000 units were sold in Western and Central Europe up to 2003, with 37,500 sold in its peak year of 1993.

The Antara embodies the new SUV and crossover character and is poised to revive Opel’s success in this segment. It has everything it takes including an elegant, dynamic design and comprehensive standard equipment.

The new crossover boasts safety features such as intelligent four-wheel drive and the latest ESP system as standard, as well as numerous comfort elements such as air conditioning, central locking, front and rear power windows and the stereo CD-Radio CD 30 MP3 with seven loudspeakers as well as a silver front and rear underbody protector. The Edition equipment line also comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, electronic climate control, heated front seats, Automatic Lighting Control (ALC) and a front center armrest. The Antara Cosmo goes one step further, featuring 18-inch alloy wheels, leather/Morrocana/fabric seats, onboard computer, cruise control, Park Pilot, rain sensor, leather steering wheel and chrome door handles and gearshift knob ex works.

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Design: Opel’s claim to leadership underlined

At first glance, the Antara’s distinctive design character is emphasized by a bold contrast. While the lower section clearly displays the new Opel crossover’s robustness, the body’s striking lines and taut surfaces unite stylish elegance with a sporty, muscular look.

The designers visualized the Antara as 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 its large Opel logo confidently emphasize the car’s high quality and brand identity. With its compact dimensions (length x width x height: 4575 x 1850 x 1704 millimeters), the crossover takes up no more space than a mid-size passenger car.

The interior echoes the style and elegance of a top-of-the-line sedan, with contoured seats that reflect the Antara's dynamic SUV character. In typical Opel style, all instruments and operating controls are ergonomically placed and clearly laid out.
Large, distinctive instruments and a center console with central info display give the cockpit a driver-oriented layout. Eye-catching interior features include three large round air vents on the center console and a distinctively shaped handbrake reminiscent of a thrust lever in an airplane, just like in the Zafira. The passenger grab handle on the center tunnel has the same shape.

The comprehensive standard safety package includes front airbags, thorax/pelvis side airbags for driver and front passenger, head curtain airbags for the front and outer rear seats as well as a crash-optimized chassis with four load paths. Other safety features include three-point safety belts and head restraints for all five seats. The front seats are equipped with seat-belt tensioners and belt-force limiters. The outer rear seats come with ISOFIX mountings for fast and secure fitting of child seats with corresponding fixtures.

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Life on board: Versatile and comfortable

The Opel Antara conveys a casual, easy-going lifestyle with its spacious interior, numerous compartments, as well as many clever and practical features. The sense of spaciousness created by the elevated seating position and large glazed surfaces is superb, and the Antara doesn’t just seem spacious: measurements confirm that passengers enjoy plenty of space. With 933 millimeters of rear legroom, for example, the Antara is at the top of its segment.

The trunk has a capacity of 370 liters under the luggage compartment cover. Cargo capacity increases to 865 liters with the rear bench seat folded down and up to 1420 liters when loaded to the roof. The rear seat back can be split 60:40 and folded down. A storage box under the load floor ensures practical organization of the luggage compartment, as does the optional FlexOrganizer system, which is already familiar from the Astra and Vectra station wagon models. Nets, dividing walls, rods and hooks can be snapped into two rails on each of the side walls of the Antara's luggage compartment, allowing the trunk to be separated into different sections to protect the cargo from shifting or being damaged during the journey.

However, the designers did not only focus on the trunk when they considered the newcomer’s storage options. The Antara features numerous compartments and boxes throughout its interior, including a drawer under the passenger seat, sunglasses holder in the roof liner, nets on the front seat backs, a parking garage ticket holder left of the steering wheel, a net on the center console, compartments in the front and rear central arm rests, as well as storage boxes in the rear wheelhouses.

The integrated rear carrier Flex-Fix boasts the unbeatable practicality that has become an Opel trademark and is especially important in this segment. Flex-Fix has the potential to set the new benchmark in flexible exterior transportation, just as the Zafira’s “Flex7” does for interior seating systems. In typical Opel style, its full on-board functionality eliminates the need for cumbersome assembly, dismantling or storage of parts. Flex-Fix is also featured in the new Corsa and is available as an option for the Antara. It stows away almost invisibly under the rear bumper and can easily be pulled out to carry up to two bicycles.

In addition, the Antara features comfort details such as front and rear power windows (standard), heated front seats (standard from Edition), air conditioning (standard), Quickheat (standard with all diesel models), Automatic Lighting Control ALC (standard Edition upwards), power exterior mirrors (optional) and stationary heating (optional).

For on-board entertainment, the Antara features a standard MP3-compatible stereo CD Radio CD 30 MP3, seven loudspeakers, remote controls on the steering wheel and a roof antenna to provide excellent radio reception. The DVD 100 Navi navigation system with large Color Info Display, as well as a mobile phone console with Bluetooth connection and voice control are also optionally available.

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Chassis: Passenger car handling and off-road talents

With its agile handling, precise speed-dependant power steering and stiff chassis, the Antara is clearly designed as a dynamic vehicle with off-road abilities.
The new crossover was tuned by Opel chassis experts at various circuits, including GM test centers in Pferdsfeld, Germany and Millbrook, United Kingdom. During the development phase, the model prototypes covered over five million test kilometers worldwide.

The McPherson suspension in front and a four-link suspension in the rear provide a high-quality chassis concept similar to that of the Opel Vectra and Signum models. The Antara comes standard with 16-inch wheels and 225/70 R 16 tires. The Antara Edition has 17-inch alloy wheels and the top Antara Cosmo variant 18-inch. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is also available as an option. It monitors tire pressure via sensors at each tire valve and activates an individual tire warning signal in the Graphic or Color Info Display at pressure losses from 0.3 bar. The display can show the exact pressure of all four tires to a precision of 0.1 bar.
The Antara’s intelligent active four-wheel drive system combines the benefits of front-wheel drive - such as low fuel consumption and virtually effortless maneuvering − with those of four-wheel drive. Under normal conditions, the Antara is a pure front-wheel drive car. However, propulsion power can be quickly and seamlessly distributed between the front and rear axle at a ratio of up to 50:50 when needed. The key element for this function is an electronically controlled, electro-magnetically operated, electro-hydraulic differential on the rear axle. The compact and light four-wheel drive system is fully integrated in the ABS and ESP systems and supports the driver effectively in all driving situations, such as during heavy acceleration.

The braking system comprises large, stable ventilated disc brakes and a modern
four-channel ABS. The ABS hydraulics also takes over the brake assist function if emergency braking occurs (Hydraulic Brake Assist, HBA). The modern ESP system boasts numerous additional functions that further increase active safety, including Descent Control System (DCS), noteworthy as a standard feature in the Antara segment. DCS allows the vehicle to safely maintain a constant speed even down steep inclines without the driver needing to brake. Active Rollover Protection (ARP), another safety feature, can apply high braking pressure within milliseconds at individual wheels.

Powertrain: Four engines, output from 127 to 227 hp

A high torque plateau, powerful acceleration, durability and low consumption. It is no wonder that diesel engines are in such high demand in SUV and crossover models. The Opel Antara is available with a newly-developed 2.0 CDTI engine with an output of either 127 or 150 hp. This engine includes newest generation common-rail technology with up to 1600 bar injection pressure, aluminum cylinder head and turbo charger with variable turbo geometry. Both variants come standard with a maintenance-free diesel particulate filter, which requires no additives. The top diesel unit can be mated to a five-speed automatic transmission instead of the standard five-speed manual gearbox. Thanks to ActiveSelect, this modern automatic transmission also offers manual gear selection, as well as the choice of a winter driving program.

In addition to the two diesels, the ECOTEC engine range also includes two gasoline units. The base unit is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 103 kW/140 hp. The double overhead camshafts feature a balance shaft as well as electronic throttle control. The most powerful engine is the 3.2-liter V6 with 167 kW/227 hp.

With its standard five-speed automatic transmission incorporating ActiveSelect, the gasoline V6, a close relative of the 2.8 V6 ECOTEC unit in the Vectra and Signum models, accelerates the Antara to a top speed of 203 km/h. This engine's high-tech features include variable camshaft phasing for both induction and exhaust sides, as well as a variable intake manifold. 

 
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