Opel is rather keen to be considered these days in the same premium rank as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. But managing that image-building when you’re essentially turning out a model range of compact front-wheel drive hatchbacks, saloons and SUVs is rather tricky. What Opel needs is a halo car, a range topper that will look just as good as (if not better than) a BMW 4 Series when it swishes into the car park.
That’s why it’s going back to the seventies for inspiration from the original Monza coupé – or Royale if you’re talking of cars with Vauxhall badges. The Monza/Royale was a big, razor-edged four-seat coupé with a lusty straight-six engine driving, crucially, the rear wheels. It was a strong seller in its day and there’s still something of a cult surrounding the car. And hey, the seventies are cool again right?
So, at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, Opel will be revealing a new concept that both draws on the original Monza and potentially previews an all-new one.
“With the Monza Concept, we make our automotive future tangible today,” said Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO of Opel. “I can’t yet go into detail about how the Monza Concept’s interior design – and especially its trend-setting technologies – will change the driving experience. However, I can guarantee that viewed from any angle, its innovative body design and perfect proportions will turn heads. But they are just a visible expression of the great substance you will find under the bodywork. Everyone should visit us at the Opel stand at the IAA to get a look at our exciting future!”
Representing a styling evolution of Opel’s ‘sculptural artistry meets technical precision’, the Monza Concept develops a new theme that conveys a sense of lithe athleticism, rather than pure muscle power. Certainly, you can see that the car has a massive, jutting grille and big, upright headlights – like an Insignia that’s been going to the gym and hitting the creatine.
These teaser photos are all we’re getting for the moment, but Opel is dropping hints that the car will indeed be rear-wheel drive and that a potential production version would be twinned with a new Buick, possibly badged as Riviera.
Don’t get your hopes up too high. Opel was making big noise about a possible Insignia coupé when the saloon was launched, and that never happened. Hopefully, Buick’s current popularity in the Chinese market will convince the bean-counters that a big new coupé makes sense and that Opel can trail on its coat-tails.