VAUXHALL is preparing to take the motoring world by storm with its new two-seater sports car.
At this stage the coupe, called the GT Concept, is still a design study though Vauxhall has made no secret of the fact that something very similar, if not identical, will go into full production.
The car makes its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show in early March and looks a real stunner.
Up to now the Mazda MX-5 has pretty much been able to dominate the lower cost sports car scene, with few manufacturers producing models to rival it.
But that will surely change when the GT Concept, described by Vauxhall as its ‘vision of the future’, gets the green light.
Pared down and certainly avant-garde, it doesn’t even have door handles or mirrors, but its front mid-engined, rear-wheel drive chassis guarantees it will appeal to driving enthusiasts.
Officially created in tribute to the 1966 Vauxhall XVR and 1965 Opel Experimental GT show cars, the design study re-visits the name of the first Vauxhall concept created more than 50 years ago.
The title actually mirrors that of the 1964 GT Concept, the first styling model to be produced by the company’s Design and Engineering Centre in Luton which opened the same year.
Key to the newcomer is its large doors with integrated side windows, and though the car is a coupe rather than convertible its windscreen flows into a glass roof – ensuring a light, airy cabin.
Both driver and front passenger gain access to the interior by pressing a touchpad for the electric doors, which open into the front arches.
Two cameras mounted behind the wheel arches boost visibility, especially in city driving, by transmitting their images to monitors on either side of the cabin, dispensing with the need for external mirrors.
The red tyres mounted on rims with a roller-skate design are a reference to an iconic Opel motorbike from the 1920s, the Motoclub 500, which sported red-coloured rubber.
And while the long bonnet, central dual exhausts and lack of a boot lid are all shared with both the Vauxhall XVR and Opel Experimental GT, the new GT Concept is in no way retro.
Beneath the bonnet is a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged engine based on the lightweight unit used in the Vauxhall ADAM, Corsa and Astra.
Developing 145PS, it drives the rear wheels via a six-speed sequential transmission operated by steering-wheel mounted paddles, can accelerate from 0-62 in under eight seconds and has a 134mph top speed.