September 18, 2002
Rüsselsheim. The world premiere of the spectacular Eco-Speedster concept at this year's Paris Motor Show (September 28 to October 13) marks the start of the biggest diesel-offensive in Opel's history. Through the end of 2003 Opel will introduce across the range four all-new diesel engines with power outputs up to 130 kW (177 hp). The aerodynamically optimized and lightweight Eco-Speedster, with its swooping, long-tail bodywork, demonstrates impressively the performance potential of the future 1.3-liter ECOTEC CDTI engine. During initial testing the 112 hp concept car reached a maximum speed of more than 250 km/h, while fuel consumption in the MVEG cycle was a miserly 2.5 liters per 100 km.
The prototype is based on the mid-engined Speedster roadster, but features new, carbon fiber bodywork with much improved aerodynamics. With significantly reduced drag (Cd = 0.20) and even lower weight (around 660 kg), the Eco-Speedster takes up where another Opel prototype left off 30 years ago. On June 1, 1972, at the company's Dudenhofen proving ground, a modified Opel GT with 95 hp, 2.1-liter turbo-diesel power unit made the headlines by setting several world records for diesel engines and reaching a top speed of 197.5 km/h. Shortly afterwards, with the Rekord 2.1 D, Opel brought its first diesel-engined passenger car onto the market.
The new Eco-Speedster is proof of the progress in the last 30 years and of the diesel engine's amazing career in passenger cars. When the record-breaking GT made its astonishing appearance, it was the first time that the term "sporty" had been combined with the diesel engine.
The performance of the very compact engine in the new engineering study is particularly impressive. The displacement of the all-new ECOTEC-CDTI diesel, with the latest-generation multi-jet common rail fuel injection, four valves per cylinder and variable-geometry turbocharger, is only 1.3 liters. The four-cylinder engine, the first all-new power unit developed by the FIAT-GM Powertrain joint venture, is scheduled to make its production-debut in 2003 and will meet Euro 4 emission limits. In the Eco-Speedster it is mated to Opel's Easytronic automated manual transmission.
Explaining the background of the prototype, Opel Chairman and Managing Director, Carl-Peter Forster said: "The Eco-Speedster is the symbol of our comprehensive diesel offensive and at the same time demonstrates the engineering expertise of Opel in powertrains, lightweight design and aerodynamics. Through the end of 2003 we will present four new, state-of-the-art diesel engines, with a wide range of power outputs, low weight and moderate fuel consumption."