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First look: Adam, the apple of Opel’s eye

Adam ant: Opel’s all-new Adam city hatchback is unlikely to make the boat to Australia, at least in the short term.

Opel reveals upmarket Adam city slicker in Jam, Glam and Slam flavours

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Opel logo11 Jul 2012

By RON HAMMERTON

OPEL’S all-new urban chic city car, the Adam, will be aimed at style-conscious buyers wanting a high degree of personalisation in a small package.

Bearing the same name as company founder Adam Opel and designed by a Brit called Adams, the sub-Corsa mini three-door four-seat hatchback will go head to head with the likes of the Audi A1, Mini, Fiat 500 and Citroen DS3 in Europe from early 2013.

The jury is still out on whether the Adam will make it to Australia as part of the new Opel line-up that opens for business in September.

Opel Australia founding managing director Bill Mott told GoAuto recently that the tiny market for such cars here and the problems of supplying a product with such a diverse number of personalised variants over such a long supply chain made such a proposition difficult.

Opel Australia marketing and public relations head Michelle Lang today reiterated that Opel did not anticipate bringing the Adam to Australia in the near future.

“We are concentrating on our launch line up, and want to really focus on the most logical segments for Opel in Australia, first and foremost,” she said.

The Adam will get its first public showing at the Paris motor show in September where Opel will show the three launch trim levels – Jam (fashionable/colourful), Glam (elegant/sophisticated) and Slam (racy/sporty) – that will form the base line on which owners can ‘build’ their own car from options in what the company says is “an almost unlimited number of visual combinations”.

Surprisingly for Europe, Adam will not have a diesel engine alternative, being offered only with petrol engines in 1.2 litre and 1.4 litre four-cylinder guises.

Opel says those engines will later be joined by General Motors’ all-new small petrol engine, featuring direct injection and forced induction.

That engine, which is believed to be from a whole new family of GM engines, will be mated to an all-new six-speed gearbox.

Opel did not say when that engine – thought to be a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder to match similar units coming from Fiat, BMW and others – would be added to the range, but Britain’s Autocar says its will arrive about a year after the initial launch.

The Adam is reportedly built on a shortened version of the Corsa platform that also underpins the Holden Barina.

At 3700mm long, it is bigger than the 3595mm-long Holden Barina Spark but shorter than the 3990 Opel Corsa, which will be the smallest Opel model offered in Australia at launch this year.

While the Adam is almost as wide as the Audi A1 – 1720mm versus 1740mm – it is about 250mm shorter than the 3954mm Audi.

Like the A1, Mini and other cars in the burgeoning prestige city car sector, the Adam will be lined with premium materials and offered with high-end options.

The design of the car borrows heavily from other Opels, including the Astra-based GTC hatch. The wing-shaped chrome grille bar with its smiley upturned ends is said to have been borrowed from Astra, which will is also a definite starter for Australia.

Designed by a team headed by Opel vice president of design Mark Adams, the Adam’s key design signature is the so-called floating roof, which appears to be disconnected at the pillars to sit above the body.

“No other car in this segment can be individualised as much as Adam because we are offering virtually unlimited exterior/interior colour, fabric and kit combination choices,” Mr Adams said.

“It’s very unlikely that you’ll find two identical Adams out there.” The roof line is traced by a chrome line from the A pillar to the C pillar where it helps to separate the roof from the body of the car, along with general use of black paint on the lower pillar.

Like the Mini and A1, two-tone colour schemes are to the fore, with a choice of alloy wheels up to 18 inches available. Cars with the bigger wheels get lowered sports suspension, which is MacPherson strut on the front and a “compound crank system” at the rear.

The target market is underscored by a high level of electronics and connectivity on offer, including smart-phone connections to access and display internet applications such as GPS navigation via a seven-inch touch screen.

Adam customers can even opt for a heated steering wheel – a first in the class.

In a first for the brand, the Adam can be ordered with a second-generation automated parking system that not only parallel parks the car but also searches out a parking spot as the driver cruises down the road.

Drivers can also press a button for city mode – a system that lightens the steering weight for easy urban operation.

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