On X-pedition

The course is set for: 49° 59′ 19.499″ N 8° 25′ 18.111″ E. These coordinates lead to Rüsselsheim into K48, which is where the Grandland X is stationed on a Wednesday at the end of August. Publications have already shown the first pictures of this new compact SUV; however, you have to be one of a select few to experience it in person before this year’s IAA. A group of journalists was selected to attend a so-called ‘static’ launch in the production hall before the trade show. Plus, eight employees from Opel Post. The point of this meeting? The dynamics and the enthusiasm betray it from the very first moment of the encounter. No one explores the many innovations and details of a new model more quickly than the employees do.

 

From the beginning, a dynamic moment

 

Reinhart Muntenbruch is already next to the passenger seat asking, “Can I sit down in it?”, while Tobias Herbrich and Julius Bremer are opening the hatch with a kick of the foot. Martin Mathea fingers the interior cladding, discovering how “pleasantly soft” it is, and Patrick Maisack begins to define the ‘key’ moment: “It’s pretty heavy and substantial to hold,” states the ME student trainee as he cradles the key in his hands, pausing to proclaim: “But it’s missing a shaft!” Now is the time for a few facts and figures. Designer Sven Weinfurtner draws the crowd of explorers closer together.

Behind the wheel Martin Sauer, manager in the chassis plant, exclaims: “It feels good.”


Internal world premiere

A long-standing tradition: Employees are invited to view the Grandland X in the N50 auditorium in Rüsselsheim, Germany, on September 7, before the vehicle is launched at the IAA. Design, engineering, and marketing experts present the new compact SUV to them. The first session starts at 9:30 a.m., with a second one at 11 a.m.


  Besieged There are no-holds barred when fellow workers see a new model on the floor.


Big brother The compact SUV emphasizes an orderly way of life and is the newest member of Opel’s ‘X’ family.

 Olaf Bringmann, an employee from the chassis plant, puts it succinctly, “The car looks damn good!” Weinfurtner replies, “Thanks. We’ve invested a lot of work in it,” pointing out the ‘breakthrough’ C pillars that make the roof appear to float. The curves are precise, making the surfaces sculptural art. A real SUV design that includes a wide stance and underride protection with integrated tailpipe. The grille sports the brand logo, with the chrome winglets flowing outward to the headlights, showcasing a highly complicated interaction between engineering and design.

It’s beauty waiting to be further explored

 

It started with clay models two years before the production launch. And it even included the hatch, which is made entirely of plastic “in order to attain broader curves for excellent design and to cut back on weight.” The group surrounds the vehicle, while the designer points out details. The expression ‘hanging on every word’ is likely to have emerged in a similar moment. Bringmann is one of many who is very impressed: “The designers can definitely do more than just paint colorful pictures.”


  Driver-aligned Martin Mathea settles down behind the wheel: “The panels are well-designed and intuitively laid out.”

‘Key’ moment ME student trainee Patrick Maisack and his question: “Is this still called a key now?”


Welcome to Opel’s ‘X’ Family



4,48 meters

The length of the Grandland X. This compact SUV is 20 centimeters longer than the Mokka X and 27 centimeters longer than the Crossland X.


1.625 liters

The maximum volume of the Grandland X’s trunk space, which is 253 liters more than the Mokka X and 370 liters more than the Crossland X.


40 -50 years old

The average age of a Grandland X first-time buyer. Crossland X customers are between 35 and 45, whereas Mokka X buyers are older: 50 – 60.


 Is that so? Tobias Herbrich and Patrick Maisack (right) are skeptical: This hatch is made entirely of plastic?

How come the key is missing its shaft? It’s easy: The Grandland X is equipped with the ‘Open & Start’ keyless entry and access system. That is the instant cue for another inspection of the interior. The ambient light in the doors. The soft-touch surfaces. The center stack arranged in three sections. Weinfurtner directs their attention, “The large touchscreen on top with the infotainment offering. The switches for the AC and heating in the middle, and the shift knob for the vehicle’s settings at the bottom.” “Pretty amazing,” exclaims Reinhart Muntenbruch from the back seat, as he peers through the large panoramic sunroof.

 

What about the catch?

 

So where’s the catch? “In the glove compartment,” quips Sven Weinfurtner. What? There is actually a compartment in the Grandland X with a catch and a little hook, which is intended for hanging up a bag. The designer explains, “You’ve always wondered where to put your trash when you’re in the car. Here’s our solution.” There are many things yet to be discovered in the vehicle.


 

Investigations Sven Weinfurtner (upper left) offers insights into the work put into the design. Julius Bremer tries out the backseat (upper right). Olaf Bringmann (left) and Martin Sauer examine the engine (pictured below). There will be a 1.2-liter turbocharged gasoline engine in an aluminum block producing 130 hp, joined by a 1.6-liter diesel with 120 hp.

 

Version: September 2017

Text: Tina Henze; photos: Alex Heimann