Based on GM’s new and innovative KAPPA platform, the manufacturer showcased two new and exciting concepts, along with the launch of a new production model that created a stir when first introduced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
The foundation for all these new vehicles lies foremost in a new cost-effective rear-wheel-drive vehicle architecture that took a mere twenty-seven months to develop and is known as KAPPA. The basis of development came from the need to maintain the aggressive stance of the Pontiac Solstice concept. To do this, GM joined its global design partners at their Advanced Design Studio in Great Britain and developed a chassis that would sustain the short overhangs, long wheelbase and wide stance of the Solstice.
“Convertibles are typically less stiff than vehicles with a fixed roof, so we set out to create the stiffest possible platform for a vehicle this size,” said Lori Queen, vehicle line executive for GM’s small cars.
Successful completion of this new platform allowed GM to happily announce the official unveiling of the eye-catching Pontiac Solstice Roadster; the vehicle is expected in dealer showrooms in fall.
Equipped with a 2.4-liter Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine displacing 170 horsepower, some may be disappointed with its lack of power. The Solstice will initially be offered with a close-ratio Aisin five-speed manual transmission.
The interior is sleek and clean.
In the words of Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman of product development and chairman of GM North America, “the production Solstice is all about being a ‘back-to-basics’ roadster with gorgeous lines and fun-to-drive characteristics.”
New concepts introduced at the North American International Auto Show include the Saturn Curve and Chevy Nomad; both built on the same adaptable KAPPA platform.
The new Saturn concept is a 2+2 sport coupe with a contemporary shape and expressive curves making the name ‘Curve’ an obvious choice. The design of the Curve is almost comforting with rounded edges and graceful lines.
Blonde wood, charcoal-colored leather and terracotta inserts adorn the interior creating a sophisticated feel amidst floating design elements in the console, door inserts and roof panel.
Thanks to GM’s new KAPPA architecture, the Curve sits on rear-wheel drive, independent front and rear suspensions with a supportive chassis built with full-length hydroformed frame rails. Power comes from a 2.2-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine producing more than 200 horsepower.
Moving in design style from the roadster and sport coupe, GM also introduced the Chevy Nomad concept. Again based on KAPPA architecture, the Nomad takes its influence from the 1954 Nomad concept.
A type of sporty wagon, the Nomad rests on a 107-inch wheelbase and is powered by a turbocharged Ecotec 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that turns out 250 horsepower. A Hydra-Matic 5L40-E electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission is offered with finger-operated tap shifting.
Inside and out, the Nomad is retro with cool colors like Ice Blue Metallic and Cove Blue evoking a sense of peace along with pure style. Additional accents include blue aluminum gauges, black leather trim and blue lighting.
According to Jose Gonzales, the lead interior designer, “Wherever you look or whatever you touch in the Nomad, it creates a satisfying emotional reaction. There are cars that offer more room and amenities, but the Nomad’s environment has soul. It’s a car you want to get in and drive.”
All three vehicles: the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Curve and Chevy Nomad, along with the Hummer H3T revealed at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, hint at an innovative and sophisticated growing line-up that will catapult General Motors into a more urban market as opposed to that of their past.