Opel/Vauxhall will give fleet buyers a vision of the future at Frankfurt with the unveiling of the Signum II concept car.
Described as an all-in-one estate and coupe, the Signum II gives clear styling clues to next year's crucial Vectra replacement, and the future replacement for the Omega.
The current Vectra is struggling against newer opposition like the Ford Mondeo and Renault Laguna, and Opel is keen to give the fleet market an early taste of what's to come next year.
The concept is packed with hi-tech features - including an on-board mobile cinema, office and coffee maker.
'The major innovations of the future are taking place within the car,' said Walter Treser, director of advanced engineering. 'People want to enjoy the same comforts and amenities in their cars as they have at home.'
Passengers benefit from two DVD players with headphones and special video glasses in the centre armrest. This system provides cinema-quality film standards in the Signum II.
But the Signum is also notable in areas such as powertrain and interior packaging. The car uses a prototype version of GM's new V8 direct-injection petrol engine. Called the Global XV8, it's a 4.3-litre unit made of aluminium, and developed by GM Powertrain in the USA.
Designers have ensured that getting into the car is very easy. When the door handle is pulled, the front seats swivel automatically towards the doorways. At the same time, the steering wheel is lowered into the instrument panel, improving accessibility.
When the driver has taken his seat, the steering wheel moves back towards him.
At the push of a button, the rear seat cushion and backs can be folded up to the height of the belt-line, creating a level surface and a bigger boot. (October 2001)