2014 GENEVA AUTO SHOW

Opel expands Adam range with off-road-inspired and high-powered variants

The Adam Rocks' off-road looks are enhanced by chunky plastic bumpers and a 15mm raised ride height.
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Opel/Vauxhall will expand its Adam minicar range with the Adam Rocks, an off-road-inspired variant, and the Adam S high-performance version.

Both models will debut at the Geneva auto show next month, together with a frugal new three-cylinder, 1.0-liter gasoline engine that will be offered in the Adam and Corsa subcompact.

The Adam Rocks has off-road cues such as chunky plastic bumpers and a 15mm raised ride height to differentiate the model from the standard Adam hatchback. The Rocks also features a retracting canvas roof that folds back at the touch of a button in five seconds, Opel said in a statement.

The vehicle will go on sale in early summer unchanged from the concept that was unveiled at last year's Geneva show.

Opel joined Europe's popular minicar segment, which is led by the Fiat 500, at the end of 2012. Like the Fiat 500, the Adam has an upscale design and high-end features. Opel sold about 45,800 Adams in Europe last year, according to JATO Dynamics.

The Adam will introduce Opel's new 1.0-liter Ecotec 3-cylinder gasoline engine, which will be available as 90hp and 115hp units. In the 90-hp version, the engine reduces the car's CO2 emissions to 99 grams per kilometer from 117g/km. It uses 4.3 liters of fuel per 100km. The Fiat 500's most frugal engine, a two-cylinder Twinair unit, has CO2 emissions of 90g/km.

The engine will also be offered in the revamped Corsa due to be shown at the Paris show in the autumn, an Opel source told Automotive News Europe.

Like Ford Motor's three-cylinder, 1.0-liter Ecoboost, Opel's Ecotec-branded engine uses direct-injection and turbocharging to give the power characteristics of a much larger displacement naturally aspirated engine.

Opel said the aluminum engine includes a balancer shaft to increase smoothness. "We also wanted to demonstrate that three cylinders can be just as refined as four or more," Matthias Alt, Opel's chief engineer for small gasoline engines, said.

Opel said the 1.0-liter engine was engineered at its technical center in Ruesselsheim, Germany, and will be built at its engine plant in Hungary.

The model will also be offered with Opel's IntelliLink infotainment system that allows the driver to integrate functions from their smartphone.

The Adam Rocks features a retracting canvas roof that folds back at the touch of a button.

Fiat 500 Abarth rival

The Adam S, which debuts in Geneva, will be powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. It will compete with the Fiat 500 Abarth, which makes 135hp from its 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine.

An Opel source described the Adam S as "our Cooper," referring to the higher-performance version of the Mini hatchback. Currently the Adam is only available with naturally aspirated 1.2-liter and 1.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines.

You can reach Nick Gibbs at nick.gibbs@btinternet.com.

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