Opel Zafira Tourer - Top of the class in flexibility

Bertrandt begleitet Opel bei der Entwicklung des neuen FlexRail-Systems

The first generation of the Opel Zafira, launched in 1999, was responsible for defining the seven-seater compact MPV segment. Now the third generation of the model is once again setting new standards. Alongside its dynamic, sculptural design, the focus is on providing the maximum flexibility and feelgood factor for all the vehicle occupants. The Zafira has plentiful storage space for everything you need on the road. The new FlexRail system, with modules that can slide back and forth between the front seats, and the fully-integrated bicycle carrier system at the rear of the car are particularly impressive features.

 

Comfort and well-being in every seat

The highlight of the new Zafira Tourer is the Lounge Seating system, which provides second-row passengers with the kind of seating space normally found in a large executive saloon car. Like the panoramic windscreen and FlexFix, the bicycle carrier system with space for four bicycles, the new seating system meets the highest standards of comfort. However, it is the many small innovations and developments which turn the Zafira Tourer into the first people carrier with Flex Appeal. FlexRail, the innovative storage system in the centre console, is a good illustration of all these solutions. Bertrandt supported the interior specialists from Opel and Johnson Controls in developing the new system.

Centre console with maximum flexibility

The centre console, which is already familiar from the new Meriva, has been developed further. Two rails made from high-quality polished aluminium run between the front seats and the centre console modules slide back and forth on these rails. The armrest is mounted on the upper rail. Like all the other FlexRail modules, its position on the rails can be adjusted to provide the greatest level of comfort for the driver. In addition to these ergonomic benefits, the generous armrest has a folding lid with a large compartment Opel Zafira Tourer underneath, together with a smaller compartment at the back with a roller cover, both of which offer extensive storage capacity. On the second level of the rails below the armrest is a removable FlexRail module with two cupholders. There is an additional storage compartment at the lowest level, which is lockable and can be used in combination with the other two modules. This storage area is concealed by the armrest and the cupholders and is not visible from outside the vehicle. Because of its proximity to the AUX and USB ports as well as the 12-volt socket, it is the perfect place to keep an MP3 player or a portable navigation device safely hidden from public view. Alternatively, the cupholders and the armrest can be moved backwards to create a large storage area with rails at the sides, which can be used for larger bags on holiday journeys, for example.

 

Easy to use with individual settings

The focus during the design of the individual components was on flexibility and, in particular, on ensuring that they were intuitive and safe to use. All the FlexRail modules can be moved backwards and forwards or removed separately. As a result, the modules can easily be positioned to suit the requirements of individual drivers or passengers. The FlexRail centre console also has ambient lighting, in order to make the system easy to use even at night. This combination of flexibility and a maximum feel-good factor is what takes the Opel Zafira to the top of the class.

 

Bertrandt in demand for development and design

During the prototype design and production development phases, the Bertrandt engineers and technical specialists spent two years providing support for all the variants of the Opel Zafira Tourer. In total, three centre consoles were designed and developed. In the case of the most complex version, the FlexRail console described here, Bertrandt was responsible for developing all the components of the console, including the rails and the necessary mounting points, and for integrating the ambient lighting. One particular challenge involved designing the sliding system for the modules to make it easy and intuitive for the vehicle occupants to use. In addition, the components had to meet high standards in terms of crash resistance and durability. The design process focused on ease of use in all operating and climate conditions. Once again, Bertrandt was able to demonstrate during this project its reliability as a development and design partner.