It’s not uncommon for performance cars to include rudimentary G-force or acceleration meters in the instrument clusters, but Opel is launching a system that should be far easier to use. The company is launching a telemetry system for the Astra OPC hot hatchback that transmits vehicle information and lap data to an Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
The OPC PowerApp software costs just €0.79 (about a dollar), and can display 60 different vehicle parameters, ranging from turbocharger boost pressure and throttle position, to lateral G-forces and engine torque. The data from a drive can be saved for reviewing later. There also is a GPS-linked telemetry system that allows drivers to store information about track drives. The software lets drivers see G-forces and speeds at specific points on a track, which Opel posits drivers could use to, “analyze and improve their performances on the [Nürburgring] Nordschleife stretch.”
Using the system requires that an Opel dealer outfit the owner’s Astra OPC with a special box that interfaces with the car’s CAN-Bus electrical architecture, and transmits signals to the iPhone 30 times a second. Opel also will offer a FlexDock mount to help keep the iPhone steady during enthusiastic driving. A version of the software for Android smartphones will be launched in early 2013.
The Opel Astra OPC is certainly a performance car deserving of a performance telemetry system. The hot model, which builds upon the regular Opel Astra GTC, packs a 280-hp punch thanks to a turbocharged, direct-injection 2.0-liter inline-four engine. A six-speed manual transmission sends power to the front wheels. Opel claims the OPC will hit 155 mph, making it the fastest factory-issued Astra ever.
Given that Opel is subsidiary of General Motors, we’re hoping that a similar iPhone telemetry system will be offered on an American performance car. Such a gadget might make a fun marketing gimmick for, say, the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette.