The O4 represents a sad chapter in Oldsmobile history as the last glimpse of the future we would see from the division. GM gave the media an early preview of its 2001 concepts a month before the 2001 Detriot show. Among them was the Oldsmobile O4, a small European style open air roadster said to preview the styling direction of a second generation production Alero. Unfortinately, the annouced demise of the Olds division between that time and the official debut at Detroit left the O4 as an somewhat of an orphan. At the Detriot intro on January 7th, 2001, the Oldsmobile name was quietly dropped from the concept and it was referred to as the GM O4. The car's display spot at the show was hidden under a staircase in the back of GM's massive stand. They never even bothered issuing a press release, much less a media kit.
The car was said to be targeted at young, fun loving buyers with its blend of international design and engineering. The design was a collaborative effort between GM and Bertone Design in Turin, Italy. The front-wheel drive car was built upon an Opel platform and powered by Opel's 1.8-liter Ecotech turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. . The roof featured twin targa tops made of carbon fiber that snap off and could be stowed behind the rear seats. The rear window retracted into the space behind the rear seats, as well. The interior had room for four passengers and featured an "Info Ring" instrument panel with reconfigurable displays. It was inspired by Palm Pilot and other hand held devices and intended to replace the traditional knobs and gauges found on an instrument panel, center console and overhead console. Ten buttons around the top edge of the display allowed the driver to toggle smoothly from one function to the next.