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What the Press say about the Insignia VXR

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  • What the Press say about the Insignia VXR

    These are the first pictures of Vauxhall’s third Insignia model, the estate. But estates are boring and dull, so Vauxhall has dubbed this the Sports Tourer, not to be confused with Renault’s Sport Tourer. The Sports Tourer will debut at this autumn's Paris motor show and come with a choice of seven engines and the option of front- or four-wheel drive.
    Sports Tourer? More PR nonsense me thinks…

    Certainly, but thankfully Vauxhall isn’t make silly claims about the active lifestyles its customers might lead. But Vauxhall has compromised the new car. The old (whisper its name) Vectra estate sat on a longer wheelbase than the saloon and hatch. It meant its initial launch was delayed but it also meant more space inside. This time around the Insignia Sports Tourer uses the same 2737mm wheelbase and Vauxhall isn't claiming class-leading load space. But it does mean the new car will be available next summer, just a few months after the saloon and hatch
    But if the space inside has taken a hit things look better on the outside. The Insigina Sports Tourer is 80mm longer than the saloon or hatch. ‘This is a stand-alone model and not simply an estate version of the saloon,' says Mark Adams, vice-president of GM Europe Design. 'In fact, all the bodywork aft of the B-pillars is unique to the Sports Tourer.' These includes an Audi Q7-esque wraparound tailgate and Ford Focus CC-style tailights but the overall look is very smart.
    What about these new engines?

    Vauxhall isn't releasing any details but alongside the existing five-unit line-up in the saloon and hatch we know the Sports Tourer will come with a more powerful diesel engine and a smaller capacity turbocharged petrol engine. An EcoFlex variant will also be available, as will the same tech found on the saloon and hatch, including adaptive lights and the Front Camera System that reads road signs.
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  • #2
    Vauxhall Insignia Estate

    The wraps are off Vauxhall’s new Insignia estate, which will debut at the Paris Motor Show in October. Called the Sports Tourer, it will go on sale in the UK in Spring 2009 rivalling Ford's Mondeo Estate and Honda's Accord Tourer.

    Like the saloon and hatcback models, it's certainly good looking, with a neatly styled tail. All the bodywork aft of the B-pillars is unique to the Sports Tourer and the look is finished off with some stylish rear light clusters. Vauxhall says the Sports Tourer shares the same wheelbase as the saloon and hatchback models but is 80mm longer.
    Inside there's room for five and, says Vauxhall, "one of the best loadspace volumes in its class". Full details of just how big the boot is will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show. Under the bonnet will be two new engines – a more powerful turbodiesel and a smaller capacity turbocharged petrol unit – in addition to the five powerplants available in the saloon and hatchback models. Vauxhall says there will also be a low emission ecoFLEX version too.
    Like the saloon and hatch, the Sports Tourer will be available with front- and four-wheel drive, as well as Vauxhall’s FlexRide system. The new estate model will also get Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL) and a Front Camera System, which can read and memorise road signs and alert drivers.
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    • #3
      AutoExpress - First Drive June 2004

      For mainstream makers, the executive car market seems a dead duck. Renault's Vel Satis tried to break the mould, but failed dismally. Peugeot's 607 sells in tiny numbers, Volkswagen's Phaeton isn't setting showrooms on fire, while Ford and Fiat have given up on execs altogether. Whether we like it or not, the battle is dominated by Germany's big three, Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
      But that's not going to stop Vauxhall trying to break into the big time. And this is the car it believes can deliver - the Insignia concept, which debuted at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show. Auto Express was invited to take the wheel of what will be the next Omega to see what is in store for fans of big Vaux-halls. There's no doubt that the Insignia, seen here wearing Opel badges on our test route in Germany, cuts an impressive figure. Its imposing high-tail makes it stand out in a sea of conventional saloons. But unlike the wacky five-door Vel Satis, the tailgate is disguised as a coupe-style fastback.
      Design chiefs say they wanted a "personal car that the driver would be proud to be seen in". The idea is that during the week the Insignia would be used as a business tool, but at the weekend could convert to a versatile five-seater family machine that can carry the children and cope with shopping trips.
      Under the dramatic bodywork, engineers knew they would need lots of power and an agile rear-wheel-drive chassis to cope with the performance. So they turned to GM's Australian arm, Holden, and borrowed running gear from the Commodore and Monaro. Inside, though, the Insignia is like nothing else. The cabin is a stylish mix of soft brown leather and exotic ebony wood inlays. All of the controls are grouped tightly around the driver, with some of the switchgear mounted on pods just millimetres from your fingertips.
      To promote a sense of calm, though, only the essential switches are exposed. More complex buttons are hidden under flaps in the angled centre console.
      In the back of the car, the seats are similar in layout to those in the Signum. They can be switched from three-abreast to twin chairs offering extra shoulder room or dropped down to transform the Insignia into a spacious estate.
      The doors, which swing open and slide down the side of car, are impressive, although they're unlikely to make it to the production model. Slide behind the leather-trimmed steering wheel, hit the starter button and it's the 5.7-litre 344bhp V8 - also used in the new Vauxhall Monaro - which grabs the attention, though. The engine emits a deep growl that hints at serious performance: GM promises the car will cover 0-62mph in less than six seconds.
      Slip the leather selector into gear and the Insignia slinks away with the poise of the best German cars. The driving position is excellent, the bolstered seats superb and the interior very light and airy.
      The engine pulls exceptionally well and, even though this is a prototype, it's clear the Holden chassis is sporty and well balanced. If GM gives it the green light for production, which we've been told is more than likely, then BMW and Mercedes should start to look worried...
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      • #4
        Insignia - Reinventing Itself

        The Insignia replaces the Vectra. You can hardly blame GM for changing the name, because the Vectra badge has become a ball and chain that no new car could successfully drag along. But a new name alone won't do the trick. In 1995, the Vectra replaced the Cavalier. That was one unpleasant car succeeding another, and no amount of renaming could hide it. If the Insignia nameplate is going to get any respect, the car it’s riveted to has to be a real step forward.

        So the Insignia is. GM knewit had to look better and feel likea quality item. After all, brilliant dynamics aren’t the be-all and end-all. If they were, Audi certainly wouldn't have got where it is today.

        The Insignia's designers have done all the right things: fast screen angles front and rear,a muscular sweep to the surfaces, big wheels to fill the arches, neat details, careful shutlines and smart jewellery. The widened track helps a lot, of course. Both the saloon and the hatch share a similar sleek tail end. Next January’s estate, slightly longer aft of the back wheels, has all the confidenceof an Audi A6 wagon.
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        • #5
          Vauxhall Insignia - Why Vauxhall's Insignia Might Handle Rather Well

          If the Lotus Evora was the biggest London Motor Show news for those of an evo persuasion, it's a fact that Vauxhall's new Insignia will touch more people's lives. Its Vectra predecessor, though, is not a loved car among those who love cars. That said, a mid-life makeover did result in handling and ride qualities rather better than any Vectra-knocker could ever have expected.

          The transformation was enacted in the UK, at Vauxhall/Opel's engineering centre base at the Millbrook test track in Bedfordshire. That way, the Vectra could be tuned to suit UK roads with their bumps, ripples, steep cambers and varying-radius bends, all of which set our roads apart from many in mainland Europe (especially tidy Germany). But it was a salvage job on an existing chassis. For the Insignia, there was the chance to get everything right from the beginning.

          Wayne Doyle is the Performance Integration Manager Vehicle Dynamics/RHD Cross Car Line. Despite those 'RHD' initials in that wordy title, Doyle is adamant that there is no longer different set-ups for the UK and continental Europe. 'We take input from different demanding environments,' he says, 'and develop suspension tuning which will work in all of them.'

          What, then, is he looking for in a car for UK roads? 'There's more need in the UK for precision and agility because of the blind curves and radius changes. If the corner changes, you need to be able to correct that. For undulating roads you need firm body control, but you also need suppleness for rough surfaces.'

          So far, so fairly obvious. How do you get the right mix? Doyle explains: 'If the damping is too supple at first, you'll get wheel patter and shake. The initial damping influences steering response and agility, too. If we can make it work on these roads, it can benefit everywhere else in Europe.'

          How, then, does Doyle reconcile the public's obsession with huge wheels and ultra-low-profile tyres with his aims? 'Big wheels can mean more mass, and it's in the wrong place for ride quality. To get the right damping control with a big unsprung mass can lead to an abrupt feel in the ride.

          'As for tyres, ideally we'd choose the best tyre size for the ride/handling compromise. Wider tyres can bring a gain in steering precision, but they are more sensitive to camber changes so they can tramline. That's because the contact patch is always changing, and the steering gets pulled around if the sidewalls are stiff. The 18in wheels and 45-profile tyres are a good balance for the Insignia.'

          Vauxhall/Opel's new family car uses fully hydraulic power steering even though electric systems are working their way up the car-sizes. That's good news for steering feel. There's also the option of FlexRide, a system whose 'driver mode control' detects the 'dynamic driving index' and alters the operating mode of the adaptive damping to take it one notch up or down the selected range if it senses a temporary change in driving style.

          As is usual, the Sport setting also alters steering weight, sharpens the throttle response, loosens the ESP and, in an automatic, makes the transmission map more alert. All Insignias, though, whether with FlexRide or with the passive Comfort or Sport calibrations, have steering designed for precision without nervousness. And their chassis tuning is designed to hold no snares even with ESP switched out.

          All-wheel drive is standard with a 2.8-litre turbo engine, optional with a 2.0 turbo, using a system similar to GM cousin Saab's. First press test drives are in September. That's when we'll discover just how far the Insignia has left the Vectra behind.
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          • #6
            Vauxhall Press Release

            • Stand-alone estate model to join range
            • Retains wheelbase and design language of hatch and saloon
            • Two new engines available from launch
            Luton. These are the first official shots of Vauxhall's new Insignia estate, which will debut at the Paris Salon on 2 October.
            Known as the Sports Tourer, it will be available to UK buyers in the second quarter of 2009 and will feature two new engines – a more powerful turbodiesel and a smaller capacity turbocharged petrol unit – in addition to the five powerplants available from launch in the saloon and hatchback models. An ecoFLEX Sports Tourer with competitively low emissions and fuel consumption will also be available in the near future.
            Mark Adams, Vice-President of GM Europe Design, described the Sports Tourer's design as athletic, powerful and elegant. "However," says Mark, "this is a stand-alone model and not simply an estate version of the saloon. In fact, all the bodywork aft of the B-pillars is unique to the Sports Tourer. We've also ensured that its design combines the sculptural artistry and technical precision found in the saloon and hatch models."
            Designers gave the rear of the Sports Tourer a unique, yet cohesive appearance by pulling the wraparound tailgate deep in to its flanks and accentuating it with large, fully integrated tail lights.
            Inside, as with the Insignia saloon and hatch, the Sports Tourer has ample room for five adults and one of the best loadspace volumes in its class. (Full dimension and capacity details of the loadspace will be revealed at the Paris Auto Show in October 2008.) Despite this, Vauxhall has retained the hatch and saloon's wheelbase (2,737mm) and added around 80mm to its length.
            The new petrol and diesel engines available in the Sports Tourer will complement the Insignia's existing line up of three petrol and two diesel units, including the 130 and 160PS 2.0 CDTi which achieve 58.9mpg on the extra urban cycle, the 220PS 2.0i Turbo, and the 260PS 2.8i V6 range-topper, capable of powering the Insignia from 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds.
            Like the Insignia hatch and saloon, the Sports Tourer will also be available with front- and all-wheel drive, as well as Vauxhall's FlexRide system with its Adaptive Stability Technology.
            The new estate model will also benefit from the high levels of technology showcased at Insignia's launch, such as Vauxhall's latest generation Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL), with its nine light beam settings, and the Front Camera System, which can read and memorise road signs and alert drivers if they unintentionally veer off the road.
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            • #7
              Insignia Sports Tourer wagon revealed before Paris Motor Show


              The all-new Insignia is about to go on sale as a Vauxhall in Britain and an Opel throughout the rest of Europe, thereby replacing the Vectra sedan. It's a marked improvement over its predecessor in style, and we're eager for it to arrive in the States as the next-gen Saturn Aura. Vauxhall had the honor today of announcing the next version of the Insignia that will makes its debut at the Paris Motor Show in October: the Insignia Sports Tourer. That's a fancy way of calling it a wagon, or estate as they like to say in the old country. Being that the sedan and hatch are quite handsome, it's fair to say the Sports Tourer is as well, though its rear end looks like a lowered Audi Q7. GM Europe says that all the bodywork aft of the B-pillar is unique to the Sports Tourer, and that while the length of the wheelbase hasn't changed, a little over three inches was added to the overall length. Vauxhall also announced a more power turbodiesel engine and smaller turbocharged four-cylinder will be joining the Insignia's engine lineup, but are saving any details, including the wagon's capacities, until the Paris Motor Show.
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              • #8
                Vauxhall Launches Insignia Website


                Insignia is the new name on a totally new car from Vauxhall. With dynamic design and innovative technology throughout, new Insignia takes Vauxhall's design language to the next dimension. Muscular, but lithe and curvaceous. Sculpted but flowing. New Insignia boasts a coupe-like silhouette for both saloon and hatchback. Look inside and the design themes continue. Adding comfort, convenience and smart features too.
                There's a choice of five efficient petrol and diesel engines - from 140PS to a 260PS V6 - all Euro 5 compliant. And new technology that's designed to make life easier, whether its a different driving feel to suit your mood, the perfect headlight pattern for every situation, or permanent, adaptive four-wheel drive for smooth, strong acceleration and dynamic handling in all conditions.
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                • #9
                  Autocar Insignia VXR First Drive

                  Date: 07/07/2009
                  By: Steve Cropley

                  What is it?
                  According to its creators, the Insignia VXR is three things: the 155 mph flagship version of Vauxhall’s thriving Insignia executive car range, the car that finally lifts its 10-year run of VXR-badged performance models above the raucous, boy-racer tag that has always stuck to them, and a performance car from GM Europe that honestly deserves to turn a BMW buyer’s head.

                  These are big claims — and assessing each one depends on a dispassionate examination of the driving experience, so we drove a car as fast as we could legally go from Frankfurt to London, to discover the worth of them.

                  What's it like?
                  Well, it certainly has the on-paper credentials.
                  The 2.8-litre turbo V6 has hotter camshaft profiles, bigger injection nozzles and more aggressive engine management parameters so it produces 321 bhp at 5250 rpm instead of the standard V6’s 255.

                  It gets a high performance 4wd system with electronically managed torque splits, adaptive electronic traction controls depending on how you drive, plus lightweight Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers and hybrid alloy discs with cast-iron centres.

                  You get a specially tuned chassis, 20mm lower than standard, including special, low-friction “hyperstruts” that cut steering friction and improve feel. You get a three-level ride control system (firm, hard, harder), which also adjusts things like steering weight and accelerator “alertness” as it goes.

                  There’s a magnificent set of specially adapted Recaro seats and just about every interior nicety you can imagine, short of on-board TV and radar cruise control.

                  The VXR is relatively quiet but sounds lovely when you give it the beans. It is governed at 155 mph (could probably crack 170), can run a 0-60 mph sprint in 5.8 seconds, and accelerates 50-75 mph in 7.1 seconds.
                  That’s big performance in a cross-Europe grand touring sense, but not quite enough to match true tyre-burners like the BMW M5 or Audi RS6. But few owners will think it too slow.

                  Here’s the point: everything has been done with thoroughness and subtelty. The steering is sensitive and has great feel. The engine’s smooth, powerful and entirely free of turbo-lag.

                  The standard ride condition is firm but comfortable, while more aggressive settings (really only needed for hard driving) work well with the power, even on Britain’s bad roads.

                  The brakes are extremely powerful, the firm, shapely seats are comfortable for 200 mioles at a time, and the whole car has a base level of smoothness and mechanical refinement that makes you seriously doubt the speedo when it’s reading 120 mph.

                  Should I buy one?
                  Yes. Against other cars of its size, equipment and capability, the Insignia VXR is a spectacular bargain. Entry price for a saloon or hatchback is a paltry £30,995, or £32,320 for an estate.

                  The car is so well equipped that it is only possible to add three options: 20-inch wheels at £1100, a leather pack at £1300 and on-board navigation for £815.

                  The lack of a big name is a declining problem: the sheer presence of this go-faster Insignia, together the spreading realisation that VXR cars do what is claimed for them, helps a lot.

                  The car’s bulk is reduced in the driver’s mind by its poise and controllability. But the true no-brainer is this VXR’s value for money.
                  A car with this ability and equipment would cost between £50,000 and £60,000 in a BMW/Merc/Audi line-up. Save £25k, and concede absolutely nothing.

                  More pictures here
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