6 November 2003

Autocar is one of the first magazines in the world to drive the stunning Insignia concept, the Frankfurt Show star that will change the way we think about Vauxhall.

Planned to replace the Omega saloon, the ultra-modern, rear-drive design is part of a broader plan to provide the Vauxhall line-up with a much sharper appearance than the dreary look it has flaunted for the past decade or so. The Luton-based company’s plan is to position it more as an executive-class model than a high-volume fleet car. Rivals would include the Audi A6, BMW 5-series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Power comes from Chevrolet’s 5.7-litre V8, producing 339bhp and a healthy 356lb ft of torque. Harnessing all this is a platform borrowed from the Australian Holden Commodore, using struts up front and trailing arms at the rear. No coincidence as the Insignia is designed to sit on the next generation Commodore underpinnings.

Neither traditional saloon nor traditional coupé, the new concept is a combination of both bodystyles. The new car looks imposing from every angle and certainly a much more promising proposition than the bland Omega. Doing without a conventional boot, Vauxhall has decided its large-car future rests with a fastback style offering 410 litres of luggage space.

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Climb inside and the Insignia’s cabin is cool and sophisticated in a relaxed and inviting way. Decked out in a combination of smooth tobacco-brown leather, satin-finished aluminium, polished Macassar ebony wood and rich woolen carpets, it’s a wonderful place to be, but obviously far too expensive ever to be considered for production.

Read the full story in this week’s Autocar

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