Well, besides 'bang for your buck', it offers plenty to brag about in the office canteen. There’s asymmetrical four-wheel drive, HiPerStrut front suspension, supportive Recaro sports seats, adaptive dampers and four-piston performance brakes by Brembo. Alan Partridge could dine out for months on this stuff.
It had all that stuff before, mind you, so it's no real surprise that we found the car’s performance and handling very much as it was back in 2009, too. The Insignia Supersport is a fairly fast and capable sports saloon, but a slightly mannered and straight-laced one. In the end, while it’s a usable, grown-up kind of performance car, it doesn’t involve or excite you as much as it might.
There’s little drama or definition about the thrum of its V6 engine. It doesn’t sound fast and, given its head, the Insignia doesn’t feel as fast as that 170mph terminal speed implies. Throttle response is soft when you’ve got Normal mode selected, while the pedal becomes over-sensitive in VXR mode. Sport mode is a relatively happy medium, in which the car’s ride and handling compromise is both taut and compliant.
But there’s neither a big whoosh of torque to speak of when you ask for one, nor a frenzied race to the redline that might be worth waiting for.
There’s strange inconsistency, too, about the way the Insignia VXR steers. You get a big, unresponsive ‘sneeze zone’ around the dead-ahead, followed by a sudden increase in directness at about 50deg of lock. You can get used to that, though, and when you do, you’ll find reasonable balance and more than enough lateral grip to have a bit of fun with.
But familiarity doesn’t quite redeem a four-wheel drive system that fails to deliver much extra cornering agility in all but the slipperiest conditions, and that also can’t keep the steering feedback completely unsullied by driving forces as you flex your right foot.