What's it like?
The more graceful shape results from a lower scuttle, a longer bonnet (which is now aluminium), a prouder, more vertical front grille, narrower headlights (including new LED, 32-element IntelliLux units, a £1010 option), a longer wheelbase and sculpted body sides that present Vauxhall’s familiar blade-like styling element in a new way.
The Insignia Grand Sport comes with wheels varying in diameter from 17in to 20in depending on specification, but all models have the same spring and damper rates for their all-independent suspension. A Tourer (estate) version carrying a £1500 premium is due a few weeks after the saloon and a higher-riding Country Tourer model is due at the year-end.
Like the current Astra, the Insignia delivers a startling weight saving right across the range: up to 175kg, model-for-model, of which 60kg comes from the body alone. The car is also impressively aerodynamic. Design chief Mark Adams cites the simplicity of the sleek lines as one reason for an impressively low drag factor of 0.26. The interior is similarly impressive: it is simple, drawing inspiration from the clean surfaces of the exterior, and from Adams’ preoccupation with simple logic for switch design and layout. Best of all is an enhanced aura of quality, inside and out.
On the road, the new Grand Sport has the same relaxed, easy-cruising feel as its predecessor, but improved. Its slight increases in length and width aren’t detectable from the driving seat, though when you set it up for a six-footer, there’s still decent generous room for same in the rear. Our test car, a mid-spec Insignia Grand Sport Tech Line manual retailing at £23,910 (with £3900 worth of accessories that included the IntelliLux headlights, a newly-offered £705 glass sunroof and £555 worth of two-coat metallic paint) had the more powerful of two 1.5-litre petrol versions, packing 163bhp claimed to give it an 8.4sec 0-60mph time and a 138mph top speed.