What is it?
This is Vauxhall's new performance flagship, and a spiritual successor of sorts for the old Insignia VXR.
Following its reveal at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, Vauxhall was keen to point out that this model - badged Insignia GSi - was not only developed at the Nürburgring but was 12 seconds faster around the circuit than the old VXR, despite being 64bhp down on power. No word was given on what that exact time was, but 12 seconds is 12 seconds. Make what you will of the official lap time’s absence.
What is clear is that, whatever that time was, it wouldn’t have been set in the variant of Insignia GSi we have here. While that car would have been the 256bhp petrol-powered Grand Sport hatch, this is the oil-burning estate - or Sports Tourer in Vauxhall speak.
Explained in a rather unforgiving manner, this means it’s the slowest, heaviest version of the fastest, most exciting Insignia - but only by a small margin. On the flip side, it’s also the most practical and offers slightly better economy than its petrol-powered stablemates. So every cloud and all that.
The engine is a 2.0-litre Biturbo four-cylinder diesel that develops 207bhp and 354lb ft of torque, sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission (the first to ever be fitted to a Vauxhall, don’t you know). There’s also a twin-clutch differential at the rear axle that allows more torque to be sent to the outside rear wheel during cornering.
Although the Insignia GSi’s suspension architecture is shared with other Insignia models – that means lightweight MacPherson struts and coil springs up front, with a five-link axle and coil springs at the rear – it sits 10mm lower and spring rates have been stiffened by as much as 40%. Vauxhall’s FlexRide adaptive damping has also been thrown into the mix, offering the choice of three driving modes: Standard, Sport and Tour.