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Just like any other Insignia, the GSi is available in either Grand Sport or Sports Tourer guises, and the choice of a petrol or diesel engine increases the number of possible model variations to four.

The quickest? That’s the Grand Sport with the 256bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor – the same car that bettered the old Insignia VXR’s Nürburgring lap time despite having 65bhp less power. Being 160kg lighter than the older car was likely a key factor.

Richard Lane

Road tester
Although the GSi-specific front bumper doesn’t scream ‘performance’, it does lend the Insignia a more purposeful, muscular stance compared with its standard range-mates.

The Insignia GSi Sports Tourer we opted to test, however, is powered by Vauxhall’s diesel engine. It’s the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder biturbo unit you’ll find in the Insignia Elite Nav and Country Tourer models – and so, a touch disappointingly, perhaps not what you’d consider a dedicated ‘performance’ engine – but it makes a pretty healthy 207bhp at 4000rpm and 354lb ft from 1500rpm.

This is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission – the first to be fitted to a Vauxhall – while a GKN Twinster e-diff aids traction by managing the distribution of torque actively between the rear wheels.

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Structurally, the GSi sits on the same E2 platform that underpins all Insignia models. Suspension comprises MacPherson struts and coil springs at the front, with a five-link axle and coil springs at the rear.

For the GSi, though, Vauxhall has dropped the Insignia’s ride height by 10mm and stiffened the spring rates by between 35% and 40% depending on the engine and bodystyle.

Flexride adaptive dampers are standard fit and offer a choice of three configurations: Standard, Sport and Tour. All variants ride on 20in alloy wheels that are shod in 245/35-sized Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres.

Each of these wheels is 1.5kg lighter than the comparable 20in alloy offered on lesser Insignia models. Four-cylinder Brembo front brakes also provide improved stopping power.

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