Opel Insignia Grand Sport


Debut: 2017
Maker: Opel
Predecessor: Insignia (2008)



 Published on 3 Apr 2017
All rights reserved. 


Insignia Grand Sport is the last Opel developed fully under the ownership of GM.


The launch of the second generation Opel Insignia, or officially Insignia Grand Sport, could not come at a worse timing. Just before it went on sale, parent company GM announced the sale of its European operation to PSA group, ending an ownership that dates back to 1929. In the past 5 years or so, Opel has been working hard to turn around itself. It has renewed all its model lines, added the niche Adam and is replacing its old-fashioned MPVs with crossovers. It tried to build a green image by badge-engineering Chevrolet Volt to Ampera. It supplied the old Insignia to Buick and is offering the new car to replace Holden Commodore. In short, it tried everything it can but, somehow, failed to turn black. In fact, it has been losing money in each of the past 16 years. So frustrated that the American opted to quit Europe altogether. Consequently, Insignia Grand Sport becomes the last Opel developed fully under the ownership of GM.

Coincidence or not, the Insignia GS is also the most American-like big car. For starter, it is a lot larger than the old car, being 4.9m long, 1.86m wide and runs a 2829mm wheelbase – the latter is 92mm up from the last generation. Its sleek, handsome shape returns a Cd of only 0.26, while the expressive design owes more to American than German school. Rebadge it as a Buick and no one would feel strange. Its low roof line – some 29mm lower than before – and steeply raked C-pillar may earn it equal status to Audi A5 Sportback or Volkswagen Arteon (new CC), yet the Opel is as affordable as ever. Like American saloons, it offers more space and kits for the money.



Steeply raked C-pillar may earn it equal status to Audi A5 Sportback, yet the Opel is as affordable as ever.


Inside, it is remarkably close to Buick, too. The interior design is quite stylish. Infotainment system is up to date, if not outstanding. Materials are generally high quality, although the lower half of the dashboard is made of hard plastics to save cost. Switchgears, fit and finish are not quite premium grade, but it is probably higher than Ford Mondeo/Fusion’s. The seats are supportive and comfortable. Driving position is good and ergonomics is sounded. The cabin feels easily more spacious than before. There is vast of rear legroom thanks to the wheelbase extension. Predictably, rear headroom is not as good due to the swoopy roofline, but by mounting the rear seat 30mm lower it is still good enough to fit 6-footers, just. The only real drawback is the boot, which shrinks by 40 liters to 490 liters, smaller than the class norm.

The new large car is built on GM’s E2XX platform which also underpins Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse in the USA. Its chief progress is weight reduction. The monocoque chassis is made 60 kg lighter, thanks to using high-strength steel and aluminum bonnet. As before the suspension is struts up front and multi-link at the rear (4WD models have 5 links instead of 4 links). There won’t be torque-steer-reducing HiPer strut anymore because Opel has dropped the poor selling OPC version this time around. This means, the most powerful engine will be the 260 hp 2.0 Turbo, which is coupled to the new Aisin 8-speed automatic transmission and GKN Twinster 4WD system with torque vectoring (like Ford Focus RS). Another new engine is the mass-selling 1.5-liter direct injection turbo with 165 hp. It can be equipped with either 6-speed manual or 8-speed auto. If these are familiar, it is because you have already seen them on Chevy Malibu. Exclusive to the European car is diesel engines, of course. These include a 1.6-liter with 110hp, 136hp or 160hp, or 2-liter with 180hp. At the lower end of the range, the 1.5T petrol is available in 140hp tune.



The cabin feels easily more spacious than before, thanks to the wheelbase boost.


On the road, the Insignia GS also goes quite like a Buick. It is neither sporty nor fun to steer, but it is smooth and comfortable to cruise along. With very long high gears, the 165hp 1.5T engine cruises at motorway speed with only 2500 rpm on the rev counter, no wonder it is remarkably hushed. When you want to overtake, engage the light clutch and sweet gearbox, you will find the small turbocharged motor offers plenty of useful torque, and then the car gathers speed willingly, if never dramatically. In corners, the new car’s lighter weight is evident, as it threads through corners willingly despite the growth in dimensions. However, there is little feel from the electric power steering. The chassis tuning is not as hardcore as Ford or Mazda either, so it lacks the sharp turn-in or composed body control of its rivals. On the flipside, the car cruises with superb ride comfort as well as high-speed stability.

On the 2.0 Turbo 4x4 fitted with 18-inch wheels (instead of 17-inch of lesser models), the ride comfort suffers some losses, especially on pot holes or rough surfaces, while tire noise is more evident on cruising. Opt for the largest 20-inch wheels and it becomes nearly unbearable, so it is best to save money. This car has electronic adaptive dampers fitted as standard, so you can alter the suspension stiffness between Comfort and Sport mode. However, the former lacks body control to inspire driving thrills, while the latter returns a ride too harsh to be enjoyable on back roads. It proves that Opel has yet to master the art of ride and handling like Ford, Mazda or even Volkswagen. In fact, the 2.0 Turbo 4x4 may disappoint customers who expect a lot from its name. It is simply not fast enough (0-60 mph takes just under 7 seconds). Its Aisin automatic has long gearing to promote fuel economy, and it does not downshift quick enough when you call for action. The result is a lukewarm performance. Even the Twinster 4WD here is not as remarkable as on Ford Focus RS, because all it does is to maintain the neutral handling without permitting the slightest drift on throttle. The result is a secured driving manner like Audi’s Quattro.



The result is less than the sum of its components...


Sadly, the last Opel developed under the GM umbrella fails to break away from the usual mold of Opel. It has the necessary ingredients in place, such as Twinster, adaptive dampers, multilink suspension, new turbo motors and even a good look, but the result is less than the sum of its components. Given more development time and budget and I think it could have a good chance to succeed. Unfortunately, for a subsidiary losing money in the last 16 years, GM ran out of patience.
Verdict:
 Published on 28 Feb 2018
All rights reserved. 
Insignia GSi and Buick Regal GS


The GSi has its flaws polished and transformed itself into a very handsome machine...


Unlike the last generation, the current Insignia is not going to have the OPC high-performance model. It might sound strange, because its Twinster 4WD system should be able to take on more power than the existing 260-horsepower 2.0T engine can produce. Now we know why: if you are planning to offload your loss-making subsidiary, you are unlikely to invest further money and effort into its future. Without the money, Opel has to settle on a lukewarm nameplate: GSi.

If you focus on power, the Insignia GSi will be disappointing, since it keeps the 260hp 2.0T engine and Aisin 8-speed automatic transmission intact. There’s not much problem with this powertrain combo, just don’t assume it is a performance car. What Rüsselsheim did is enhancing its looks and handling. The former is really cool, thanks to a cleaner front bumper with two chromed intakes, side skirts, a rear spoiler and a pair of chromed, rectangular exhaust that mirrors the front intakes. Whereas the regular Insignia has a beautiful shape let down by the details, the GSi has its flaws polished and transformed itself into a very handsome machine.

To improve handling, the suspension of GSi is lowered by 10mm and its springs stiffened by 40 percent. CDC adaptive dampers are fitted standard, whose stiffness can be controlled across 4 modes. Ditto the engine, transmission, steering and 4WD mapping. 235/35ZR20 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires offer more grip, while braking performance is enhanced by fitting 345mm front discs with Brembo 4-pot calipers, while the rears are upgraded to 315mm ventilated discs.



There is not much fun to have during the drive, but they are effective high-speed cruisers...


Power-hungry American and Australian are slightly luckier, because their versions of the car, i.e. Buick Regal GS (GS = Gran Sport) and Holden Commodore VXR (not a real Commodore, of course), employ a V6 instead. However, don't be too excited. This is GM’s normally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 currently used on some Cadillacs (mounted longitudinally) and Buick LaCrosse (transversely like Regal). While it is suitably advanced, with direct injection, DVVT and cylinder deactivation technology, its needs to rev to 6800 rpm to squeeze out the 310 peak horsepower, or a rather high 5200 rpm to realize its 282 pound-foot of peak torque. That’s no match for modern turbocharged motors or classic Chevy V8. Therefore, at no time the cars feel as quick as, say, a BMW 340i, or to lesser extent the Ford Fusion V6 Sport. It is only in the same ball park of fast Camry, Accord and Maxima. Note that the V6 comes with a different transmission, i.e. a new 9-speed automatic developed jointly by GM and Ford. It works nicely with the engine, delivering smooth performance and less delay than the Aisin 8-speeder of Opel, thanks to an excellent calibration. That said, the lack of shift paddles is an unforgivable oversight for something with a hint of performance.

Both the Opel and Buick have similar chassis behavior. Their steering feels numb regardless of modes, which alter weight but not feel. It also lacks the turn-in response and the kind of neutral handling demanded by keen drivers. There is not much fun to have during the drive, but they are effective high-speed cruisers, thanks to a smooth ride in comfort mode, and the cabin is well insulated from noises. Switch to sport mode and body roll is reduced, but the ride suffers noticeably on rough surfaces. The GKN rear axle offers dependable traction and grip, but unlike Ford Focus RS, you can hardly sense any torque vectoring. This chassis is still default to understeer under pressure.

Fortunately, you spend minimal extra on the minimal return. All these cars are sold at a slight premium over their regular versions thus they are good value. There are plenty of motorists love the looks of sporty cars without wanting the price. Opel Insignia GSi and Buick Regal GS might suit them.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Insignia Grand Sport 1.6D
2017
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4897 / 1863 / 1455 mm
2829 mm
Inline-4 diesel
1598 cc
DOHC 16 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
136 hp
236 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
225/55R17
1428 kg
131 mph (c)
9.9 (c)
-
Insignia Grand Sport 1.5T
2017
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4897 / 1863 / 1455 mm
2829 mm
Inline-4
1490 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
165 hp
184 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
225/55R17
1365 kg
138 mph (c)
8.4 (c)
-
Insignia Grand Sport GSi
2018
Front-engined, 4WD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4910 / 1871 / 1445 mm
2829 mm
Inline-4
1998 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
260 hp
295 lbft
8-speed automatic
F: strut
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
235/35ZR20
1608 kg
155 mph (limited)
6.8 (c)
-




Performance tested by: -





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Buick Regal
2018
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4897 / 1863 / 1455 mm
2829 mm
Inline-4
1998 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
250 hp
260 lbft
9-speed automatic
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
245/45R18
1554 kg
-
5.6*
13.8*
Buick Regal GS
2018
Front-engined, 4WD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4900 / 1863 / 1455 mm
2829 mm
V6, 60-degree
3649 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
-
DI, cylinder deactivation
310 hp / 6800 rpm
282 lbft / 5200 rpm
9-speed automatic
F: strut
R: multi-link
Adaptive damping
245/40R19
1722 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.9 (est)
-



























Performance tested by: *C&D





AutoZine Rating

General models


GSi / Regal GS



    Copyright© 1997-2018 by Mark Wan @ AutoZine