VAUXHALLrecently introduced the famousGSibadge back to its range and I have been sampling it on the Insignia Sports Tourer.
TheGSilettering first appeared on Vauxhalls25 years ago and helped the company's performance vehicles stand out from more modest models. It now returns on the rump of the Insignia hatch and on the Sports Tourer estate which tops the range.
Fitted with a sports suspension theGSisits 10mm lower than regular Insignia models and comes with huge 20-inch alloys, bespoke bumpers and sills, LED headlights and shiny tail pipes also help it stand out from the crowd. In the cabin leather sports front seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a head-up display add to the package.
This 207bhp diesel version comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission but you can also change gears manually and select various driving modes including Sport which gives a better response.
It is not blisteringly quick as it is a large and quite heavy car but the sports chassis is very effective and well balanced. As you would expect it is firmer than on normal Insignia models but it is not so firm that it makes the ride uncomfortable and theFlexRideadaptive damping system copes extremely well with different road conditions.
The standard four-wheel-drive system means that theGSiis very stable and it also comes with torque vectoring. It handles well in all weather conditions with bags of grip even in the wet.
The steering is light and provides decent feedback while theBrembobrakes produce lots of stopping power.
Smooth and quiet the diesel is good for a top speed of 144mph and tackles the sprint to 60mph in just 7.4 seconds. It is also fairly economical for a large car with a combined claimed figure of just under 40mpg and I got very close to that over a couple of weeks of mixed festive season driving.
As well as being a great-looking car theGSiSports Tourer is also very practical with a huge boot and an even larger carrying capacity with the rear seats folded.
It munches motorway miles with ease and is just as happy in town or on flowing country roads.
Ideal for business users or as a family lifestyle vehicle the Sports Tourer also comes complete with all the latest safety equipment, technology and creature comforts.