Vauxhall Insignia

Grand Sport GSi

BiTurbo D

Vauxhall Insignia GSi, front action 2
Vauxhall Insignia GSi, side action 2
Vauxhall Insignia GSi, side action
Vauxhall Insignia GSi, rear action
Vauxhall Insignia GSi, dashboard
Vauxhall Insignia GSi, rear seats
Vauxhall Insignia GSi, boot

A FEW subtle styling tweaks - deeper bumpers and a neat tail spoiler - are the main external clues.

Behind the wheel the return of Vauxall's GSi badge after a couple of decades transforms the fleet favourite Insignia Grand Sport into a genuine sports saloon with precision handling and a depth of performance allowing it to be compared with Germany's best.

Sharpened and stiffened suspension has brought a new edge to its handling without adversely affecting the ride comfort. And the 2.0-litre diesel engine with twin turbochargers has added greater urgency to its progress.

There's a petrol version too, but it's the oil burner we review here and it's the model most likely to appeal to high mileage drivers in search of strong performance allied to reasonable economy.

An eight-speed automatic gearbox complete with steering wheel paddle change is standard apparel and works sublimely with the huge torque produced by the 2.0-litre, four cylinder engine. A choice between Sport or Tour modes by a button on the central console sharpens or relaxes the reactions and varies the steering weight depending on your mood.

With 207bhp at hand - not exactly earth-shattering levels of power - there's certainly enough to rattle off 62mph in under eight seconds. More impressive is the mid range grunt which aids fast safe overtaking.

To complete the picture Vauxhall has added Brembo brakes which are picked out in bright red and look the business behind the chunky 20-inch alloys. Not only do they look good but they bring the car to a halt quickly and securely. Power is fed to all four wheels boosting traction in slippery conditions.

The cabin is spacious and appropriately practical enough for a family car, with loads of room up front and enough space for three in the back. The fascia is positioned a fair way from the front seats so the driver sometimes must lean a long way forward to reach the controls.

Shades of dark grey and black dominate the ‘living room', making for a sombre scene. The sporty front seats wrap around their occupants like a lover's arms and keep you held firmly in place during brisk cornering. They're heated and electrically adjusted.

The boot is huge and extends deep into the car allowing 490 litres of luggage to be carried. Fold them down - not quite a flat floor - and this grows to no less than 1,450 litres. Plenty of cubby holes, deep door pockets and a central compartment for oddments make it an easy car to live with.

Noise levels on the move are fairly low although the diesel engine's tone is more gruff than sporty. Cruising in a high gear is relaxed and quiet with little road rumble or wind noise.

Pedal the GSi gently and you'll easily the 40mpg mark, but make full use of the power and exploit the deft handling and closer 30mpg is the more likely result.

Standard kit includes sat nav, eight inch touchscreen, heated front and rear seats, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, parking sensors front and rear and dark tinted rear windows.

FAST FACTS

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport GSi BiTurbo D

Price: £38,550

Mechanical:207bhp, 1,956cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 145mph

0-62mph: 7.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 39.2

Insurance Group: 28

C02 emissions: 184g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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