Vauxhall launches Passat-rivalling Insignia Grand Sport at Geneva
Vauxhall has unveiled its new Passat-rivalling Insignia Grand Sport at the Geneva Motor Show. This is the first time the car has been seen in the flesh, this model is the company’s new flagship and will sit above a new line-up of SUVs that are also due out over the coming months.
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The new Insignia Grand Sport isn’t just aiming at taking on its age-old rival, the Ford Mondeo, but also the likes of entry-level premium models such as the Jaguar XE, Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series. So, just how is it going to do it?
Well, despite being a five-door hatchback, its silhouette is more akin to a coupe. It gets an all-new upmarket look too, which will help it look the part sat next to the more expensive pickings of the saloon market.
At the front, the headlights are much slimmer than before, while the grille is lower and thinner than the current Insignia. There are large creases along the bottom of the body that run right up to the wheel arch, while split LED tail lights give the rear a completely new look, too.
On the inside
It’s larger than the current model, and as such is around 10cm longer. This translates into more legroom for rear passengers, and a generally more airy cabin. The dashboard houses a large touchscreen which operates Vauxhall’s latest IntelliLink infotainment software.
No exact specification has been confirmed yet, but it’ll be available in seven different trim levels: Design, Design Nav, SRi, SRi Nav, SRi VX-Line Nav, Tech Line Nav and Elite Nav. Vauxhall has also confirmed that a plethora of safety kit will be available such as a head-up display, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist and Rear Cross Assist.
Changes are just as drastic underneath, where you’ll find an all-new platform that means the new car is around 170kg lighter than its forebear.
As for engines, there’ll be a mix of 1.5-litre and 20-litre turbocharged petrol units, along with frugal 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels. The entry-level 1.5-litre petrol gets 138bhp or 163bhp, while the larger unit develops a healthy 256bhp.
The diesel units will vary in power between around 105 and 200bhp, although official performance and economy stats are yet to be confirmed.
New all-wheel-drive option with torque vectoring
In the hope of taking on the German executives, the Grand Sport will be offered with an all-wheel-drive system touted as a “class-leader” that will offer “huge driver appeal”, according to Vauxhall. Opting for the system will also see the six-speed manual give way to an eight-speed automatic gearbox that’ll be available with the range-topping petrol offering.
What’s more, Vauxhall has confirmed that new Insignias will be available with a clever torque-vectoring system too, which controls the distribution of torque according to changes in throttle position, steering angle and the quality of road surface.
Combined with the four-wheel-drive system, this should make the Insignia immensely capable in adverse conditions, proving more stable and steerable all of the time.
The Grand Sport will be joined by an estate soon after launch, aptly named the Sports Tourer. Like the saloon, it gets a new all-wheel-drive system.
However, a jacked up suspension and a chunky body will give it genuine off road ability, too. Vauxhall is clearly following the likes of Volkswagen’s Passat Alltrack and Mercedes’ new E-Class 4x4 with this model.
Elsewhere in the range, Vauxhall is obviously feeling the pressure up against rivals’ crossovers and SUVs, and has announced a Qashqai-sized crossover, the Crossland X, will be available sometime next year.
Available to order now, lease prices for the new Insignia will be available shortly, with the first cars getting to customers in the summer months. If you can’t wait until then however, here’s all our personal lease deals on the current Vauxhall Insignia.