Innovation goes mainstream
Opel’s latest world car is the Insignia, which was designed and engineered at General Motors Europe’s site in Rüsselsheim, where it is also being built.
Aimed at the mid-size segment, Insignia replaces the Opel Vectra. Launched at the 2008 London Motor Show, the new car will hit dealerships in Germany before the end of the year and other markets as of January 2009. It is badged as a Vauxhall in Great Britain), with plans to begin exports to Australia and New Zealand as a Holden.
The Insignia is the first Vauxhall to be badged with company's new logo, dispensing the characteristic "V" grille which has adorned Vauxhall models since 1994. “The Opel Insignia is engineered to energize both the segment and its customer’s lifestyle, offering a powerful combination of bold design, driving dynamics and high utility value at an affordable price,” says Alain Visser, Chief Marketing Officer at GM Europe.
The company describes the Insignia as having successfully “brought the sporty coupé design to the mid-size sedan class without making any concessions in interior space”. The Insignia offers three centimeters more knee room than the Vectra, which it replaces, and a Cd of 0.27.
There is a line-up of seven engines. All meet Euro 5 emissions standards and come with six-speed transmissions, either manual or automatic. The four gasoline engines range from a four-cylinder 115 hp unit to a V6 with 260 hp. The three new direct-injection turbo-diesels exclusively developed for the Insignia feature displacement of 2.0 liters. They offer outputs spanning from 110 to 160 hp and torque values ranging from 260 to 350 Nm. All combinations compare competitively in CO2 emissions. An ecoFLEX variant with what the company calls “remarkably low fuel consumption and CO2 emission levels” will be added in the near future.
“Technical innovations” include a new Opel Eye camera system, which can both read and memorize road signs as well as alert drivers when they unintentionally veer off the road. The Insignia is one of the first production vehicles to be fitted with the system. Other innovations include a “Hot Shot” heated washer fluid takes some of the hassle out of winter driving. The further enhanced Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL) also significantly increases driving safety. Pedestrian safety is enhanced through the design of the aluminum hood designed by Novelis.
Featuring an all new chassis architecture, the Insignia is offered from the start with front-wheel and all-wheel drive.
In the all-wheel Adaptive 4X4 mode, the FlexRide mechatronic chassis system with its Adaptive Stability Technology helps the car continually adjust to prevailing driving conditions and, in addition, allows the drivers to select settings to match their mood. FlexRide is also available in the front-wheel drive version.
The Insignia hatchback offers a luggage compartment volume of 500 to 1,465 liters, and includes a ski-hatch opening in the rear seat-back for load-through storage. This model is particularly important for markets such as the U.K. and France, where hatchbacks traditionally enjoy a high market share of the mid-size class segment. In 2007, 86% of all Vectras sold in the U.K. were the hatchback version. In France, Vectra hatchbacks accounted last year for 85% of Vectra sales.