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SPORTS MACHINE FOR CONNOISSEURS: INSIGNIA GSI MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
21 Jul 2017
Opel South Africa
Opel South Africa
Sharper, more precise, even more efficient. The new Opel Insignia GSi is a sports sedan for those who like something special. A driver’s car for maximum fun on all kinds of roads. The chassis with its very dynamic set-up and the particularly high level of grip, in combination with all-wheel drive, ensures a rewarding driving experience as well as maximum safety. The new eight-speed automatic transmission can be operated via shift-paddles at the steering wheel – like a racing car – for an even more active driving experience. Typical of the new Insignia-generation is the combination of lightweight design, low center of gravity and 2.0-liter turbo power. This results in excellent balance and a very good power to weight ratio. Such internal values deserve a special exterior. With large chrome air-intakes at the front and a neat rear spoiler for the necessary downforce on the rear axle, the GSi’s looks perfectly match the performance. The leather upholstered, integrated sports seats (specially developed for the GSi), the leather sports steering wheel and the aluminum pedals add the finishing touches.
Fine tuning in the best Opel tradition has led to the most efficient Insignia ever that makes the new GSi dynamically different to the already agile Insignia Grand Sport. A new level of modern sportiness characterized by superb grip and razor-sharp precision – talents that fans of sporty midsize sedans will appreciate, which can also be seen on the stop watch. “The new Insignia GSi is clearly quicker over one lap of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife than the more powerful Insignia OPC of the previous generation” concluded Director Performance Cars & Motorsport, Volker Strycek after testing. One of the reasons is that the GSi is 160 kilograms lighter than a comparable Insignia OPC 2.8 V6 Turbo. Just like a lean athlete.
“It is this combination of low weight – especially on the front axle – low centre of gravity, easy handling, high power over a wide rpm-band and best traction which makes the GSi so fast” says an enthusiastic Strycek. “That is pure efficiency. The high grip level is perfect for the Nordschleife and a fun-to-drive as well as safety advantage on public roads.”
On the “Green Hell”: the toughest race track in the world
The finishing touches were put to the Insignia GSi on the legendary Nürburgring-Nordschleife. Here in the Eifel mountains Opel runs a test center for setting up its performance cars. The Opel engineers have developed an all-new chassis for the GSi on the Nürburgring, which triple F1 world champion Jackie Stewart famously described as the “Green Hell”. Shorter springs lower the GSi by 10 millimetres and special sports shock absorbers reduce body movements to a minimum. The powerful Brembo four-cylinder brakes (diameter 345 millimetre) and the already direct steering were adapted accordingly. The Insignia GSi is equipped as standard with the mechatronic FlexRide chassis. It adapts shock absorbers and steering in fractions of a second; the control unit also changes the calibration of the accelerator pedal and the shift points of the eight-speed automatic. The driver can choose between Standard, Tour and Sport modes. Subject to the chosen mode, steering and throttle-response is then even more direct. Exclusive to the GSi is the Competition mode, which is activated via the ESP button. A double-press allows skillful drivers more yaw and switches off traction control – for a fast lap of the Nordschleife, for example
The sports-chassis, developed in combination with the extra grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres and big 20-inch wheels, offers almost limpet-like levels of adhesion. A major contribution comes from the all-wheel drive with torque vectoring fitted as standard, which is unique in this segment. In this high-tech system a conventional differential on the rear axle is replaced by two clutches, which can accelerate each rear wheel individually in fractions of a second, depending on the driving situation. Annoying understeer, where the front wheels push towards the outside of the corner, is therefore almost banished from the Insignia GSi. In other words, the GSi takes a neat line through a series of turns.
The sports sedan is powered by an impressive gasoline turbo engine that combines fuel efficiency with performance. The powerful 2.0-liter turbo produces 191 kW and develops generous torque of 400 Newton metres (NEDC fuel consumption: 11.2 litres per 100 km urban; 7.1 l/100 km extra-urban; 8.6 l/100 km combined; 197 g/km CO2). The four-cylinder unit is mated to an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission. The driver has the option of shifting gears via paddles at the steering wheel. With the transmission shifting automatically the driver can even preselect the shift points in Standard and Sport modes. In addition to the 2.0-litre gasoline turbo, the GSi will also offer a powerful new diesel engine.
Sporty features: from new Opel performance sport seat to rear spoiler
The sporty capabilities of the Insignia GSi are matched by design cues, technology-highlights and accessories. At the top of the list is the new sports seat developed by Opel, which provides increased lateral support as well as long-distance comfort. The premium sports seat is AGR-certified (Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.) and therefore ergonomically ideal. Just like in the Insignia Grand Sport it offers ventilation, heating, massage and adjustable side bolsters. In the GSi the tall seatback also features an integrated head restraint. The routing of the seatbelt at shoulder level is ideal, which is not a given for integral seats. The customer can choose from two leather combinations, each decorated with a GSi emblem. The logo also proudly adorns the rear of the car, which carries an efficient spoiler for the required downforce on the rear axle. The rear apron looks similar to a diffusor and features two chrome-edged exhaust pipes. Similarly chrome-edged air-intakes are located ahead of the front wheels. Fans will also appreciate the appropriate ambience in the interior, such as in the flattened lower area of the leather-wrapped steering wheel, the aluminium pedals and the black ceiling – in the best style of a very special sports sedan.
33-year tradition: the GSi models from Opel
The Insignia GSi continues a long tradition of sporty Opel cars named GSi. The first to stir up excitement were the Manta GSi and the Kadett GSi (115 hp from 1.8-litres) in 1984. Only four years later the 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve engine in the Kadett 2.0 GSi 16V delivered 150 hp. The first Astra also featured this engine and in 1993 there was a 1.8-litre 125 hp alternative in the Astra GSi. There was also a GSi with various generations of the Corsa, beginning with the 100 hp Corsa A (1988) that has become a much sought-after classic. At the (provisional!) end of the line was the Corsa D in August 2012.
But now the new Insignia GSi will make its world premiere at the IAA Frankfurt International Motor Show (September 14-24, 2017) and will be available to order in Germany in mid-October.
The Opel Insignia is not available for sale in South Africa, however Opel has reinforced its commitment to the market with plans to further grow the brand’s presence locally. As part of this process Opel will be aiming to further strengthen its product portfolio although at this stage, it would be premature to comment on specific models which could be added to the line-up.