Insignia VXR: Everyman Bad Boy

Cars

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Packing the power of 325 horses, a clever four-wheel drive transmission and chassis and a sub-six second 0-60 time. Vauxhall’s new Insignia VXR is set to take lovers of everyman beefcake salivating.

First reports from GM’s press office tell us that based on the 2009 European Car of the Year, the muscular kid brother of the vanlla version will be available in hatch, saloon and Sports Tourer body styles. This will be Vauxhall’s first VXR model to adopt 4×4 technology, using a bespoke chassis developed through an extensive test programme at the Nürburgring .

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Vauxhall are exceedingly proud of their are a ‘HiPerStrut’ (High Performance Strut) front suspension system, adaptive 4×4 with electronic Limited Slip Differential (eLSD). The HiPerStrut system is unique to the VXR and apparently serves two functions: to reduce torque-steer (that horrible pulling you get on FWD cars under acceleration), and also to maintain negative camber during cornering, thereby improving ultimate grip levels in wet or dry conditions.

19-inch alloy wheels come as standard ( with lightweight 20s as an option) with bespoke tyres, revised bushing and damper settings on both axles, and Brembo brakes with colour-keyed callipers and vented/cross-drilled discs. Nice.

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The soul of the car is Vauxhall’s advanced 2.8-litre V6 Turbo ECOTEC engine, with its micro-alloy forged steel crank, 60-degree cylinder angle and die-cast alloy oil sump – all features found in many a race engine. Producing 325PS (65PS up on the Elite V6), the engine uses a single, twin-scroll turbocharger and variable valve control for quick throttle response, and accelerates from 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds, achieving an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.

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With a design inspired by the Vauxhall/Opel GTC, many of the Insignia VXR’s styling cues will be familiar to those who saw this groundbreaking concept at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show. A deeper bumper, incorporating bold, twin mesh grilles either side of the main grille, dominates the front of the car, and at the rear, hatch and saloon models gain a rear spoiler, while all VXRs have a bespoke bumper moulding incorporating dual matt chrome exhausts.

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This sporting theme continues in the Insignia VXR’s cabin. Recaro front seats, a new VXR steering wheel, VXR gearknob and unique mouldings are standard on all cars, along with different instrument graphics, VXR sill plates and a black headlining.

Now, we’re not necessarily fans of all things Vauxhall. But with this accessible piece of street sex, we just might be convinced.

Let’s hope it doesn’t cost as much as an M3.

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