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Vauxhall’s new Insignia GSi all-wheel drive

by Business First Motoring Correspondent, Ian Beasant.

Vauxhall’s new Insignia GSi is designed to offer high levels of performance through all-wheel drive, a new chassis and large Brembo brakes, and is powered by either a new 2.0-litre BiTurbo diesel, or a refined 2.0-litre turbo petrol unit. I spent a few days on the B roads of Northern Ireland with the 2.0-litre BiTurbo diesel. The Insignia does nearly everything very well.

The GSi has a responsive new eight-speed automatic gearbox, operated via a paddle-shift on the steering wheel.

A state-of-the-art all-wheel-drive system, incorporating a sophisticated twin-clutch differential which provides torque vectoring in the most demanding conditions, turns the GSi into a first-class driver’s car.

Like other models in the Insignia’s range, the GSi has shed weight – in this case, 160 kilograms versus the first-generation VXR which preceded it. Combined with a 10 millimetre lower ride height, the difference in the Insignia GSi’s steering, body control and overall agility can be felt immediately.

The Insignia has a sharp steering set-up

Insignia GSi
2017 Vauxhall Insignia GSi

The Insignia has a sharp steering set-up which offer a good deal of feedback and it is easy to place the car on the road , along with the driver friendly suspension set leads to an enjoyable and predictable drive on both B roads and also when cruising on the motorway. I was impressed as the Insignia really felt it had found its feet.

The new Insignia GSi uses an all-wheel drive system with a rear-drive module that employs a clever twin clutch system. The Insignia GSi’s all-wheel drive system can apply torque to one or both the rear wheels independently, enabling torque vectoring capability across the car’s full performance range.

When cornering, higher torque is sent to the outside rear wheel, inducing rotation around the vertical axis (yaw) – meaning the Insignia GSi turns in with more precision, responding spontaneously to inputs from the driver.

Torque vectoring also makes the car safer by controlling the distribution of torque according to changes in throttle position, steering angle and road surface, reducing the amount of yaw. This intelligent use of torque distribution, also known as “yaw damping”, results in neutral vehicle behaviour, making the car more predictable and stable.

Drivers can choose the amount of yaw damping to suit their driving style by selecting the appropriate driving mode: from high yaw damping in “Tour” to low in “Sport”. This system works fine when you are on the move,

The gearbox and engine do not seem to be talking to each other when you are about move or when you want to accelerate quickly to overtake, there is a noticeable lag from when you push the throttle until something happens, it’s only small and once you drive the car for a while you do get used to it and can drive around it,

The interior strikes balance between comfort and performances, featuring a leather steering wheel, in a race car like shape with a flattened bottom, aluminium pedals and stylish black headlining, new sports seats developed by Vauxhall provide increased lateral support and long-distance comfort.

Unique to the Insignia GSi

Unique to the Insignia GSi, the seats offer ventilation, heating, massage and adjustable side bolsters. The seats for some reason took me a while to get comfortable in, yes, they offer many ways of adjustment, look good and suit the styling of the interior and exterior of the car, and I think maybe I am just an odd shape.

Anyway, the driving position was good, once I had found it. The interior is nice and clean and simple, not cluttered which can be annoying when you are driving. Passenger space is good and the carrying space is adequate for four people.

The exterior is fitted with an attractive subtle body kit.

The Insignia GSI All –Wheel drive makes a lot of sense, its fun, practical, economical offering 40+miles per gallon. In the market of performance saloons especially if you have family the Insignia is a worthy contender.