15 April 2009

White hot

Vauxhall announces Insignia VXR. It’s like an Audi S4 from Essex. In a good way

Vauxhall Insignia VXR

See more Insignia VXR pics

Is it OK to be excited about the Insignia VXR? Or does the fact we’re getting all worked up about a 321bhp Vauxhall with a big bodykit mean we’re a bit, well, chavsome?

No. We’re excited. Sorry. You might be too. The Insignia VXR gets a 2.8-litre turbocharged V6 – essentially a revised version of the old Vectra VXR’s engine but with lots of new shiny bits – putting power to the road through a Haldex-style four-wheel-drive system similar to that on the Saab 9-3X.

That means this is the first VXR to get four-wheel drive – think of it as an Audi S4 on the cheap and you won’t be far off. The performance stats are impressive: the Insignia VXR will hit 60mph in 5.8 seconds and headbutt the limiter at 155mph.

Recent powerful Vauxhalls have a well-justified reputation for torque-steering like, er, the proverbial, so the Insignia’s four-wheel-drive system is coupled to an electronic limited slip diff which can feed torque to individual wheels. There’s also a trick ‘HiPerStrut’ front suspension system similar to Ford’s effective ‘RevoKnuckle’ in the new Focus RS.

Visually, the Insignia VXR is all fat air vents and big wheels and twin tailpipes, while in the cabin you get big bucket seats and plenty of VXR badging. No, it’s not subtle, but we like it.

The Insignia VXR will go on sale this summer in the UK. Prices are yet to be announced, but we’re hoping it’ll sneak in under £30,000. Are you tempted? Just a little bit?

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