Vauxhall's torque-steery, big-winged VXR brand has always sat at the - how to put this? - static-generating sports leisurewear end of the market. But the four-wheel-drive Insignia VXR hatch, released earlier this year, proved that the VXR chav is growing up. Now, with the release of the estate version, he's got himself a spaniel and a subscription to National Geographic.
If that sounds like a criticism, it's quite the opposite. The hatch never felt comfortable in its own skin - not quite sharp enough for a proper B-road blast and not quite refined enough for a motorway cruiser - but the Sports Tourer is better resolved: it still rides fantastically, and that chronic understeer on the limit is less of an issue because, well, it's an estate and you probably shouldn't be doing that sort of thing.
Though the Audi S4 Avant might be the VXR's obvious rival, don't forget the Audi is a full four grand more expensive. But the BMW 330i Touring, though a fraction smaller, is similarly priced, just as quick and - crucially - far cleaner and more economical, managing 39mpg and emitting just 155g/km of CO2.
Look at the spec box below. The VXR is a long way off those figures. But if you can handle its thirst, there's plenty to recommend the Vauxhall: it's truly quick, looks excellent and, despite VXR's newfound maturity, still exudes a charming air of mild thuggery. One for the grown-ups who have never quite grown up, then.