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Vauxhall Insignia VXR estate

Stephen Dobie
20 May 2009

Vauxhall's Audi S4 rivalling Insignia VXR boasts new 321bhp, 4WD Sport Tourer

Vauxhall has revealed the final installment of its Insignia VXR trilogy. This rather smart Sport Tourer (read: estate) joins the saloon and hatch versions, and gives the company full ammunition for its attack on the Audi S4 and BMW 335i M Sport.

Sound ambitious? Well, Vauxhall’s already claiming that buyers are switching from more traditional premium brands to the Insignia, a car that feels worlds away from its Vectra predecessor.

The VXR version certainly helps. Like the sports saloon and five-door versions, it gets the 2.8-litre V6 engine from the Insignia Elite, with a twin-scroll turbocharger hiking power 321bhp. Top speed is limited to 155mph while the ST hits 0-60mph in 6sec dead; two tenths of a second slower than the other Insignia VXRs, but enough to ensure this is Vauxhall’s fastest ever load-lugger.

Helping put all the power down is an adaptive four-wheel-drive system, electronic limited-slip diff and HiPerStrut. The latter is short for High Performance Strut, and is essentially a torque-grappling device similar to Ford’s RevoKnuckle technology, helping to maintain negative camber during cornering to boost grip levels.

Compared to stock Insignias, the bushing and damper settings are tweaked while there’s Brembo brakes with colour-coded calipers and vented/cross-drilled discs. They are housed in 19in alloys (with lightweight forged 20s an option), wrapped in bespoke rubber.

More muscular bumpers, mesh grilles, twin chrome tailpipes and a subtle spoiler are the key exterior changes, while inside there’s Recaro seats up front and the usual array of VXR badging.

Vauxhall’s keen to play up the ST’s carrying capabilities, too, with up to 1530 litres of bootspace on offer and an electronic tailgate that can be trained to open to a lower level if you frequently use a garage or low-ceilinged car park. Clever.

Sales begin in the Autumn, with prices likely to undercut those pesky premium Germans by around ten per cent, so look at setting aside about £32K if you want one.

We ran the car's predecessor, the Vectra VXR Estate, on the evo Fast fleet. Click to read.

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