29 August 2012

SPOTTED: Vauxhall Insignia VXR

This is no ordinary rep-mobile, and it might surprise a few Audi or BMW drivers out there.

YOU'LL be asking me: "It's a Vauxhall Insignia. So what's special about this car?" Granted, that you'll guarantee seeing one out on the roads today. Insignias are as common as pigeons in town centres.

This Insignia I spotted at The Mall car park in Blackburn is not your everyday rep mobile. It's all in the details. Look closely with the bigger 19 inch wheels, the chrome surrounded air vents on the bumper and on the wings. There's also a different radiator grille to the standard Insignia. The twin exhaust tailpipes, the subtle bodykit. Last but not least, the real giveaway is the VXR badges.

Unlike the old Vectra VXR, which looked as subtle as a sledgehammer. The Insignia VXR is sleeker and more discreet than its forebear, whilst managing to look aggressive all the same. The performance Vectra was already a quick car, but Vauxhall made its replacement more powerful and even faster.

The Insignia is powered by a 2.8 litre V6 engine, that pumps out 321bhp and 435Nm of torque. That gets Vauxhall's flagship performance car to 60mph in 5.8 seconds and goes all the way to a limited top speed of 155mph.

Vauxhall's performance cars have been renowned for lacking finesse by suffering from excess torque steer. To address these problems, the Insignia VXR is four-wheel-drive to help handle the power. Stating the obvious here, but the benefits will also be better grip and traction when pushed to the limit.

The Insignia VXR is by no means a cheap car. You will have to fork out around £30,000 for a new one at your local Vauxhall dealer. Which for that money, can get you a decent BMW 3-Series or an Audi A4 - that does mean going mad with the options list too.

Most would rather buy a German saloon for the money and that will contribute to the Insignia VXR's rarity. But also being a pretty car with its slick coupe-like looks, that's more exclusive than most Insignias you'll see on the roads. Adding the performance per pound it gives, that's where those will find the appeal of the Insignia VXR. That's probably why the Police Interceptors use these on patrol.

Where a well-specced German saloon will impress your neighbours. As the Insignia VXR is a Vauxhall, it may not. But the car with the Griffon on the front has the power and performance to impress your mates. Leaving an A4 or 3-Series you could have bought instead, left for dust.

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