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Vauxhall Insignia GSi (2018 - 2021)

The independent definitive Vauxhall Insignia GSi (2018-2021) video review
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    AN INSIGNIA WITH G-FORCE (some text hidden) SECTIONED_new_vauxhallinsigniagsi_2018

    By Jonathan Crouch

    Introductionword count: 61

    It's decades now since GSi versions of standard Vauxhall models delivered rewardingly sharp handling without unnecessary and inefficient increases in power. In 2018, this Insignia GSi tried to revive that formula and did so with petrol and diesel power in a manner that'll surprise those used to the laid-back demeanour of the standard version. Power, after all, is nothing without control.

    Modelsword count: 13

    Models Covered: (5-door hatch / Sports Tourer estate) [2.0 petrol / 2.0 diesel])

    Historyword count: 364

    Vauxhall has a very creditable history when it comes to high performance versions of its sporty mainstream models and some of the very best of them were made in the Eighties and Nineties sporting 'GSi' badges. That's a moniker the company revived at the launch of this car in early 2018 to replace previous 'VXR' branding that the company then decided to reserve for more extreme models. 'GSi' Vauxhalls, in contrast, offered a slightly more sensible spin on high performance - which is why this Insignia GSi was the Luton maker's very first sporting model to offer the option of diesel power. Driving enthusiasts might find themselves feeling a touch underwhelmed at this news - and perhaps a little disappointed that the 210PS BiTurbo 2.0-litre diesel engine in question was simply carried over from existing flagship Insignia models in the standard range. For a brief period in 2018, this diesel version sold alongside a 260PS 2.0-litre petrol turbo variant. In both cases, the AWD system and the 8-speed automatic transmission were simply borrowed from existing Insignia models. But don't lose interest just yet, because plenty else was different. Ex-DTM Champion Volker Strycek and a crack team of engineers were briefed to take this fairly standard package and create something really special from it. They lowered the car, gave it bigger brakes with grippier tyres and added stiffer springs that work through a bespoke FlexRide adaptive damping system with an extra 'Competition' setting. There was even a twin clutch differential for the rear axle which allowed more torque to be sent to the outside rear wheel when cornering. All of this was honed throughout an extensive development programme at the classic Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack, a circuit the 260PS petrol version of this model could lap an astonishing 12 seconds quicker than its much more powerful 325PS 2.8-litre V6-engined Insignia VXR model predecessor. In 2020, a mid-term Insignia update saw the diesel version of this GSi dropped but the petrol version return, albeit with a lower 230PS output. It wasn't enough though, to see this fast Insignia through its final years and the car left the price lists when the Insignia range was dropped in mid-2020.

    What You Getword count: 505

    Vauxhall's GSi branding is supposed to designate a slightly less extreme approach than was characterised by the old VXR badging but this seriously sporting Insignia still has plenty of street side presence. This body shape's sweeping style borrowed heavily from the company's Monza concept car, first exhibited at Frankfurt back in 2013 and in terms of size, you'll find this second generation Insignia to be significantly larger than the previous generation model, regardless of your preference between Sport Tourer estate or the alternative Grand Sport hatch. Up front, the key GSi differentiation point lies with the extrovert chromed air intakes you'll find on each corner of the re-profiled bumper with its wide, body-coloured lower splitter. Move to the side and if you're a potential buyer, you'll probably note the way that this GSi variant's sports chassis sits 10mm lower than lesser derivatives, a demeanour emphasised by the sculpted side sills. The wheels are the largest you can have on an Insignia, the bespoke 20-inch rims lighter than those used elsewhere in the range, embellished with Brembo callipers and clad with grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4-S rubber. Take a seat inside and if you don't happen to be familiar with this second generation Insignia design, you might well be very favourably impressed by the considerable improvement in quality that was delivered here. For GSi buyers, there are aluminium pedals, a flat bottom sports steering wheel and, most notably, a pair of superbly comfortable winged leather sports seats with GSi branding which feature heating, cooled ventilation and even a massage function. Some bespoke instrumentation would have been nice to complete the package, but that's not on offer. Still, the binnacle gauges are smart and well laid out, the central part of the dial pack taken up with an 8-inch colour screen that can show various customisable layouts. Anything that can't tell you will almost certainly be found on the 8-inch centre-dash Intellilink infotainment monitor, which comes equipped with the usual DAB stereo, Bluetooth 'phone and 'Apple CarPlay' or 'Android Auto' 'phone connectivity features. There's navigation too. And the back seat? Well once inside, you really notice the benefits of this second generation Insignia model's extra 92mm of wheelbase. As you'd expect from a car that's now nearly 5-metres in length (so nearly as long as an enormous Audi Q7 SUV), there's plenty of room for one really tall adult to sit behind another. Finally, the boot. Capacity dropped a little over the previous generation VXR model, but the 490-litre total is still more than you'd get in a premium-branded model in this segment and Vauxhall claimed - correctly - that the space on offer was very usable thanks to a square opening aperture and a low loading sill. Push forward the rear bench - which features a useful 40:20:40-split - and 1,450-litres of fresh air can be freed up. If you need that kind of flexibility on a regular basis, the 'Sports Tourer' estate body style will appeal, that variant offering a 560-litre boot extendable to 1,665-litres.

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