VAUXHALL have boosted their flagship Insignia at the double with a potent engine that gives it a unique boost over the opposition.
The Insignia BiTurbo is based on the existing 1,956cc unit fitted with not one but two turbo chargers, as well as fuel-savings technologies such as stop-start.
And it’s a win-win scenario all round – an extra 34bhp up to 192bhp and an added 50 Nm of pulling power, increased to 300Nm. But fuel consumption is actually reduced – with a claimed average of 57.6mpg – while emissions are lowered to 129g/km.
And power delivery is as smooth as silk. There is no big jolt of turbo power, instead the handsome range topper glides into deceptively fast quicksilver motion that sees 60mph coming up in an impressive 8.2 seconds.
Given its head, the car seems to positively bound along athletically and it seems impossible to fluster it or generate any raggedness – the car sails along serenely even at top revs.
From a driver’s point of view, the BiTurbo is highly satisfying and offers up a highly professional, slick experience. Because everything is so well set up, it is possible to drive the car very well and very accurately. Finely turned brakes and a slick, sweet six-speed gearbox allow the Insignia to be piloted with minimum fuss, making smooth progress in town or on the open road.
I found that the car is at its best dur-ing long distance travel. Both supremely comfortable and well appointed, the Insignia soon inspires the driver to start attacking corners with confidence and it is supremely satisfying to jet out safely and quickly from a roundabout when it’s all clear to do so.
With plenty of good steering feel, it’s a mature and satisfying drive while being very relaxing at the same time.
Seats in soft, stitched leather with big side wing support – curvy, supportive and with three-level heating – proved highly comfortable even after 120 miles of non-stop driving.
Some of Vauxhall’s latest technology was also on board to play with on my test drive, including the adaptive
cruise control designed to both set a constant speed and to slow you should you get too close to the car in front.
A forward collision alert is suitably alarming and auto headlamps and rain sensor takes away more decision making but works effectively and reliably.
The BiTurbo 2.0 CDTi 16v Start-Stop SRi model I tested is a handsome and harmonious car from all angles, with a particularly sleek side profile and the added attraction of extra, versatile luggage space.
Its now familiar, sweeping curved fascia which blends into the lines of the doors and classic all black dashboard, seats and door trims all looks very classy, although an unattractive slab of key-board-style centre stack with its mass of almost identical buttons can have you searching around until familiarity kicks in.
Eco, sport and tourer settings on the dash gives the driver more options for driving style and fingertip controls on the steering wheel for safety functions and audio work effectively but still aren’t as intuitive and ‘touchy-feely’ as the best on the market.
The start-stop function is both subtle and effective and surely a must in all new generation cars with its precious fuel-saving function.
A pull-up tab that is now your ‘hand-brake’ I’m resigned to accepting as a no arguments space saver, but I’d always take a conventional pull-up version given the choice.
From a practical point of view, the BiTurbo hatchback is extremely successful. A huge cutaway area at the rear allows large objects to be easily stowed on board and rear seats fold down in one easy action to create a perfectly flat, big load platform.
BiTurbo has the image and the ability to attract drivers seeking that little bit extra from a sporty family car and the fact that there are side benefits in terms of eco features will do its cause no harm at all.
Vauxhall Insignia BiTurbo 2.0CDTi 16v Start/Stop SRi, £27,180.
Powered by 2.0CDTi 195PS diesel engine with max torque 400Nm@1,750-2,500rpm.
Max speed 143mph.
0-60mph in 8.2 seconds.
Fuel tank 70 litres.
Luggage capacity 1,470 litres.
Combined fuel economy 57.6mpg.
CO2 emissions 129g/km.
Electric parking brake.
Standard start/stop system; cruise control; trip computer.
Chrome effect exterior side window surround.
18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.