Even without its sporty VXR badge and distinctive styling flourishes the Insignia is every bit as good as its Vectra predecessor was dull. With the badge it is exceptional.
The package is compelling with an unrestricted 325PS twin turbo 2.8-litre V6 engine, four wheel drive and a chassis developed as a result of extensive Nürburgring testing.
Its sporting aspirations, aided by overstated 19-inch alloys and colour-keyed Brembo brakes, are well placed but the car is also reassuringly poised in real world stop/start traffic as we discovered during a week’s worth of crosstown commuting across poor quality surfaces. The ride is firm but forgiving making the car practical.
There’s a lot to like about the Insignia VXR from its growling engine note to its showy Recaro racing seats. There’s also a certain amount of satisfaction knowing that its £31K price tag makes it £4K cheaper than the ultra sensible Ampera plug-in which will become the brand’s defacto halo car when it enters dealerships in April 2012.
Vauxhall Insignia VXR
Engine: 2.8-litre V6 325PS
Transmission: Six-speed manual
0-60mph: 5.6 seconds