Recently, we saw Holden unveil its redesigned Commodore. At this week's 2017 Geneva auto show, we have our first look at Opel’s version of the car, the Insignia Grand Sport.
Apart from their badges—and whether the steering wheel is on the left or right—the two cars are virtually identical, although there’s likely to be some differences in the specifications for markets each brand operates in.
Eventually, a third version of the car will be revealed as the 2018 Buick Regal. It will be slightly different as it will feature a more conventional notchback sedan shape instead of the fastback look featured on the Insignia Grand Sport and Commodore. A wagon is also in the works and we’ve heard that it might just make it into Buick showrooms.
2017 Opel Insignia (top) and 2018 Buick Regal spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Underpinning the cars is General Motors' lightweight E2XX platform that debuted in the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu. For the Insignia Grand Sport, the platform allowed the engineers to shave off as much as 385 pounds compared to the outgoing model. At the same time, the track has been widened by 0.43 inches and the wheelbase stretched by 3.6 in. The roof has also been lowered by 1.1 in, and the seating position by the same amount, helping to achieve a sportier, more connected feel from behind the wheel.
Drive is to the front wheels only in standard guise but all-wheel drive will be available. The new system features a pair of electronically-controlled clutch packs on either side of the rear drive unit. This means drive torque can be split between the axles as well as between the rear wheels. A similar setup features in the 2016 Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] Focus RS.
To further aid the handling, there’s a new chassis system called FlexRide that integrates adjustment of the suspension dampers, steering and throttle. Via a driving modes selector, the driver can switch between Standard, Tour and Sport modes. The latter is customizable and can learn to mimic an individual style of driving.
2017 Opel Insignia Grand Sport
No details on the powertrains have been released but expect a series of inline-4 units, in both diesel and gasoline flavors. A turbocharged V-6 should eventually appear, perhaps reserved for a high-performance OPC model. The previous Insignia OPC had a twin-turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 good for 325 horsepower and 321 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed manual should be standard while available transmissions should include an 8-speed automatic initially and eventually GM’s new 9-speeder.
The final element worth mentioning is the car’s matrix LED headlights. These rely on multiple LED units, 32 in the case of the Insignia Grand Sport, to control the light path to help improve nighttime visibility. They can provide a spotlight when necessary and automatically switch between low- and high-beam modes, relying on a forward-facing camera to detect other road users so that they aren’t blinded. Unfortunately, the last factor rules them out for sale in the United States since regulations here require separate, driver-controllable low- and high-beam modes.
Sales of the Opel Insignia Grand Sport will commence shortly after the Geneva auto show debut. For more from the show, head to our dedicated hub.