Opel is working on a new generation of its Insignia mid-size sedan, a version of which will eventually make it into Buick showrooms as the 2018 Regal and into Holden showrooms as the 2018 Commodore.
The outgoing Insignia is already a competent handler, particularly in OPC trim, but Opel engineers are hard at work fine-tuning the chassis of the redesigned model to take things to the next level—including testing it on the Nürburgring.
They have a great starting point thanks to the car’s E2XX platform, which has allowed them 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.
There’s also 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.
In addition, the driving modes selector can recognize the present driving style and automatically switch to the most appropriate setting. For example, if the driver is in Standard mode and then attacks a winding road, the system recognizes the more aggressive acceleration and braking inputs and automatically switches to the sportiest setting.
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.
The redesigned Opel Insignia is being called an Insignia Grand Sport to reflect its new five-door body. It is expected to debut next March at the 2017 Geneva auto show. The redesigned Buick Regal will feature a more conventional sedan shape and should follow shortly after, while the redesigned Holden Commodore should debut in the second half of 2017.