2018 Opel Insignia GSi at the Nurburgring

StoneBridge & K-Syran - Starry Night

Length/width/height/wheelbase – 4,897/1,863/1,455/2,829 mm
Kerb weight – 1,772 kg (est.)

Engine – 2.0-litre (1,956 cc), 4-cylinder twin-turbo diesel
Max output – 210 hp (154 kW) at 4,000 rpm
Max torque – 480 Nm at 1,500 rpm
Transmission – 8-speed automatic, AWD
0-100 km/h – 7.9 seconds
Top speed – 231 km/h
Fuel consumption – 8.9/6.1/7.3 l/100km urban/extra-urban/combined

The new Opel Insignia GSi is a precision instrument. Ten millimetres closer to the road than a normal Insignia and at least 160 kilogrammes lighter than a previous generation Insignia OPC. With intelligent all-wheel drive, that sends a perfectly dosed amount of power to each individual wheel thanks to torque vectoring. This improves handling even further and annoying understeer is eliminated. Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres on 20-inch rims ensure an outstanding level of grip while the powerful Brembo brakes guarantee short braking distances and maximum safety.

Furthermore, the direct steering, adjustable shock absorbers along with the engine and transmission control are interlinked and react sharply when the Sport Mode is activated. Briefly, the GSi is an automotive foil for aficionados of modern, highly efficient sports limousines. A “Connoisseur’s Choice” edition with the “Tested on the Nürburgring” seal of approval – because every sporty Opel is fine-tuned on the legendary Nordschleife.

On June 18, 1927, the original 28 kilometre long “mountain, racing and test track” at the foot of the Nürburg was inaugurated. The founding fathers attached great importance to the Nürburgring containing sections with country road characteristics so that the booming automotive industry could test its cars accordingly. The first race in the Eifel was won by superstar Rudolf Caracciola, who later admitted that he found the course “really tough”, in 1927. Three-time Formula 1 world champion Sir Jackie Stewart later gave the hilly course, which is surrounded by forest, its legendary nickname – “The Green Hell”. Today, one of the leading experts on the Nürburgring is Opel Director Performance Cars and Motor Sport, Volker Strycek. In 2003, he won the 24-hour race in an Opel Astra V8 Coupé. More recently, Strycek and his team developed the set-up of the Insignia GSi on the Nürburgring.

“The lightweight architecture, the excellent chassis configuration with uprated damper hydraulics and software adjustment, the unique all-wheel drive along with the performance tyres make the GSi as precise and sharp as we wanted it to be,” said Strycek after his test drives. “The results speak for themselves. I can complete a lap of the Nordschleife in the new Insignia GSi up to twelve seconds faster than in the more powerful OPC predecessor – but I obviously push the car every inch of the way. As soon as the course becomes more demanding such as in the corners or stretches with low friction, i.e. when the car needs to react in an especially agile and precise manner, the GSi is definitely faster and easy to control.”

The Opel engineers have treated the GSi to a new chassis compared to the new Insignia. Shorter springs lower the GSi by ten millimetres and special sports shock absorbers reduce body movements to a minimum. The powerful Brembo four-piston brakes (diameter 345 millimetre) and the already direct steering were adapted accordingly. The Insignia GSi is equipped as standard with the mechatronic FlexRide chassis. It adapts shock absorbers and steering in fractions of a second; the control unit also changes the calibration of the accelerator pedal and the shift points of the eight-speed automatic. The driver can choose between Standard, Tour and Sport modes. Subject to the chosen mode, steering and throttle-response is then even more direct. Exclusive to the GSi is the Competition mode, which is activated via the ESP button. A double-press allows skilful drivers more yaw and switches off traction control – for a fast lap of the Nordschleife, for example.

The sports-chassis, developed in combination with the extra grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres and big 20-inch wheels, offers almost limpet-like levels of adhesion. A major contribution comes from the all-wheel drive with torque vectoring fitted as standard, which is unique in this segment. In this high-tech system, a conventional differential on the rear axle is replaced by two clutches, which can accelerate each rear wheel individually in fractions of a second, depending on the driving situation.

The sports sedan is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo gasoline engine that produces 260 hp. The GSi is also available with a 210 hp 2.0-litre BiTurbo diesel. Both four-cylinder units are mated to an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission. The driver has the option of shifting gears via paddles at the steering. In addition, the shift points of the automatic transmission can be preselected via the Standard and Sport modes.