Thursday 8th November 2012


Vauxhall makes the Insignia £4K cheaper, 15mph faster and a whole lot more tempting for £29,995

Yes, that standfirst does perhaps smack a little of advertorial. But the bare facts of Vauxhall's size 10 to the backside of the Insignia VXR in an attempt to shift a few more out of the showroom door does bear consideration.

As it stands the Insignia VXR is, sadly, one of those cars that's a whole lot more impressive on the spec sheet than it is at the wheel. And proof of how many buying decisions are based on brand snobbery as much as actual ability. Vauxhall's shrug of the shoulders and 'sod it then, price to sell' is an admission as such but does create one of the performance bargains of the age.

Time to head off to an autobahn methinks
Time to head off to an autobahn methinks
Just look at what underpins it too. You've got the independent steering axis HiPerStrut (High Performance Strut) front suspension, a 325hp twin-scroll turbo V6, adaptive dampers, four-wheel drive and a 5.6-second 0-62mph. Without the limiter it now hits 170mph, just 6mph shy of the old Lotus Carlton, a car that famously prompted calls for it to be banned for being irresponsibly fast.

That's a hell of a lot of car for £29,995.

OK, so the driving experience doesn't quite live up to the promise and even with all that 'ring fettled fancy suspension and other trickery the Insignia's inherent rubberiness and lack of feel is carried through into the VXR version. Capable rather than fun, the hot Insignia remains astonishing value compared with the equivalent German metal, the comparable Audi S4 nearly 10 grand more (£38,665) before you've even troubled the options list.

Inevitably one's eye is drawn to the classifieds to see how much VXRs are making secondhand and there are a couple of privately advertised ones in the high teens here and here. Tempting indeed.

Author: Dan Trent
Want more PH news like this daily - then signup for the PH newsletter here!