Vauxhall has traded the Insignia GSi’s bi-turbo diesel for a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol for 2020, giving the company's most sporting model a much needed hike to 230hp. The petrol engine, which is 20hp more potent than the oil burner, but short on twist with 258lb ft, comes mated to a nine-speed automatic that sends drive to all four wheels. At the rear remains GKN’s Twinster twin-clutch diff – the one first introduced on the Ford Focus RS – intended to quell understeer with some on-throttle neutrality.
It means the 2020 GSI – revealed first in Opel form at the Brussels motor show – arrives with a combined score of 33mpg and only just undercuts the 200g/km mark for CO2. Not ideal for a life spent on the motorway in company car colours, but current events have likely made the diesel a non-starter PSA-run Opel/Vauxhall has duly introduced its first cylinder deactivation system with the 2.0-litre to claw back some real-world economy - but it still leaves the new model behind its predecessor in terms of outright efficiency.
You'd expect the petrol engine to be a little lighter, though, so assuming some weight’s been taken from the nose, perhaps the GSI’s heart transplant will modestly enhance the car's handling. The diesel version was capable enough, as we found out at Knockhill circuit during our first drive in 2018 – when that GKN system ensured torque steer and mid-corner push were practically non-existent. It's unlikely a more distant redline - and less peak twist - will do it any harm.
At this stage only the GSI Sports Tourer is being displayed at Brussels, but the hatch is expected to return, sporting a similarly mild visual update to go with the new technical specification. Exactly how the changes will affect the opening prices of each variant is yet to be revealed. The diesel Insignia GSI started from just shy of £35k; we should know what the new petrol one will cost in the coming weeks.