Opel Insignia OPC Sports Tourer: High Performance Hauler

A large utilitarian family car well-suited for the Ikea-run and rock-steady high performance Autobahn-stormer, the Opel Insignia OPC Sports Tourer benefits from the cargo space and four-wheel-drive traction of an SUV and the driving dynamics, handling and ride refinement of a sports saloon.

Spacious and well-kitted, the Opel Performance Centre’s version of the Insignia Sports Tourer is a more sensible and affordable real-world alternative for dad-racers than 500+BHP prestige brand niche super estates. More than a two-trick pony, the OPC muscle-estate is equally capable outside of its comfort zone, and availed itself with sure-footed grip and un-anticipated agility, poise and maneuverability along narrow, winding and wooded German switchbacks during the 2014 model year face-lift global launch.

Substantial and potent, the OPC Sports Tourer’s bulging bonnet and body work, sharp creases and beefy tires, 10-spoke alloy wheels, tailgate spoiler, integrated chrome-tipped exhaust pipes and defined haunches all lend a muscularly broad road presence. From silhouette, the OPC Sports Tourer’s profile has a bullet-train sense of presence, urgency and smooth aerodynamics, while an L-shaped side character line emphasizes a sense of movement. Discreetly face-lifted for the 2014 model year, the Insignia OPC classy and understatedly muscular style features an assertive and hungry fascia featuring chrome-tipped ‘saber-tooth’ air intakes, slim side vents and a wide grille with Opel’s lightning rod emblem flanked by a single chrome slat and set to a black honeycomb background.

Powered by a 2.8-litre turbocharged transverse V6 engine, the Insignia OPC produces 321BHP and 321lb/ft torque both available by 5250rpm. A relatively low-revving powerhouse, the OPC Sports Tourer suffers from little low-end turbo lag but benefits from a broad, thrusting and surging mid-range, with torque and power building up in muscular tandem. Though it falls short of certain super-estates’ exotic power figures, the OPC Sports Tourer could easily be tuned for more power, but as is find a happy compromise between cost-effectiveness, performance and reliability – Not to be scoffed at, the OPC’s performance is brisk, accessible and more entertaining in the real world, as one can more realistically exploit its potential.

With 6-speed manual gearbox, the Insignia OPC clutch biting point was intuitive and its lever slick-shifting, making the back-road blast a more engaging and satisfying experience than an overpowered engine and automatic gearbox. With its abundantly rich mid-range, the Sports Tourer offers exploitable and muscular real-world performance, in addition to enviable headline stats that belie its 4.9-meter length and 1.9-ton weight. Clawing into the tarmac with four-wheel-drive traction, the Insignia OPC bolts off-the-line to 100km/h in 6.3-seconds and delivers effortless mid-range flexibility, with 80-120km/h in fifth gear dispatched in 7.1-seconds. With a nominal 250km/h top speed, the de-restricted OPC Sports Tourer version tops out at 265km/h. Combined cycle fuel efficiency is 10.9l/100km.

Based on a front-drive transverse platform, the Insignia OPC’s 2.8-litre turbocharged V6’ brawny output is directed through a multi-clutch Haldex four-wheel-drive system that distributes power between front and rear axles, and left and right wheels on the rear axles through an electronic limited-slip rear differential, to best put power down to tarmac for effective forward motion, depending on which wheels have best traction and are best placed to apply it. Providing excellent off-the-line traction, the Insignia OPC’s four-wheel-drive system is complemented by Opel’s modified MacPherson Strut-type HiPerStrut front suspension, which with independent steering axis pivots, prevent torque steer associated with front-drive based high performance platforms. A long 2737mm wheelbase and enormous 255/35ZR20 tires also provide reassuringly resolute lateral grip.

With deep turbo-muffled growl as it pounces through the paved rally stage-like back-roads, the OPC Sports Tourer’s 2.8-litre V6 urgently wells up dramatically as it builds up to maximum power. Downshifting and turning into a corner, the OPC resiliently defies lateral weight transfer and follows the chosen cornering line heroically. Tenaciously digging into tarmac and surging onto the next corner, the OPC Sports Tourer doesn’t so much shrink around the driver, but rather seemingly brazenly defies expectations of a large heavy estate as it hustles through hot hatch-friendly snaking lanes with precision and sure-footed road-holding. Through such roads, steering is quick, meaty and precise but is ultimately tuned more for high speed stability than intimate feel or nuance.

With SUV-space and four-wheel-traction but not the high centre-of-gravity, the OPC Sports Tourer offers both better highway stability and handling ability through winding lanes. With firm and buttoned down – but comfortably smooth – suspension, the OPC Sports Tourer is taut and composed through narrow lanes. While one can kick the rear out slightly, its four-wheel-drive and limited-slip differential tenaciously claw back traction. Over cracks, dips and crests the Insignia OPC is buttoned down on rebound, while highways are dispatched with utmost confidence. Unexpectedly poised and agile through German country lanes, the 1930kg heavy and fast OPC Sports Tourer’s big Brembo brakes endured repetitively harsh punishment at the hands of the international motoring press, but remained effective despite pedal feel fade.

A rare practical family car designed for on-road ability, brawny performance and high refinement, the OPC Sports Tourer boasts an ample cargo bay beyond its convenient clamshell rear fascia tailgate. With generous access to its voluminous boot, the Sports Tourer can accommodate between a 540-litre minimum luggage volume to a 1530-litre maximum with rear seats folded, and up to 535kg. A well-appointed and finished executive car with soft textures, the OPC Sports Tourer’s cabin is comfortably accommodating and sized for larger drivers, and features supportive, adjustable and hunkered down throne-like sports seats. Dark and business-like the Insignia OPC’s cabin is busy but logical, while sporting touches include bulbous gear shifter, ‘OPC’ kick-plates and chunky contoured steering wheel.

Thoroughly kitted with creature comforts, infotainment and driver assist systems, the OPC Insignia also features an optional 8-inch screen displaying additional information including oil pressure, throttle position, braking power and lateral g-force acceleration, as befitting a high performance dad-racer of this sort. The Insignia’s infotainment system also features USB, Bluetooth and smart phone connectivity, and a touchpad controller with letter recognition. Convenience kit includes automatic tailgate, parking assistance and front and rear cameras, in addition to other features. The OPC features revised electronic stability control settings for improved driving precision, while adaptive dampers alter ride quality for comfort or sporty composure. Satefy kit includes dual-stage airbags, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, traffic sign assistance and rear cross-traffic, forward collision and blind spot alerts.

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.8-litre, transverse, turbocharged V6-cylinders
  • Bore x stroke: 89 x 74.8mm
  • Compression ratio: 9.5:1
  • Valve-train: 24-valve, DOHC, variable valve timing
  • Gearbox: 6-speed manual
  • Top gear / final drive: 0.74:1 / 3.9:1
  • Drive-train: four-wheel-drive, electronic limited-slip rear-differential
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 321 (325) [239] @ 5250rpm
  • Specific power: 115BHP/litre
  • Power-to-weight: 168HP/ton
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 321 (435) @ 5250rpm
  • Specific torque: 155.8Nm/litre
  • Torque-to-weight: 225.4Nm/ton
  • 0-100km/h: 6.3-seconds
  • 80-120km/h, fifth gear: 7.9-seconds
  • Top speed: 265km/h
  • Fuel consumption, urban / extra-urban / combined: 16- / 7.9- / 10.9-litres/100km
  • CO2 emissions, combined: 255g/km
  • Fuel capacity: 70-litres
  • Length: 4908mm
  • Width: 1858mm
  • Height: 1520mm
  • Wheelbase: 2737mm
  • Track, F/R: 1585 / 1587mm
  • Kerb weight: 1930kg
  • Luggage, min / max: 540 / 1530-litres
  • Payload: 535kg
  • Trailor towing, un-braked: 750kg
  • Steering: Hydraulic rack & pinion
  • Turning radius: 11.3-meters
  • Suspension, F/R: HiPerStrut (modified MacPherson struts) / Multi-link, adaptive dampers
  • Brakes: Ventilated discs
  • Tires: 255/35ZR20