The most powerful production Opel model to date is an executive saloon that stirs the soul
Rocking Executive PHOTO: TORQUE

Mention the term "executive saloon" to an enthusiast, and it's likely you'll be met with reactions ranging from a frown to outright indifference, for such a car is by and large as unassuming as the person behind its wheel.

The same can't be said of the Opel Insignia OPC, for this German saloon is
anything but boring. Compared to the Insignia model offered in Singapore, this version looks like it means business - and we don't just mean of the boardroom variety.

Responsible for this is the Opel Performance Centre (hence the "OPC" moniker), the division tasked with creating high-performance versions of the brand's mainstream models. Think of the OPC as Opel's version of Mercedes-Benz's AMG or BMW's M division.

Compared to the regular Insignia, the OPC variant sits 10mm lower to the ground and has 19-inch rims (an inch larger than the ones on the Insignia Sport) that look great, since they fill up the wheel arches. Just as striking are the large cross-drilled Brembo brakes fi tted up front, which hint at the car's stopping ability.

The Insignia OPC's firepower comes courtesy of its turbocharged 2.8-litre V6 that's tuned to deliver 325bhp and 435Nm – figures that eclipse those of the turbo 2-litre Insignia sold here by a massive 105bhp and 85Nm.

To put that power down more efficiently, Opel's most powerful passenger car is also its first OPC model to feature all-wheel drive. Apart from that, the car also has an electronic rear limited-slip differential to enhance handling.

It tips the scales at 1.8 tonnes (225kg heavier than the Insignia Sport variant), making it hard to imagine the Insignia OPC as quick – but it certainly feels like it is. Equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox, this executive saloon demolishes the century sprint in six seconds flat,
which is 1.8 seconds quicker than the vanilla Insignia. Given enough road (or unrestricted stretch of autobahn), this Insignia will top out at 270km/h.

Accompanying this car’s tractable powerplant is a bassy soundtrack, which emanates from the stainless-steel exhaust system developed by Remus. It makes rowing through the gears that much more rewarding, as your right foot's movements are magically transformed into sonorous exhaust notes.

Despite its portliness, this Insignia maintained its composure as I hustled
it around the short, twisty circuit at Opel's Dudenhofen test centre. The seats, however, lacked the lateral support for these manoeuvres and resulted in my bum sliding around as the car rounded corners. Engaging the most extreme OPC mode, which puts the powertrain at its most responsive and dampers at their stiffest settings, caused even more dramatic lateral movement from both car and driver.

Nimble it is (for a 1800kg car), but a hot hatchback it isn't, and what this Insignia really likes are long straights and flowing corners. When put through its paces around the test centre's banked section, the car impressed with its high-speed stability, even as we pushed it past 230km/h.

If its on-track performance is anything to go by, the Insignia OPC can easily transform morning commutes from mundane into extraordinary. But at this point, the car is unlikely to be brought in to Singapore as official distributor Auto Germany doesn't expect any interest in this model. Unless, of course, there are rocking executives out there who are willing to change the dealer's mind.

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This article first appeared in the October 2013 issue of Torque.


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