Rüsselsheim. Opel has given the Insignia Grand Sports everything a middle class sedan requires to ensure improved vehicles dynamics and a more agile drive. The newcomer has shed up to 175 kilograms compared to the outgoing models, which obviously benefits both the handling and the driving performance. The athlete is 29 millimeters flatter than its predecessor, the track has been increased by 11 millimeters, the overhangs have been reduced considerably and the wheelbase extended by 92 millimeters – this provides additional directional stability at high speeds. The further refined FlexRide chassis adapts dampers, steering and propulsion automatically or via the selectable ‘Standard’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Tour’ modes. This can best be put to the test on the legendary Nordschleife of the Nürburgring. The circuit is extremely challenging with its changing surfaces, straights and corner combinations. Every new Opel is put through its final paces here.
The team around Insignia chief engineer Andreas Zipser travelled to the test-drives on the Nürburgring with camouflaged prototypes. And the engineers the 21-kilometer long Nordschleife to search for the final percentage points en route to a perfectly tuned vehicle.
“You can feel that the Insignia has been developed from a white sheet of paper as soon as you get into the car. The integration of the driver is outstanding and this provides a much better feel for the car. The Insignia has become much more agile, even with the same engine,” said Zipser who is already looking forward to the next fast laps.
The chief engineer heads out of the paddock and takes the Insignia Grand Sport onto the Nordschleife. He soon pushes the 5-door sedan to its limits, dives into the course section known as “Brünnchen” before skillfully mastering the “Pflanzgarten” – a section famous amongst motor sports fans. Opel’s new flagship is driving fast. Zipser enjoys the new, precise, speed-dependent steering and the position in the driver-oriented cockpit. The driver’s position is three centimeters lower than in the outgoing model and creates a feeling of actually being part of the car – the center console provides addition support, the instruments face the driver and all controls can easily be reached. All this results in a position similar to the one provided in a racing touring car and is ideal for a dynamic outing – not only on the Nürburgring.
For such a dynamic outing, the driver should ideally select the ‘Sport’ mode of the FlexRide chassis: The dampers are stiffened, the steering and throttle response are more direct. Furthermore, the ESP anti-skid system intervenes later, thus give the driver more leeway. In combination with an automatic transmission, the ‘Sport’ mode shifts up through the gears later – the Insignia is completely set-up for dynamic driving.
On the return route from the Nürburgring the driver can select between three modes according to the road characteristics and own preferences:
The FlexRide chassis electro hydraulically adapts the dampers to the road and the prevailing driving situation 500 times per second or 30,000 times per minutes. Furthermore, the driver can save personal preferences for the steering characteristics, throttle response and dampers via the ‘Sport’ button.
“The new central ‘Drive Mode Control’ software is the heart and soul of the adaptive chassis. It continuously analyzes the information provided by the sensors and setting and recognizes the individual driving style. The individual systems are then optimized for the best traction and road position,” explained Zipser.
If, for example, the Opel Insignia Grand Sport is driving along in ‘Standard’ mode and the driver decides to attack the corners on a winding road with a bit more vigor, the software recognizes the more dynamic style based on the acceleration and braking value and immediately switches the chassis and propulsion components to sporty.
Further information about official fuel consumption, official specific CO2 emissions and consumption of electric energy can be found in the “guideline about fuel consumption, CO2 Emissions and electric energy consumption of new passenger cars” ('Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO2-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch neuer Personenkraftwagen') in German language, which is available free of charge at any point of sales and at DAT Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH, Helmuth-Hirth-Straße 1, D-73760 Ostfildern.