Insignia goes eco and practical

  • 14-Oct-2008 04:38 EDT
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A tapering window line on the new Opel/Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer creates the impression of a low-slung roof, while the flat roofline preserves headroom.

General Motors previously debuted its Opel/Vauxhall Insignia at the London Motor Show, but it introduced new variants at the Paris show, including a high-efficiency version and a station-wagon body style.

The ecoFlex model combines a 160-hp (119-kW) 2.0-L I4 turbodiesel engine with reduced aerodynamic drag to trim fuel consumption and, an important consideration for European markets, cut CO2 emissions to below 140 g/km.

Despite this efficiency, the Insignia ecoFlex can reach 100 km/h (62 mph) from a stop in less than 10 s and achieves a top speed of 218 km/h (135 mph). This performance is partly due to an overboost function in the engine management system, which pumps out maximum torque from the usual 350 to 380 N·m (258 to 280 lb·ft) for as long as 15 s through additional turbo boost pressure.

A racy top speed and thrifty fuel economy both benefit from reduced aerodynamic drag, which in the case of the ecoFlex is a cd of 0.26, a slight reduction from the 0.27 of the standard Insignia. This was achieved by the addition of an underbody panel to curtail turbulence, a closed-off grill, redesigned outside mirrors, and a 10 mm (0.4 in) lower ride height.

The Sports Tourer station-wagon version of the Insignia is mechanically little changed from the sedan underneath, according to Vehicle Line Executive Jim Federico, with just spring rates and damping rates changed.

The real effort went into whittling away the wagon’s drag, which ended up with a cd of “just below 0.30,” according to the company. This was achieved primarily with a high roofline and spoiler but also through such small details as the shape of the clear lens over the taillights, Federico said. Careful tailoring of those lights was worth between four and six aerodynamic drag counts, he said.

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