Well, that was fast. Earlier today Opel’s Vice President of Design, Mark Adams, confirmed the GSi badge will be returning to a model of the German manufacturer, releasing a teaser image with a red car. Our first guess was an Astra GSi, but it turns out the brand has prepared an even bigger surprise than we expected – a sporty Insignia GSi, which is “sharper, more precise, even more efficient” than the standard model.
Think of it not as a full-blown, high-performance variant, but as a “warm” derivative with design, suspension, brakes, and interior upgrades. More aggressive bumpers with larger air intakes, eye-catching 20-inch wheels, stylish rear spoiler, red brake calipers, and sporty side skirts should make it easy to distinguish it from the standard five-door Insignia Grand Sport.
Opel compares the new Insignia GSi with the previous generation Insignia OPC, saying the new car is actually faster around the Nurburgring without specifying the exact lap time. This is possible despite the fact that the current range-topper in the Insignia range has less power than the OPC it replaces and a smaller, 260-horsepower (194-kilowatt) four-cylinder turbo engine compared to the previous V6.
According to the manufacturer, the GSi is about 353 pounds (160 kilograms) lighter that the OPC, sits lower to the ground, has a lower center of gravity, and much more grip thanks to an all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring.
“The new Insignia GSi is clearly quicker over one lap of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife than the more powerful Insignia OPC of the previous generation” Director Performance Cars amd Motorsport, Volker Strycek, confirmed. “It is this combination of low weight – especially on the front axle – low center of gravity, easy handling, high power over a wide rpm-band and best traction which makes the GSi so fast.”
Inside the cabin, the new Insignia GSi features state-of-the-art sports seats with improved lateral support as well as long-distance comfort, Opel promises. Just like in the higher trim levels for the standard Insignia, the front seats offer ventilation, heating, massage and adjustable side bolsters. When specifying the car, customers will be able to choose from two leather upholsteries, each decorated with a GSi emblem and created especially for the model.
The first show appearance of the car is scheduled for the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September, followed by a market launch a month later. A powerful diesel engine will be introduced for the car next year.
Gallery: 2017 Opel Insignia GSi
- Sharper: sporty front and rear design plus eye-catching 20-inch wheels
- More precise: FlexRide chassis and Brembo brakes tuned to optimum at Nürburging
- Efficient: lightweight, turbocharging and friction optimized eight-speed automatic
- Higher grip: all-wheel drive with torque vectoring, strong-performing Michelin sports tires
- Better control: new AGR-certified seats with high lateral support and comfort
- Quicker: GSi leaves more powerful OPC-predecessor behind on Nordschleife
- Center stage: world premiere at Frankfurt International Motor Show mid-September
Rüsselsheim. Sharper, more precise, even more efficient. The new Opel Insignia GSi is a sports sedan for those who like something special. A driver’s car for maximum fun on all kinds of roads. The chassis with its very dynamic set-up and the particularly high level of grip, in combination with all-wheel drive, ensures a rewarding driving experience as well as maximum safety. The new eight-speed automatic transmission can be operated via shift-paddles at the steering wheel – like a racing car – for an even more active driving experience. Typical of the new Insignia-generation is the combination of lightweight design, low center of gravity and 2.0-liter turbo power. This results in excellent balance and a very good power to weight ratio. Such internal values deserve a special exterior. With large chrome air-intakes at the front and a neat rear spoiler for the necessary downforce on the rear axle, the GSi’s looks perfectly match the performance. The leather upholstered, integrated sports seats (specially developed for the GSi), the leather sports steering wheel and the aluminum pedals add the finishing touches.
Fine tuning in the best Opel tradition has led to the most efficient Insignia ever that makes the new GSi dynamically different to the already agile Insignia Grand Sport. A new level of modern sportiness characterized by superb grip and razor-sharp precision – talents that fans of sporty midsize sedans will appreciate, which can also be seen on the stop watch. “The new Insignia GSi is clearly quicker over one lap of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife than the more powerful Insignia OPC of the previous generation” concluded Director Performance Cars & Motorsport, Volker Strycek after testing. One of the reasons is that the GSi is 160 kilograms lighter than a comparable Insignia OPC 2.8 V6 Turbo. Just like a lean athlete.
“It is this combination of low weight – especially on the front axle – low center of gravity, easy handling, high power over a wide rpm-band and best traction which makes the GSi so fast” says an enthusiastic Strycek. “That is pure efficiency. The high grip level is perfect for the Nordschleife and a fun-to-drive as well as safety advantage on public roads.”
On the “Green Hell”: the toughest race track in the world
The finishing touches were put to the Insignia GSi on the legendary Nürburgring-Nordschleife. Here in the Eifel mountains Opel runs a test center for setting up its performance cars. The Opel engineers have developed an all-new chassis for the GSi on the Nürburgring, which triple F1 world champion Jackie Stewart famously described as the “Green Hell”. Shorter springs lower the GSi by 10 millimeters and special sports shock absorbers reduce body movements to a minimum. The powerful Brembo four-cylinder brakes (diameter 345 millimeter) and the already direct steering were adapted accordingly. The Insignia GSi is equipped as standard with the mechatronic FlexRide chassis. It adapts shock absorbers and steering in fractions of a second; the control unit also changes the calibration of the accelerator pedal and the shift points of the eight-speed automatic. The driver can choose between Standard, Tour and Sport modes. Subject to the chosen mode, steering and throttle-response is then even more direct. Exclusive to the GSi is the Competition mode, which is activated via the ESP button. A double-press allows skillful drivers more yaw and switches off traction control – for a fast lap of the Nordschleife, for example
The sports-chassis, developed in combination with the extra grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires and big 20-inch wheels, offers almost limpet-like levels of adhesion. A major contribution comes from the all-wheel drive with torque vectoring fitted as standard, which is unique in this segment. In this high-tech system a conventional differential on the rear axle is replaced by two clutches, which can accelerate each rear wheel individually in fractions of a second, depending on the driving situation. Annoying understeer, where the front wheels push towards the outside of the corner, is therefore almost banished from the Insignia GSi. In other words, the GSi takes a neat line through a series of turns.
The sports sedan is powered by an impressive gasoline turbo engine that combines fuel efficiency with performance. The powerful 2.0-liter turbo produces 191 kW (260 hp) and develops generous torque of 400 Newton meters (NEDC fuel consumption: 11.2 liters per 100 km urban; 7.1 l/100 km extra-urban; 8.6 l/100 km combined; 197 g/km CO2). The four-cylinder unit is mated to an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission. The driver has the option of shifting gears via paddles at the steering wheel. With the transmission shifting automatically the driver can even preselect the shift points in Standard and Sport modes. In addition to the 2.0-liter gasoline turbo, the GSi will also offer a powerful new diesel engine.
Sporty features: from new Opel performance sport seat to rear spoiler
The sporty capabilities of the Insignia GSi are matched by design cues, technology-highlights and accessories. At the top of the list is the new sports seat developed by Opel, which provides increased lateral support as well as long-distance comfort. The premium sports seat is AGR-certified (Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.) and therefore ergonomically ideal. Just like in the Insignia Grand Sport it offers ventilation, heating, massage and adjustable side bolsters. In the GSi the tall seatback also features an integrated head restraint. The routing of the seatbelt at shoulder level is ideal, which is not a given for integral seats. The customer can choose from two leather combinations, each decorated with a GSi emblem. The logo also proudly adorns the rear of the car, which carries an efficient spoiler for the required downforce on the rear axle. The rear apron looks similar to a diffusor and features two chrome-edged exhaust pipes. Similarly chrome-edged air-intakes are located ahead of the front wheels. Fans will also appreciate the appropriate ambience in the interior, such as in the flattened lower area of the leather-wrapped steering wheel, the aluminum pedals and the black ceiling – in the best style of a very special sports sedan.
33-year tradition: the GSi models from Opel
The Insignia GSi continues a long tradition of sporty Opel cars named GSi. The first to stir up excitement were the Manta GSi and the Kadett GSi (115 hp from 1.8-liters) in 1984. Only four years later the 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve engine in the Kadett 2.0 GSi 16V delivered 150 hp. The first Astra also featured this engine and in 1993 there was a 1.8-liter 125 hp alternative in the Astra GSi. There was also a GSi with various generations of the Corsa, beginning with the 100 hp Corsa A (1988) that has become a much sought-after classic. At the (provisional!) end of the line was the Corsa D in August 2012.
But now the new Insignia GSi will make its world premiere at the IAA Frankfurt International Motor Show (September 14-24, 2017) and will be available to order in Germany in mid-October.