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2013 Opel Insignia OPC Review
2013 Opel Insignia OPC Review
2013 Opel Insignia OPC Review

It’s a difficult car to approach, the Opel Insignia OPC. There’s been nothing before it, at least in this country, so this $60,000 fast four-door sedan is an unknown quantity.

Opel Performance Centre (OPC), based in Russelsheim, Germany, is the sports-engineering division of GM’s European arm, Opel, which itself has recently launched in Australia. OPC to Opel is a bit like Renaultsport to Renault, or AMG to Mercedes-Benz, so hopefully it follows those divisions by turning vanilla cars into tasty, brilliant ones.

At $59,900, and with 239kW of power, the Opel Insignia OPC competes with the $55,990/220kW Volkswagen Passat V6 FSI, the $52,990/195kW Subaru Liberty GT, and even the $64,600/180kW BMW 328i sedan – three very different personalities.

Note that the number of kilowatts the OPC makes is higher than its rivals, and that it uniquely comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, Recaro bucket seats, Brembo brakes – those two brands are to an enthusiast what Hermes and Armani are to a fashionista – and a rear limited-slip differential. (See the full price and equipment list here.)

2013 Opel Insignia OPC Review
2013 Opel Insignia OPC Review
2013 Opel Insignia OPC Review
2013 Opel Insignia OPC Review

The Opel Insignia OPC is, in pie-chart terms, about three-parts Passat V6 and two-parts Subaru WRX STI. Let us explain…

As with the Volkswagen, the Opel Insignia OPC is a quick, roomy and refined all-wheel-drive family sedan. Compared with regular Insignia models, OPC has pulled the front suspension apart and essentially re-built it. Also installed is an adaptive, adjustable shock absorber kit called FlexRide which offers three settings – standard mode, or a dash-mounted button that allows drivers to choose from Sport or OPC modes.

Moving through the modes progressively hardens-up the suspension for sporty driving in addition to sharpening steering and throttle response. But in the regular mode, even riding on liquorice-thin optional 20-inch wheels, the Insignia OPC is superbly comfortable in the city and suburbs. The Opel feels sophisticated the way it deals with pot-holes and expansion joints, thumping slightly through the cabin, but never jarring and rattling occupants’ bones.

Also like its Passat rival, the Insignia is quiet on most surfaces, although the large wheels throw up a decent racket on coarse-chip surfaces at speed.

Interior quality isn’t quite up to Volkswagen standards, but the design of the dashboard is modern and built using soft-touch plastics, and comfort from the Recaro seats is superb.

Although rear-seat headroom is affected by the Insignia’s sloping roofline, it isn’t as cramped as proper coupe-style sedans. Rear legroom is prodigous, and rear air vents are included to keep passengers warm or chilled. Door pockets, a tilted backrest and a thick seat base ensure fine comfort for long-distance touring. The boot is a capacious 500 litres and the rear-seat backrest folds to accept longer items.

2013 Opel Insignia OPC Review
2013 Opel Insignia OPC Review
2013 Opel Insignia OPC Review

The inconsistency that plagues a Subaru WRX STI – coincidentally it costs about the same money and offers similar power – begins to seep through, however.

The ergonomics in the Opel Insignia OPC cabin are below average. An overload of buttons on the main fascia is a problem. It’s possible to change a CD/iPod track no fewer than four ways – by forward and backward buttons on the main fascia, a rotary knob on the main fascia, the rotary dial near the transmission lever, or the rocker switch on the steering wheel – yet other functions are buried under a layer of sub-menus. Connecting your mobile phone via Bluetooth cannot be done by pressing the ‘phone’ button on the dash, but inexplicably must be accessed by the ‘settings’ sub-menu. Even then, Bluetooth audio streaming isn’t available.

An Insignia facelift is due soon, and the way occupants interact with the interior definitely needs a re-think.

The 2.8-litre turbocharged V6 engine is another prime example of the inconsistency affecting the OPC. The engine is assembled in Melbourne by Holden, shipped to Opel in Germany, only to come back nestled under the Insignia bonnet. Despite packing 239kW of power and 435Nm of torque – both big numbers for $60K – the Insignia has delayed responses off the mark and only charges hard and fast when the tachometer is in the top half of its range.

These days, sophisticated turbocharging technology has mostly eliminated the old turbo-lag bugbear, but not in the Opel. A BMW 335i turbo six-cylinder, for example, offers maximum torque of 400Nm from 1200-5000rpm; the Opel Insignia OPC delivers 435Nm but needs 5250rpm showing on the tachometer to deliver it. At low revs, the Insignia feels tardy, and slower than its 6.3-second 0-100km/h claim indicates. Yet at higher revs, it feels significantly faster.

Its response around town isn’t helped by a six-speed automatic that is dreadfully slow to kick back gears in auto mode; demanding drivers must use the manual mode, with tipshifter gate and paddleshifters.

Claimed fuel consumption of 10.9L/100km blew out to 13L/100km in mixed conditions on test.

The upside is – and this is also something the Subaru is renowned for – the Insignia offers addictive acceleration when kept on the boil. Plant the accelerator on a country road, and the OPC reels in distance and blurs the scenery. The V6 engine even offers up a whooshy soundtrack, overlaid by an audible turbo ‘whumpf’ when backing off the throttle – few sports cars do this these days.

Suddenly, the comfortable and quiet urban traits are left behind and the Opel Insignia OPC becomes a bit uncouth, verging on demonic.

Fast acceleration is backed by superb handling. In the hardest OPC mode the Insignia sits amazingly flat in corners, and sharpens the steering to the point of being quick and communicative – comparatively it’s a bit delayed in its responses around town in normal mode.

Thanks to the hard suspension, grippy Pirelli P Zero tyres and all-wheel-drive traction, the Opel Insignia OPC corners fast, with noticeable understeer – or front-end push – on turn-in to a corner offset by the ability to pin the throttle in the middle of the corner and feel the car send power to the rear wheels.

It’s a real rush to the drive the Opel Insignia OPC, and that’s something that can’t be said for its VW Passat, Subaru Liberty and even BMW 328i rivals, all of which are polished to a tee. The real trick with the Opel is its ability to then slip back into the urban jungle, swallow a lot of luggage, offer terrific legroom for the whole family, and remain comfortable and quiet whether cruising or commuting.

It may be an unpolished Opel in some respects, but this Insignia OPC is, in terms of character and in the places that matter, a rare gem.




  • Galaxy3

    wow for $64,990 you can get a fully loaded IS350 Lexus which is better then this

    • DoubleBlue

       “CarAdvice” please lets give up on the ongoing reports/info about anything OPEL cause No one is really cares.!

      • JoeR_AUS

        Nobody cares but you waste your time with dribble here

        • DoubleBlue

           Who taught you how to write or form sentence correctly.?
          “Dribble” is more appropriate statement. JoeR_AUS.!

          • kazuo

            All Opel cars sold in Aus r normal price cars market overseas.

          • lee

            That’s the same for golf, and passat

          • JoeR_AUS

            Here, you are DoubleBlue.

            “CarAdvice”,
            please lets give up on the ongoing reports/info about anything OPEL, because no
            one really cares!

             

             

            Who taught
            you how to write or form sentences correctly?

            “Dribble”
            is a more appropriate statement, JoeR_AUS!

          • Douglas9305

            “or form …a…. sentence”

            “”Dribble” is …a… more appropriate”

            Sheesh!

          • Igomi Watabi

            I’m sorry, but who taught whom to “form sentence properly”?

      • lee

        Actually I like reading about cars that win international design awards, unlike doll up camrys that get labled IS350

        • JoeR_AUS

          It would be interesting if one of the Tuners (workshop) did a package on a V6 Aurion (suspension, wheels, etc) and then they compared it to the IS350. The result would be interesting.

          • Zaccy16

            the main big advantage that the is350 has over the aurion is rear wheel drive not understeery front wheel drive, the aurion has too much power and torque going through the front wheels and no technology to help with torque steer and handling 

    • lee

      why?

    • Zaccy16

      yeah i tend to agree, this is a nice car the opel but needs a more economical and good for town use turbo engine and to updtae the interior, the is350 x would be better value for money

    • BlownStangPerth

      A Toyota…… I dont think so. Why pay 40k more for a corolla with leather. Fool

  • Aayayu18

    Why is Australia getting this model when a face lifted version is around the corner?
    Also If the new Lexus IS 350 Sport will be $64990.00 then I would get the Lexus. 

    • JoeR_AUS

      Your money your choice.

      However, the Opel has AWD and revised king pin (reduce torque steer) front struts.

      Extract:

      The SuperSport chassis package benefits from HiPerStruts (High Performance Struts) on the front suspension, which are combined with highly effective Brembo brakes. These brakes consist of large, 355 x 32 mm, cross-drilled discs, four-piston, high-strength aluminum calipers and high performance brake pads. Specially developed Co-Cast floating discs consist of a cast iron brake rotor and an aluminum disc bell.The HiPerStrut suspension which was first used in the high performance Insignia OPC marks a significant evolution of the regular Insignia’s MacPherson strut front suspension. It improves grip in wet or dry conditions and allows more power to be applied during cornering.While the suspension uses the same fixing points as in other Insignias, the kingpin inclination angle has been reduced from 13 to 9 degrees, therefore shortening the spindle length by 23 millimetres to 44 millimetres. Each of these reductions allows drivers to better exploit the Insignia power potential. The reduced kingpin angle means less camber loss, which allows the front tires to retain more contact with the road during cornering, therefore delaying the onset of understeer. The shorter spindle length significantly reduces torque steer reactions and improves resistance to steering kickback through rutted bends.The last time all these features was available you had to but a Audi Quattro which is pushing $100,000. Do not forget a Forester XT on road these days is over $55,000.

      • kazuo

        Euro badge in Aus r worth a lot!! 

  • lee

    Drive : Andrew McClean today.
    It won’t rip your head off, but it’s a sweet mechanical combination. Even at city speeds, the V6 has a gravelly exhaust note and, while there’s a noticeable build-up in turbo pressure from 2000rpm onwards, the turbo lag is minimal and the delivery relatively smooth and linear.

    Maybe Daniel was driving the IS350….

    • JoeR_AUS

      I drove the SAAB Aero 9-5 with all these features last year. The engine has plenty of performance and will always remain composed with AWD.

  • Exar Kun

    I’d love one of these in wagon form.  Disappointing to hear the drivetrain isn’t fantastic but I like the looks and the practicality.  Just wish we got the manual here.

  • GTuck

    $10k too expensive in my opinion, but yes, I’d love a wagon version…

    • JoeR_AUS

      Have you noticed that the new Forester XT is 55k and has nowhere near the performance e.g 0-100 in 7.5s. I would like one for 10k less but we are only dreaming….

    • Zaccy16

      yep ill definitely take a wagon but drivability and fuel consumption wouldn’t be very good with that very high  max torque range 

  • Rocket

    Anyone who can drive would prefer a Turbo Falcon and have 20k change.

    • Sydney Simon

       Good one. Or a new VF Calais with a supercharger.

  • O123

    cant wait to see if people start sticking holden badges on these =p

    • Golfmother

      Yes stimpy might ditch his maloo and get some decent handling , glue a chevy badge on it .

      • Chad

        I’m guessing you”ve driven one of the latest maloo’s and have experienced their handling first hand????

        • Pro346

          It wouldn’t look good parked out the front of the cafe.

        • Troll No. 47

           I think the only thing Golftosser handles is himself.

  • Wxthree

    Don’t laugh but over in America they rip the chev badges of Pontiac GXP’s and put on Holden badges. That is apparently a very cool thing to do !!!

    • David

      I’ve rented Pontiacs and Chevs in the US. Commodores are light years ahead of either – and I’m not a Commodore fan!

    • filippo

      I call BS. Why would they when 99% of Americans wouldn’t have a clue what a Holden is?

      • Pro346

        That 1% buy g8s and gtos

      • Sydney Simon

         Car freaks over there know all about Aussie Supercars.

  • Dave

    For the money you’d buy a Lexus IS350, a Volvo S60 T6 or a few other prestige brands.

    This may be an OK car, but it’s essentially a Euro GM/Holden. They’re punching well above their weight thinking Aussies will pay premium prices for Opel.

    This one is at least $20,000 overpriced. It won’t sell. Full stop.

    • JoeR_AUS

      Ok, that would make it $40,000, you are struggling to get a 2.5i Subaru for that money.

    • Deutsch

      Just because Opel is GM doesn’t mean it’s a Holden. This a German car, that was designed, built and engineered in Germany. I can’t believe you make reference to the IS350; this is a CAMRY. A Camry. I think you better start doing some Wikipedia on where cars are made in which country of origin, as the OPC Insignia is as German as you get.

    • Frosty

      And the Lexus is just a well overpriced version of the Humble Toyota. I would prefer a Euro made GM to a Japanese made Lexus. Wait Toyota are Japanese as well. The Japanese just don’t have the elite sound to their cars compared to the Euro names.

    • Tallbod

      You either don’t know don’t care or are just ignorant, this car is as German as you can get, why would you buy a Lexus/Camry or Volvo/focus for over 60k when you can get a German engineered master piece with Recaro seats and Brembo brakes, those 2 hings alone make it a meter piece. Good on Opel, hope this sells ell for them, it should.

  • OPCfan

    @ Why should this car be a Euro Holden since the Insignia was engineerd by Opel in Ruesselsheim and the Epsilon platform was also done by them? I don´t think the Insignia OPC is overpriced, if you compare it to the German price list, where it starts at $62000!

  • Exar Kun

    It’s cheaper than the R36 Passat was and it’s in the same class.

  • Cam

    Can see these things becoming money pits once out of warranty…

  • Homer

    For a few thousands more you can get the S60 T6 AWD. Volvo carries a more prestigious image and it is in a higher class than “Opel”. Volvo is among if not the safest car in the world. Volvo is likely to be more reliable and has more dealer / service network. Why risk buying this one when you can have a volvo??

    • JoeR_AUS

      Interesting point and option.

      The lower price does help the OPC about 10k cheaper than a R-Design. It would make a interesting comparison. The V60 version is another trump for Volvo though.

  • wby273

    Australian fools and their money are easily parted. A 100km/h speed limit, badly designed roads and you pay way more than in any other country for loud exhaust noise, nothing else. A GM car no matter where it is manufactured is designed in the good ol’ U.S of A.

    • mjg17picpt@pacific.net.au

      Rubbish, the finance approval may be so, but design houses do have some independence. I would only buy an Insignia OPC if there was a hatchback version, and some country dealerships.

      • wby273

        Please show me the major design differences in Australian cars.

Opel Insignia Specs

OPC : 2.8L TURBO MPFI - 6 SP AUTOMATIC - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 5D HATCHBACK
Car Details
Make
OPEL
Model
INSIGNIA
Variant
OPC
Series
GA
Year
2013
Body Type
5D HATCHBACK
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
TURBO MPFI
Engine Size
2.8L
Cylinders
TURBO V6
Max. Torque
435Nm @  2250rpm
Max. Power
239kW @  5250rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
132.1W/kg
Bore & Stroke
89x74.8mm
Compression Ratio
9.5
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
ALL WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
3.75
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
70
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
10.9L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1809
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1498mm
Length
4830mm
Width
1856mm
Ground Clearance
105mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1600  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.4
Front Rim Size
8.5x19
Rear Rim Size
8.5x19
Front Tyres
245/40 R19
Rear Tyres
245/40 R19
Wheel Base
2737
Front Track
1585
Rear Track
1587
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Heated Front Seats, Power front seats
Control & Handling
Adaptive Damping Control, 19 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder, Performance Brake Package
Driver
Cruise Control, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Power Steering
Engine & Transmission
Limited Slip Differential
Entertainment
Radio CD with 7 Speakers
Exterior
Body Kit, Power Mirrors
Interior
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Control & Handling
20 Inch Alloy Wheels
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
8-J-9
Country of Origin
GERMANY