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The European market’s performance-tuned 2017 Opel Insignia OPC will be powered exclusively by an all-wheel-drive four-cylinder turbo-petrol setup, dropping the current turbocharged V6 arrangement, according to an Opel engineer.

Here in Australia, instead of that sporty four, a V6 engine will join the more vanilla 2.0-litre options – specifically to satisfy the brand’s more capacity-focused buyers – when the new Insignia-based Holden Commodore debuts in 2018.

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Speaking at a prototype development drive at Holden’s private Lang Lang proving ground, General Motors Europe technical integration engineer Andreas Liljekvist, exclusively told CarAdvice that the V6 wouldn’t be used for the European market.

“The VXR will only be for Australia [referring to the use of a V6]. We call it an OPC and we will not have a V6 in this one,” Liljekvist said. “Yes, it will be all-wheel drive and probably a four-cylinder.”

The current Insignia OPC, sold here as the Holden Insignia VXR, is powered by a 2.8-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine that produces 239kW of power and 435Nm of torque.

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Replacing this engine in the 2018 Holden Commodore performance model, which is based off the upcoming 2017 Opel Insignia, will be a naturally aspirated 3.6-litre V6 engine mated to an all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring.

It’s expected to sprint from 0-100km/h in around six seconds, courtesy of a weight loss of around 170kg over the previous Insignia and around 200-300kg off the current Commodore.

The other two engines being launched with the Commodore will be 2.0-litre four-cylinder front-wheel drive units (a petrol and a diesel). It’s the petrol that’s expected to power the next generation Insignia OPC/VXR. Given the current model produces 239kW of power, we should expect to see similar numbers from the four-cylinder unit.

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Beneath the Insignia’s skin is the ‘Twinster’ all-wheel drive system, which uses a dual-clutch arrangement with no differential. It allows the vehicle to perform torque vectoring without the use of traction control or speed limiters, which can often slow a vehicle down, as opposed to improving cornering. The Twinster all-wheel drive system is also used in the Ford Focus RS, which allows the vehicle to aggressively send torque to the rear, allowing the car to drift on demand.

Liljekvist explained to CarAdvice that the Insignia can send up to 50 per cent of torque to the rear axle with a number of onboard controllers taking vehicle input measurements at a frequency of 100Hz (100 times per second). The system can deliver up to 2500Nm of torque to the rear axle and up to 1500Nm to each wheel.

“Personally I would have liked to have this technology years ago, but when I heard that we will go for it, I was really happy that it’s up to us to make the system as good as possible to make the customers happy. You will achieve a lot of driving fun with this car,” Liljekvist said.

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“It’s always a challenge when I talk about all-wheel drive systems because now we have another dimension with torque vectoring. It gives you more opportunity, but the challenges are much higher because the expectations are much higher. We do everything to fulfil this.”

Either way, Liljekvist says that the new Insignia OPC/VXR will be impressive.

“Definitely not [in reference to it being toned down in comparison to the current version]. You need to stay tuned, I can guarantee it will be impressive,” Liljekvist said.

MORE: 2018 Holden Commodore/Opel Insignia Review
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