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by David Zalstein

The Opel Insignia Country Tourer has been revealed ahead of its world premiere at September’s Frankfurt motor show.

Based on the recently facelifted Opel Insignia wagon, the new Opel Insignia Country Tourer aims to add “SUV character” to the family wagon.

An all-wheel-drive system, 20mm-higher ground clearance, protective plastic body cladding around the car’s lower portions and wheel arches, and protective under-body guards front and rear, join wider and deeper front air intakes and tinted headlights in distinguishing the Country Tourer from the standard wagon.

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Three engines will be offered, comprising one petrol and two turbo-diesel units.

A 184kW/400Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre SIDI direct injection petrol engine is available, tied to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, while a 120kW/350Nm (380Nm on overboost) 2.0-litre CDTI oiler is also linked to the same gearbox options. A more powerful 143kW/400Nm bi-turbo 2.0-litre CDTI is exclusively matched to the auto.

Incorporating an electronic limited-slip rear differential, a transfer clutch and a raft of vehicle sensors monitoring yaw rate, acceleration, steering angle, wheel speed, throttle pedal position, and engine speed and torque, the Haldex-style electronically-controlled all-wheel-drive system can distribute drive between the front and rear axles between zero to 100 per cent, as well as between both rear wheels.

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While the goal is to ensure traction on a variety of road surfaces, be they wet or snow covered, paved or unpaved, the system will automatically revert to front-wheel drive whenever it senses that no intervention is required in a bid to reduce frictional losses and fuel consumption.

Squarely aimed at the likes of the Subaru Outback, Volkswagen Passat Alltrack and Audi A4 Allroad, an Opel Australia spokesperson said the Insignia Country Tourer is a model it’s watching with interest and one that would complement its line-up nicely.

“I think the market shows Aussies do love these cars to such an extent that variations on the SUV are something we would certainly consider,” the spokesperson said.

“If confirmed, it would be a long way off arriving here. Certainly not this year and I would doubt next.”

The Opel Insignia Country Tourer debuts at Frankfurt on September 10.

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