THE VX FACTOR (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 46
Vauxhall's VXR brand has always signalled speed but it's rarely spelled sophistication. This Insignia VXR changed all that, matching potent performance to the kind of subtle, purposeful high speed everyday capability that used to be the preserve of BMW and Audi. It's a surprisingly impressive car.
Modelsword count: 12
5dr Hatch / 4dr saloon / Sports Tourer Estate [2.8 V6 325PS]
Historyword count: 188
Rest to sixty in 5.8 seconds, 321bhp, a top speed that would get you permanently locked up if Vauxhall hadn't restricted it to a still highly illegal 155mph. It wasn't long ago that you needed a supercar to achieve statistics like these. These days though, all you need is an ordinary five-door family hatch. Or maybe not such an ordinary one. Perhaps this car, Vauxhall's Insignia VXR. V,X and R are three letters that spell ballistic performance for any Vauxhall. When first the badge was launched back in 2003 on Max Power versions of some of the brand's smaller cars, that was about all it signified. Fast yes. But about as subtle as Lady Gaga. Unless you're selling a rally replica supercar, that's not something you can get away with on something bearing a much more exalted pricetag. So unlike its Vectra VXR predecessor, this flagship Insignia had to pack its powerful punch in a velvet glove. It did, launched in 2009 and sold until early 2017, available in saloon, hatch and Sports Tourer estate bodystyles. Along the way, in 2015, an uprated 'VXR Supersport' version was launched.
What You Getword count: 258
Sophistication was the watchword with the styling of this car, in saloon, estate or hatchback guise. True, it's still more extreme to look at than your average Audi S4 or the sport-trimmed BMW 335i or Mercedes C350 models from this era that you could choose. Gaping front cutaways manage to transform the standard Insignia model's rather restrained look into something much more dramatic, a theme continued around the car, especially if you choose a variant fitted out with the optional 20-inch bespoke-fit alloys, through the spokes of which are the colour-coded callipers of the Brembo high performance braking system. It's all suggestive of potent purpose. But not so much that you'd feel a little self-conscious at the golf club. Inside, you sit 15mm lower than in humbler Insignias, clasping the flat-bottomed leather-trimmed sports steering wheel while being firmly but comfortably supported by brilliant Recaro seats that are as good on the motorway as they would be lapping at Monza. VXR badges litter the cabin, cropping up on the instruments, the gearknob, the steering wheel and the door sills, but otherwise practicality rules. That's provided of course that you're not over six foot and so hampered by the sloping roofline that's evident at the back. Those not of basketball height will however, be quite comfortable in the rear, with decent leg and shoulder room. Out back, the hatch offers 530-litres of luggage room, which rises to 1465-litres if you flatten the split-folding rear seats. Opt for the Sport Tourer estate model and those figures rise to 540 and 1530-litres.
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Category: Sporting Cars
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