Vauxhall Insignia BiTurbo

27 Feb, 2012 2:15pm Jo Oliviera

Clever new twin-turbo diesel engine boosts performance and fuel economy for the Insignia


The addition of a second, smaller turbocharger to the Insignia’s diesel has made a huge difference. Throttle response, performance and running costs have all been improved compared to the less powerful 2.0-litre CDTi engine. FlexRide suspension is included in the price – it normally costs £750 – but for almost the same money you could have a BMW 320d.
Vauxhall is expanding the Insignia’s engine line-up with a 192bhp BiTurbo 2.0-litre diesel.

It’s a complicated set-up, but as we discovered in the Opel-badged car we drove, the results are very impressive. At less than 1,500rpm, exhaust gases only pass through the smaller turbo. From 1,500rpm to 3,000rpm, both turbos come into play, and above 3,000rpm, only the bigger turbo is used. The end result is an almost complete lack of turbo lag and a decent performance boost.

The car cuts the 0-62mph time from 9.0 seconds in the standard 158bhp diesel to 8.2 seconds, while top speed increases from 137mph to 143mph. Yet the most significant change comes in everyday driveability.

Maximum torque is 400Nm, and there’s 320Nm available from only 1,250rpm – which translates into instant acceleration at any speed and in almost any gear. In fact, this car’s 50-70mph time is only half a second slower than the high-performance Insignia VXR’s.

BiTurbo models fitted with the manual gearbox come as standard with stop-start, which helps make them cleaner than the standard diesel, too. The twin-turbo emits 129g/km of CO2, compared to the single-turbo’s 134g/km. Economy also improves, going from 55.4mpg to 57.6mpg.

Standard kit on the BiTurbo diesel includes FlexRide adaptive suspension and sport springs that are 10mm lower than the normal set-up. The result is tight handling through corners, combined with a supple ride that sees the car glide serenely over rough and potholed roads.

But prices for the Insignia BiTurbo start at a whopping £27,120, which is £1,825 more than the 158bhp diesel. By comparison, a 181bhp BMW 320d costs £28,080, claims 61.4mpg and 120g/km and is faster, too. That’s what we’d buy.

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Way to expensive new, wait 6 months and buy a used one half price from a car supermarket.

Is this not the exact same engine as in the SAAB 9-5? Auto Express you said it was gruff and clattery in the Saab and not up to today`s standards,or has it been vastly re-worked? And why does it have a list price of over £27? ... Shaun34 is right that it will be a brilliant buy six months old, but new, £27 list,must put off most company car buy`s.

New Vauxhall Insignia or a 6 month old Jaguar XF 2.2?. Methinks I'd be taking the Jag.

Presumably the Vauxhall is given a silly price so that dealers can slash thousands off list ( they need to) to make it look a good deal.
As with all economy figures, those published are meaningless, being achieved in a laboratory rather than in the real world.

What a cheap shot at the Vauxhall Jo. You'd rather buy into, some would say sullied, so so brand reputation of BMW, sitting on the inescapable that the Vauxhall is probably as good a car, and seriously better in some areas. Can I just ask you one thing before I launch, and that is in your opinion are BMW's sold at inflated prices compared in Germany, taking in currency differences and exchange rates? I mean, much in the same way potential UK GT-R buyers were outraged at the prices Nissan UK would be charging, compared to the prices in Japan. A diesel engineer can answer this one. A 4 cyl pertol engine is inherently unbalanced dynamically. Is a 4 cyl diesel the same? And do the harmonics/dynamics get better adding a turbo, and even better adding two? Lets see how long it is before BMW slap a 2nd turbo on the 320d. So, only one turbo, a whole 11bhp less, and questionable economy and pollution figures. Oh, the BMW is faster. Thats vital, as we all drive our cars, all the time, flat out!! NOT. What galls me the most though with BMW and the 3 series is it magnifies to its worst, BMW in gouging mode. You pay for 4/5 seats, yet mere human beings can only use TWO. The Vauxhall has nothing to prove in respect to reasonable rear passenger room, for 2/3 adults. It might depreciate a bit more than a 320d, but what else is in the showrooms, as technically advanced, frugal, well equipped, as well riding, to make the Vauxhall look like an absolute non-runner?? How much is a new CC?

Hmm, just discovered something that will have me anticipating at least one brickbat. BMW it seems have a [2L ??] twin turbo diesel, making a mighty 205bhp, jammed in something.....

You do it yet again. You praise and praise a car for its achievements and at the end you slam it down for some unfair reason. And why the 3 stars please? Impressive engine, significant improvements, nice handling and ride do not result in 3 stars. I do not own but I happen to drive an Insignia and it is a remarkable machine. This engine makes it even nicer so I can only assume your rating is biased. Just what you did with the TT. You downrated it because it didn't have minibus practicality.

What have motoring magazines got against Vauxhall? What Car gives even lower marks for Insignias. Yet readers views generally rate them highly and in a latest poll were in the top 10!
One has to bear in mind on price one would obtain a significant discount on an Insignia but virtualy nothing on a new 3 series which has far less room.
I have just bought personally a new petrol turbo Insignia and are very impressed with it as have been people I know with 3 series.

It should be 4 stars, but it ain't no 3 series.

Vauxhall is not your favoured manufacturers and its the usual default of 3 stars.

You say its because of the price compared top a BMW, which is more expensive.

I'd bet the Insignia is better equiped, and to bring the BMW to similar spec would push the gap even wider.

The Insignia is a far nicer car than 3 stars suggest.

Auto Express is biased and impose their subjective views of readers. Insignia is a premium car and who has a need to prove purchase of a BMW so be it. Very stupid comparison!

I have a 1 year old SAAB 93 saloon TTID (company car) - this Vauxhall bi-turbo engine sounds the same if you read up on the specs and how it works - only difference is the power output - mine is 180BHP. Goes like a rocket though and revs like a petrol engine due to the twin turbo configuration.

Caution must be taken when performing such reviews. It is quite evident in many of your reviews that VAG and BMW products are portrayed to have a slight edge over similarly equipped, equally capable and technological avant-garde alternative products. You could easily predict how many stars a car will be awarded even before reading the review. And to make matters worse, read the same rants…

VAG products: quality (or should I say perceived quality), door closure ‘thud’, ‘bank vault’ doors (usually it’s the front doors which have that ‘thud’, rear doors have a thinny thud.

The VW Up! was awarded 5 stars – a car which resembles a 2007 Daihatsu Cuore with rear pop out windows in 5 door mode. Pop out windows in 2012!!! Why the 5 stars???? I’m sure it’s a capable car but nothing special. Shape-wise and interior features – a complete mess. Take into account the opposition: Fiat Panda, Kia Picanto, Toyota/Peugeot/Citroen Aygo/107/C1… I think you get the point.

The same with BMW products: feel-some steering wheel, balanced chassis, powerful diesel engines (i.e at the expense of reliability, e.g. the swirl flap problem which no magazine ever highlights). I’m sure BMWs are technological masterpieces and a real driver’s car but their failings never seem to be mentioned. Take for an instance their dashboard design – other car makers such as Vauxhall/Opel, Hyundai, Ford, Audi do a much better job in dashboard layouts than BMW do. Even the materials used are not even on par. 80’s and 90’s BMW dashes were even better designed than today’s and more driver oriented. But alas, none ever criticizes a BMW dashboard.

In this review you described the BMW 320d as faster. Faster in what? 0-60mph? 30-70mph? Top speed? On which gear? Be more specific and provide data for such an analysis. 0-60mph times do not equate to real world driving i.e. if your daily commute does not involve traffic light drag racing!!!
AE try to be less biased in your reviews. Please reflect that these cars you test are designed and manufactured by people who make their best to produce a high quality product and who also must earn a living. Giving an unfair negative review can seriously damage the sales of a highly competent product and ultimately the effects will all tumble down onto their workforce. Indirectly you are also responsible for their jobs.

So please AE, be unbiased. Be responsible.

So the British Motoring press would prefer a BMW, who'd have thought it.......

.........................and being as biased and corrupt as they are, they conveniently forget that you will get £5K off the price of an Insignia without asking, but wont get 5p off a new 320d!

Families have kids ,dogs,prams,and all sorts of paraphenalia.In real life I think the Insignia ,mondeo or w.h.y might make your wonderful BMW look a bit pathetic.the same goes for the 5 series estate never mind the joke of the 3 series estate.

Its simple, Vauxhall do not make very good cars, you can have all the extras you want if that's your thing..what I can tell you is that the cars are for ordinary joes and janes who do not appreciate any feeling to controls etc..lest the said buyers complain that the brakes are too sharp..and the steering keeps kicking back. Biggest mistake I ever made was to buy one when I should have known better...the motoring press know what they are on about IMHO.

Its not that I think Vauxhalls are bad, they are just not for people who enjoy driving..they are about shopping, sales repping and school runs.

Opel-Vauxhall promised this bi-turbo diesel since day 1 of the presentation of the Insignia? Like.... what took them so long? It's been like... 4 years?? Can you at least get it with automatic transmission and AWD together? It could not be done on Saab...

27k for a vauxhall repmobile with technology ripped from Saab! , i had an insignificant sri tdi 160 for a few months and gave it back, it was awfull and my teath nearly dropped out from the bad ride. Then its compared with another common rep mobile, the useless passenger carrying vehicle that is the bmw 3.....wouldnt buy that either

Has anyone read the driver power survey? Anyone notice where the Insignia and Astra were positioned? Vauxhall build quality and reliability is leagues ahead of what it used to be and I think they deserve a bit of praise. I owned one of the last Vectras and it was a truly awful car plagued with problems, both the Astra and Insignia are now snapping at the heals of VW. Ford? Where are they in the survey? Stop beating up Vauxhall just because you are told by the press and Top Gear to hate them. Well done Vauxhall

Even Top Gear like them now so it's just left to What Car and AE to put them down for no real reason.

It's for this reason why I don't buy either the AE or What Car. They have been like this for years - nothing changes.

Because of the bias, AE and What Car are simply/essentially feeding potential car buyers WRONG and INACCURATE information - It's wrong and IT NEEDS TO STOP NOW!

The British motoring press should be supporting British industry not slamming it.

Incidentally, I drive a new Astra Tourer 2.0 SRI 160 diesel and after 15,000 miles NOTHING has gone wrong. Very quick, sharp to drive, 53mpg, good looking and 1500 litres of boot-space when required.

Rant over.

Vauxhalls are rubbish cynical cars, they are "a mugs eyeful", yes they work, however the one i had was a omega elite and I can tell you it rode much, much worse than a Renault 5 gt turbo, terrible and i mean terrible suspension, and steering, good auto gearbox and the V6 were its only good features.

That's why i say extras cannot help a poor car vauxhall or otherwise it's just the smoke and mirrors that tempt you to buy it..don't especially if it's your own money.

I do hope for the love of humanity that they have improved things.

So in one breath you say 'Vauxhall do not make very good cars' then you say 'Its not that I think Vauxhalls are bad'....well which is it? I'll tell you what, why don't you try driving a new VM model before you comment - may I suggest a VXR8 to indulge in some opo! That way you might have a remotely valid opinion on the insignia. Your negative views seems to be entirely based on an Omega - when compared to an R5 turbo. For me the proof tends to be in the pudding, in that the police have used Vauxhall's for years as patrol and pursuit cars, with Senator, Omega, Vectra now even Insignia as noted models - no R5's that I can recall tho.

Can't everyone see that AE and autocar get back handers from the likes of bmw and audi etc. They don't rate vauxhalls because they don't pay them to write good reviews. Simple.

Key specs

* Price: £27,120
* Engine: 2.0-ltr 4cyl turbo, 192bhp
* Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
* 0-62/top speed: 8.2 seconds/143mph
* Economy/CO2: 57.6mpg/129g/km
* Equipment: FlexRide suspension, leather, Bluetooth, climate control
* On sale: Now