Former Auto Express features editor and now motoring editor of the London Evening Standard David Williams took the most unusual test drive of his life when he got behind the wheel of the V6-powered Driver Assistance Vectra.
And Williams told us: "Look - no hands! It's the first car in the world that lets you drive hands-free. It's incredible."
He climbed into the hot seat at Vauxhall parent company General Motors' development centre in Frankfurt, Germany. The technology is officially called the Innovative Driver Assistance Programme - but if it sounds dull, the car certainly is not. Lasers in its headlights and foglamps, plus a camera in the rear view mirror, 'read' the road 150 metres ahead. The camera detects the white lines and feeds the data to a 'brain' in the boot which instructs a motor to operate the steering, while the lasers gauge and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.
As the lead car on GM's test track pulled off, so did the Vectra, holding a 25-metre gap through a twisting course, the steering wheel moving on its own. And in a stopping test, the driver in front hit the brakes, and the £1million car pulled up with room to spare. GM says the package will go on sale after 2010, adding up to £1,500 to a Vectra's price.