Vauxhall Vectra

3 Apr, 2007 1:00am Sam Hardy

Vauxhall’s all-new Vectra is taking shape – and it’s set to be the firm’s best-looking family model ever

Following on from the concept car that stole the limelight from the Ford Mondeo at the recent Geneva Motor Show, Auto Express can bring you the first pictures of the all-new machine.

Set to replace the current model in 2008, it will bring with it fresh styling, a new platform and some of the most advanced safety technology yet seen on a production car.

Our spies have caught a variety of prototypes undergoing winter testing. But these latest pictures – which have been produced using exclusive inside information – show that the production version will feature the same head-turning front end as the GTC Coupé concept from the Swiss expo (Issue 951).

With a jutting nose dominated by a big, chrome V-shaped grille, faired-in lower spotlights and streamlined headlamps, there will be no mistaking the new Vectra for anything else on the road. That sporty feel continues in profile, with a rising waistline and sharply curved roof which flows down to a rakish tailgate. At the rear, bold tail-lights and chrome detailing finish off the new look.

As well as the saloon pictured here, there will be a hatchback, an estate and eventually a coupé, too. But top brass have yet to decide on a name for the next-generation range. At the moment, there are 10 possible badges in the running, inclu­ding Vectra and Insignia – which we revealed as a contender in Issue 940.

Inside, the cabin will draw inspiration from the virtually production-ready interior of the GTC. Expect deep-set dials backlit in red, piano black trim for the centre console and lots of chrome highlights. Build quality will be excellent, too – Vauxhall wants to take on prestige brands in this area.

Thanks to a new platform – called Epsilon 2, and set to underpin the replacement for the Signum as well – there will be more space for passengers and their luggage. That chassis will mean better refinement and driving dynamics, too, which will be further enhanced by adaptive dampers on top-spec models.

As with the GTC show car, flagship variants will also come with a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system incorporating a limited-slip differential. These models will be powered by a 296bhp 2.8-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine. Further down the range, smaller-capacity turbocharged petrol and diesel units should feature.

Most variants will be fitted with integrated sat-nav, hands-free telephone and audio technology. Yet that won’t be the most impressive feature, as the Vectra replacement will be the first Vauxhall to get parent firm General Motors’ new Traffic Assist system. This uses radar and video to scan the road ahead, braking the car automatically in the event of a potential collision.

Another Vectra concept is set to be revealed at the Frankfurt show in September, while the production version will go on sale early next year.

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