2019 Opel Insignia Review
This is the new Insignia GSi, a sporty rendition of the popular Insignia hatchback
Pros: Striking styling, super comfy seats, fun drive
Cons: Lacks oomph, premium price tag, running costs
Opel is back in the sports game with the long-awaited return of the GSi badge. This is the new Insignia GSi, a sporty rendition of the popular Insignia hatch with styling upgrades galore, punchy diesel and petrol engines and a host of interior touches. As the range-topping model in Opel’s Insignia range, the GSi demands a premium price tag and it goes head-to-head with cars like the latest Skoda Superb Sportline, BMW 3 Series M Sport and Ford Mondeo ST-Line amongst others. We put it to the test on a wide range of Irish roads recently to see what it is like to live with day to day.
What is it like?
The Insignia GSi demands attention from the outside, with its huge 20-inch bi-colour alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin tyres, large chrome air intakes, INTELLILUX LED headlights, tinted rear windows and a subtle rear spoiler. GSi specification is available for both the Insignia Grand Sport Hatchback and Sports Tourer Estate, and it is in our opinion the best-looking car in Opel’s current range by a considerable margin. This striking Lava Red colour scheme stands out even more in the metal, and the GSi gets lots of nods of approval and attention from fellow road users.
The Insignia GSi impresses inside with a pair of body-hugging sports seats which are just as comfortable to sit in as they are gorgeous to look at. A flat-bottomed sports steering wheel and eye-catching aluminium pedals lend the GSi a driver-focused feel. As one of the range-topping models in the Insignia range, the GSi is equipped with all sorts of tech, such as Opel’s latest IntelliLink infotainment with an eight-inch touch screen and Apple CarPlay, a super-sounding Bose Premium Sound System and perforated leather upholstery.
Despite being a sporty model, the GSi remains highly practical for day-to-day use. It has the same 490 litre boot as the regular model, and this space grows to 1,450 litres when the rear seats are folded forward. There is enough room to ferry five adults in comfort inside and several other storage cupboards dotted throughout the cabin, while all of the seats in our test car were heated which is a necessity for those frosty Irish mornings.
The Insignia GSi is available with two engines in Ireland, a 2.0-litre CDTI diesel that produces 210bhp or a 2.0-litre Turbocharged petrol with 260bhp. While the petrol-powered GSi is the most enticing option on paper, we tested the diesel which is enjoyable to drive out on the road. The GSi is equipped with four-wheel-drive and an automatic transmission as standard, and it gathers pace quickly off the line. The diesel can sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds, while the Turbo petrol shaves half a second off this time. While the diesel-powered GSi has the looks and feel of a true performance car, it lacks the outright performance to match. We achieved circa 7.0l/100km in fuel economy during the test, while annual motor tax is listed at €750.
Out on the road, the GSi turns with precision and its lots of fun to drive. The standard 4x4 system offers lots of traction and the standard Brembo brakes offer tremendous stopping power. The GSi is 10mm lower to the ground thanks to its sports suspension, so it holds the road very well. The GSi remains comfortable enough for navigating bumpier roads too, so it’s well-suited to Irish driving. Several driving settings are available through buttons on the centre console including Sport and Tour modes.
Prices for the Opel Insignia GSi in Grand Sport guise start at €49,500, which means it is positioned at the premium end of the market and far beyond the base Insignia Grand Sport model (€27,995). That said, it is equipped with virtually every feature under the sun, including 20-inch wheels, GSi body styling, Opel’s impressive IntelliLux LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors and automatic lighting with tunnel detection. That’s not to mention the superb sports seats, leather upholstery, heated seats, a heads-up display and all sorts of safety tech.
Carzone verdict: 3.5/5
In true GSi-fashion, the new Opel Insignia GSi is desirable, lots of fun to drive and it feels suitably-sporty from the driver’s seat. It is one of the most stylish models in Opel’s current range, and it has impressive tech and equipment right from the get go. It demands a hefty price tag as a result however, and while it looks like a performance car from the outside, it doesn’t thrill as much as you would expect.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Opel Insignia GSi
Prices from: €49,500
Annual Road Tax: €750
Engine: 1,956cc four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Power/Torque: 210bhp / 480 Nm
Top Speed: 233km/h
0-100km/h: 7.8 seconds
Body style: Hatchback
Boot Space: 490 litres