The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Opel Insignia OPC: High-Tech Spices Up Passionate Driving

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

SYDNEY – Feb 12, 2013: Dynamic and passionate driving has a new name at Opel: Insignia OPC. It’s a 2.8 V6 turbo powerhouse with 239 kW/325 hp and a massive 435 Nm of torque making it Opel’s most powerful production car of all time.

Opel has packed the Insignia OPC with extra high-tech features. It is the first Opel in Australia to offer adaptive all-wheel drive and an electronic rear limited slip differential as standard. Its FlexRide damping system is specially tuned to give OPC drivers a more active driving experience. For the driver and front passenger the Insignia OPC offers RecaroŽ front seats with four-way lumbar support and cushion extension. They are first high performance seats in the industry to receive the most coveted seal of excellence from the independent orthopedic experts from Aktion Gesunder Rücken (Action for Healthy Backs).

In addition to its turbocharged performance, the car carries a striking OPC exclusive design with tiger tooth-shaped air intakes in the front bumper, rocker panels, an integrated rear spoiler and specially designed 19-inch OPC wheels. Satin chrome finishes and expressive dual exhaust pipes integrated into the rear bumper add to the appeal.

Inside, designers created a sporty dressing, with a dark headliner, a special shifter and a flat-bottomed, performance steering wheel. The instrument panel illuminates red when drivers press the OPC button on their FlexRide system, putting the car in its feistiest mood.

Chassis: Sporty and safe driving
The Insignia OPC specific mechatronic chassis features a new front suspension architecture that improves ride and handling performance and provides the sharper steering one expects in a high performance car.

Opel OPC engineers significantly evolved the McPherson strut from the standard Insignia to create the new HiPerStrut (for High Performance Strut) front suspension architecture that improves grip and increases cornering power. This architecture uses the same body attachment points as the standard McPherson suspension, but reduces kingpin inclination to nine degrees, and shortens the spindle length to 44mm.

The reduced inclination of the kingpin means less camber loss while cornering and thereby improved grip level, with increased cornering power and enhanced cornering linearity. The shorter spindle length significantly reduces torque steer reactions, sensitivity to road shakes and tyre flops. Furthermore, the Insignia OPC uses specific stiffer bushings and springs. To reach the best balance, the anti-roll bar has been softened in the front and stiffened in the rear in comparison to the Insignia sedan.

High-tech Brembo braking system
The braking system has been substantially upgraded considering the higher performance of the Insignia OPC. OPC engineers and the Italian specialist BremboŽ have designed a 18” brake booster solution with larger ventilated and cross-drilled 355 x 32 mm discs and 4-piston callipers in the front. The Insignia OPC also uses special high performance brake pads.

Called the “co-cast floating brake disc”, the originality of the system developed by BremboŽ is due to the fact that the discs are made of two materials: A cast iron brake rotor is mounted to an aluminium disc bell, thus combining the advantages of heat resistance from cast iron with the lightweight properties of aluminium. Overall, the brakes feature improved temperature resistance in the event of repeated braking and performance feedback during temporary long braking. In addition, weighing 5.2 kg, the OPC front calliper is 2.5 kg lighter than the standard Insignia. Furthermore, the weight gain for the front discs reaches 1.4 kg per disc (9.8 vs 11.2 kg). The lighter weight enables a reduction of unsprung mounted mass, increasing agility, steering and handling precision.

After intensive testing on public roads and at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, engineers from the Opel Performance Centre in Rüsselsheim selected Pirelli P Zero 245/40 tyres, which are fitted to specific flow formed 19-inch wheels. An optional upgrade with 255/35 units is available on forged 20-inch wheels.

OPC-tuned FlexRide suspension allows adaptation from sport to sportier to OPC
The Insignia OPC comes with the FlexRide electronic system which adapts damping and other driving functions to drivers’ preferences.

In the Insignia OPC, one can choose between three different modes, with each mode offering a unique experience of performance driving in a specific way. The Standard mode delivers ideal all-round performance combined with preserved comfort characteristics for everyday driving. In the Sport mode, the chassis suspension stiffens and reduces body roll for more agility. The OPC mode invites to the ultimate experience: Steering gets more direct, the throttle more responsive and the chassis settings focus on optimal efficiency while dials illuminate in red. The OPC mode also activates two sub-modes: The “bump sub-mode” further stiffens the damping, ensuring that the wheels retouch the road instantly after hitting a bump for optimal control. And the “roll regulation sub-mode,” which further reduces body roll for ultimate agility.

The Adaptive 4x4 system and an electronic rear limited slip differential (eLSD) are standard. The four-wheel drive management unit has been recalibrated to adapt torque distribution to the sporty philosophy of the OPC.

Performance seats: Sporty and comfortable
The Insignia OPC front seats embody the essence of a high performance car, matching Opel’s commitment and expertise to optimal ergonomics and Recaro’s world-class know-how in manufacturing sport and racing seats.

The high performance front seat in the Insignia OPC borrows many features from motorsport racing without compromising on comfort or quality. Opel seat engineers replaced the traditional suspension system of the seat back and seat cushion with thermoplastic Ultramid shells. Their racing-like contour is made possible by the use of injected moulded Polyamid. This manufacturing process, first introduced by Opel for the Corsa OPC, has been a major technological breakthrough in the industry. The seat remains solid and rigid – an important safety requirement – but the changes also make the seat stiffer, giving the ride a sporty feel.

The high performance seat sits 15mm lower than in other Insignia models. Because it is lower to the floor, it provides more thigh support. Still, the same comfortable, high density foam used in other Insignia seats is also used in the high performance front seat.

The RecaroŽ seat hints at the kind of seat used by racing drivers. The head rest is integrated into the body of the seat. Tiger tooth décors embedded in the shoulder are the designers’ nod to the exit points on typical six-point racing belts. They also echo the tiger incisors seen on the air inlets of the front bumpers.

However changes made on the OPC high performance seat are not simply cosmetic: They also help supports drivers’ backs and, simply, make the seat more comfortable. They are safer, too, because airbags have been integrated into the sides of the seats. The integrated head restraint means that the adjustment can’t be incorrectly placed.

The Opel Insignia OPC high performance seats have one of the industry’s best adjustment ranges, including a height adjustment range of 65mm and a length adjustment range of 270mm, allowing all drivers and passengers to find their ideal seating position. The driver also benefits from a steering wheel adjustment in height and depth.

The Insignia OPC high performance seats also have improved tilt adjustment, including superior side support, ergonomic seat contours and supporting foam pads. Equipped with the cushion extension and four-way power lumbar support, the OPC front seats received the much coveted seal of approval from Aktion Gesunder Rücken (AGR or Action for Healthy Backs). The seats are also fully power adjustable with two-position memory for the driver.

Opel was the first automotive company to receive the special distinction from independent ergonomic experts for its high performance front seats: The AGR group is a German non-profit organisation of doctors and chiropractors who certify a wide variety of items from mattresses to office chairs designed to be healthy for backs.