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Future models - Holden - Commodore

Opel rolls the video on Insignia in full flight

Holden Commodore fans get a glimpse of the future in ’Ring testing of Insignia

Holden logo24 Nov 2016

By RON HAMMERTON

OPEL has released footage of the new-generation Insignia – and next Holden Commodore – being put through its paces on Germany’s Nurburgring in testing of the new adaptive suspension system.

Called Flexride by Opel, the “always active” chassis has three modes – Standard, Sport and Tour – that adjust dampers, steering and powertrain automatically or via manual driver selection.

Holden has confirmed that the modern suspension system – a first for the Australian GM brand – will make it into the 2018 NG Commodore that will be closely based on the new Insignia made in Germany.

Holden has also confirmed that V6 Commodore variants will also get the active torque split four-wheel drive system – described by Opel as completely new – featured on the Insignia.

The videos show the camouflaged five-door liftback hatch – called Insignia Grand Tourer in Europe – being belted around the famous 21km Nordschleife section of the Nurburgring by GM Europe engineers headed by Insignia chief engineer Andreas Zipser.

“You can feel that the Insignia has been developed from a white sheet of paper as soon as you get into the car,” Mr Zipser is quoted as saying in a press release with the videos.

“The integration of the driver is outstanding and this provides a much better feel for the car. The Insignia has become much more agile, even with the same engine.”

Holden engineers, who have responsibility for the chassis settings of the 3.6-litre V6-powered variants, travelled to Germany for Nurburgring tests.

Curiously, one of three photographs of an Insignia prototype also released on the Opel media site appears to have gum trees in the background, just like those at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground.

Holden has two V6 prototypes under development at Lang Lang.

According to the Opel guff, the FlexRide’s Standard setting automatically selects the best set-up, based on information collected by vehicle sensors at 500 times a second.

Dampers are adjusted hydraulically, firming up under hard driving.

When the driver manually selects Tour mode, FlexRide not only backs off the dampers for a cruisier ride but also adjusts powertrain settings for fuel savings.

The Sport mode firms up the dampers for flatter cornering and less brake dive, while also sharpening throttle inputs and delaying gear up-changes in the automatic transmission.

As well, the Sport mode backs off the electronic stability control settings for later intervention to “give the driver more leeway”.

Although Opel did not spell out details, the Sport mode also can be customised by the driver for personal preferences.

Mr Zipster said the new central drive mode control software is the heart and soul of FlexRide, continuously analysing sensor information and optimising systems for the best traction and road position.

The Insignia is expected to be formally launched at the 2017 Geneva motor show in March ahead of a mid-year showroom debut in Europe and the UK.

The Commodore version, in both five-door liftback and wagon forms with a choice of 2.0-litre four-cylinder (petrol and diesel) and V6 petrol engines, will be launched in Australia in the first quarter of 2018.

Although the new vehicle is bigger than the current Insignia, it is slightly smaller and considerably lighter than the current locally built VFII Commodore.

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