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Opel Oz gives big tick to more hot OPC models

Holden at heart: Opel’s Insignia OPC uses a Holden-made V6, turbocharged to 239kW.

High-performance Insignia and Corsa variants to bring Opel’s OPC range to three

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Opel logo12 Dec 2012

HOLDEN’S fire-breathing 2.8-litre turbocharged V6 export engine is set to boomerang back to Australia in Opel’s flagship Insignia OPC from March next year.

Opel Australia today confirmed that the hottest Insignia – boasting 239kW of power and 435Nm of torque – will join the local line-up that opened for business across Australia in September.

General Motors’ European subsidiary also announced that the Corsa OPC hot hatch will join the Australian range at the same time, giving Opel a three-pronged OPC attack with the fiery 206kW Astra GTC OPC that was confirmed at the Australian International Motor Show for a February debut.

No pricing for the Insignia OPC has been foreshadowed, but expect it to be north of the most expensive current Insignia on offer in Australia, the $48,990 diesel Sports Tourer Select.

Like BMW’s M or Mercedes-Benz’s AMG, OPC (Opel Performance Centre) is the German-based company’s high performance sub-brand.

The LP9 V6 engine of the Insignia OPC is a variant of the global V6 made at Holden’s Port Melbourne engine plant.

The blown engine has been shipped to Germany to be fitted to the Opel car for European consumption since 2009 when Insignia was named European Car of the Year.

The engine is not available in the locally built Commodore and Caprice ranges, which use normally aspirated 3.0- and 3.6-litre versions.

However, the turbo engine was previously sold here in the now-defunct Saab 9-5 and 9-3.

The Insignia OPC – sold in Britain as the Vauxhall Insignia VRX – can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in 6.3 seconds, two tenths of a second slower than the 6.0-litre V8 Commodore SS and one-tenth slower than BMW’s 2.0-litre turbo 328i.

While the European version was released with a choice of six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions, only the automatic will be offered here.

Forced induction will be supplied by a single, twin-scroll turbocharger with variable valve control for quick throttle response.

Unlike the four-cylinder powered, front-drive Insignias already offered into Australia, the performance version gets all-wheel drive to cope with the grunt.

This Haldex system comes courtesy of GM cast-off Saab, which developed it for its 9-5 and other models built on the same GM Epsilon II platform as the Insignia.

Opel Australia says the Insignia’s bespoke chassis – tested at the Nurburgring – includes its torque-steer-taming HiPerStrut front suspension design that also delivers negative camber in corners for superior handling.

Nineteen-inch alloy wheels will be standard, with 20-inch forged alloys optional. Braking will be courtesy of Brembo.

Externally, the OPC version will be distinguished by a deeper bumper with three mesh grille openings at the front and a rear spoiler and dual matt-chrome exhausts at the back.

Inside, OPC fittings include Recaro sports seats, black headlining, sports steering wheel, OPC gearknob and special instrument graphics and sill plates.

The three-door Opel Corsa OPC hatch gets GM’s hottest 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine belting out 141kW of power and 260Nm of torque with overboost.

This model will bump heads with the existing Volkswagen Polo GTI (132kW), Skoda Fabia RS (132kW) and upcoming Ford Fiesta (132kW) and Renault Clio RS (149kW).

Although no pricing for the new Corsa OPC has been indicated, the Polo GTI’s $27,790 (plus on-roads) price tag provide a hint at the pricing region for the Opel hatch flagship that currently tops out at $18,990 for the five-door 1.4-litre turbo Enjoy.

Compared with the standard Corsa models, the OPC will be lowered and ride on bigger 17-inch alloy wheels.

Like other OPC models, the Corsa will get Brembo brakes, sports suspension and Recaro sports seats.

A body kit will include a rear roof spoiler, while Corsa-exclusive features will include adaptive forward lighting, rear park assist and daytime running lamps.

OPC touches in the cabin will include special floor mats, door sill plates and leather-wrapped sports steering wheel.

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