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Why Insignia OPC has the pull if you have the money

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The Insignia OPC

The Insignia OPC

The Insignia has an impressive display

The Insignia has an impressive display

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The Insignia OPC

A bit of 'pull' is never any harm whether you're looking for a job - or driving a car. Many a one got a good position because daddy or Uncle Pat knew someone and could put in the good word.

Thankfully it's not quite that simple in motoring because the merits of the car can be laid bare in clinical fashion for all to see.

'Pull' in motoring is called torque (pulling power, or more correctly turning power - like the force you exert to turn a nut with a wrench).

And in everyday driving it can be the difference between you incessantly changing gears to get the car back up to speed, or enjoying that feeling of a motor digging deep into reserves to do so for you.

Now, without getting all technical, this pulling power is measured in a specific way so you can compare one car with another.

I'm not going into that but it is the true heart-and-muscle of a vehicle.

It's a wonderful sensation when you notice it in a good motor and a badly missed trait in many a pitiful effort.

Anyway, trust me when I say this Opel Insignia OPC SuperSport 5dr hatch had loads of it (435Nm is a lot).

As you may know, OPC is the name given to performance cars within the Opel stable. This justifies its inclusion not just on torque and 325bhp, it also had all-wheel-drive for traction and grip.

I was probably so preoccupied with the technical bits and pieces, including that wonderful 2.8-litre V6 petrol turbo, Brembo front brakes that I missed something else altogether.

I was aware of its strong, red colour, OPC sill plates, alloy pedals, Recaro sports front seats but I didn't see it as being outlandishly different from your 'ordinary' Insignia.

Yet I began to notice (I'm slow on the update - low on torque) the number of people who stopped, looked and gave the 'eyebrows up' or 'thumbs up'.

It has been quite a while since a car I'd been driving attracted that much notice.

One senior executive and I had a right old chat through the open windows of our respective cars as we waited for the lights to change on Anglesea Road opposite Paddy Cullen's (they take a long time).

He was correct in saying we don't see too many of these. Ah! he was raving about it. There is a boy racer in us all.

On the highways and byways it was a wonderful drive; quick, smooth, direct, sure-footed and an absolute joy to feel the way it pulled from low-revs in mid gears.

I like the cabin in the current Insignia a lot. It is large, roomy and the dash is uncluttered. The infotainment system has reduced the number of buttons to a minimum and apart from a farcical voice-control interchange with the sat nav it managed to do everything else I asked of it.

The driving position is one that perhaps one or two of the posher performance names might consider studying in greater details.

Here were seats that I could set to support lower back, thighs and shoulders. I could drive it all day.

Well, I couldn't. Reality intruded.

My Anglesea Road acquaintance was correct in saying we don't see too many of these. One of the reasons for such rare sightings is price.

Merciful Lord this costs €53,000 - the one I had on test a whopping €58,000 or so.

And while it had that velvet smooth V6 petrol, it also applied a steady pull to the fuel gauge.

Maybe if the OPC had one of those posher names on the bonnet or bootlid, we might see more of it.

I think it deserves a wider audience because it is, in itself, a grand piece of work though I shudder to think at the initial outlay, running costs and potential value in three years.

If you have a nice few euro set aside and are as enthusiastic as my Anglesea Road man, this is, despite the sum involved, a lot of car and technology for the money.

But, somehow I think most of the rest of us would need more than pull to get our bank manager to hand over €52,000 for this.

I am fairly convinced now that most of us can't park. I'm no great shakes myself so don't go thinking I'm talking down my nose at anyone.

But I've just spent the morning in a shopping centre car park in Meath. And I've spent a good deal of the afternoon in its Dublin suburban equivalent (don't ask why).

Indeed, I'm writing this on my laptop in the car while awaiting the arrival of one shopper especially. Honestly, people are honking horns and being pig-headed about getting out of the way to let people reverse out.

The world is badly divided between those who can park (30pc, I'd say) and those who couldn't place a two-cent coin on Croke Park without bumping into the Hogan stand.

I'm away in a minute but can I leave you with the thought that we probably need a more rigorous and realistic parking test for drivers? The stress some people endure - those parking and those watching that their car isn't hit - is shocking and needs redressing.

Opel Insignia OPC 5dr 2.8-litre V6 (325bhp), 4X4, 6spd

Model tested: €58,253. Base OPC 2.8i €53,495. Insignia range starts from €24,995.

Top speed 250kmh, 0-100 kmh in six seconds.

Fuel economy: 10.6litres/100km; emissions are 249g/km which means a road tax €2,350 a year.

Standard equipment includes: FlexRide chassis, adaptive 4x4, Brembo front brakes, OPC sports instruments with colour information display, steering wheel with audio controls, IntelliLink sat nav with

8ins colour touchscreen, voice control DMB digital radio, Bluetooth, CD/MP3 CD player with USB and aux-in, electronic climate control, rain-sensitive wipers and automatic lights, cruise control, AFL xenon headlights with high-pressure washers, 19ins V-spoke alloys with 245/40 R 19 ultra-low profile tyres.

 

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