The sporty VXR version of Vauxhall's well-received Insignia will go on sale in September with prices starting at £30,995. Saloon, hatchback and estate versions will be available.
That might seem a bit steep for a mid-range Vauxhall, but the VXR packs a lot of extra power and technology compared with the standard version; its 2.8 litre turbocharged engine turns out 325 horsepower, enough to get the VXR to 60mph in 5.6 seconds. Top speed is artificially limited to 155mph.
Vauxhall has played it safe and given the Insignia VXR a full four-wheel drive set-up, honed over thousands of miles of testing at Germany's Nurbürgring, to handle all the power; Ford's similarly rapid Focus RS makes do with front-wheel drive and a lot of electronics to keep things under control.
Vauxhall has been selling sporty VXR versions of most of its mainstream models since 2003, and they have been very popular with British buyers. Some of the magic generated by Vauxhall's VXR8 – a big V8 muscle car that is really a rebadged import from GM's Australian Holden operation – has clearly been rubbing off on the company's lesser models as well.