We were already envious of the European countries that got the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, now with the OPC makeover, we’re down right jealous as the sleek sedan gets go-fast looks and a new turbocharger. For those not familiar: BMW has M and Mercedes has AMG, so Opel has OPC (Opel Performance Center).
The heart of the Insigina OPC takes the 2.6-liter V6 engine already used in the sedan, and then adds a turbo and a new exhaust system. This jumps the output from 260 hp to 325 hp. The sedan now has a 0 to 60 mph time of about six seconds, and top speed is limited (at least in Germany) to 155 mph.
What is seen on the OPC package is the new front bumper and body kit, as well as 19-inch or optional lightweight 20- inch wheels. Working behind the scenes on this Insignia is the Adaptive 4x4 system, electronic rear limited slip differential (eLSD), new front axle, and Brembo brakes. The suspension is adjustable for three modes: Normal, Sport and OPC.
Press release after the jump
The high performance version of the Car of the Year 2009 will be unveiled on May 7, when the Opel Insignia OPC premieres at the Barcelona Motor Show, ten years after the launch of the first OPC model (Opel Performance Center).
The heart of the Insignia OPC is its 2.8 V6 Turbo engine. Derived from the powerful gasoline engine already available on the top-of-the-line Insignia, this version reaches an output of 239 kW/325 hp. The increase in power was obtained by a special engine development and by reworking the exhaust, significantly reducing the counter pressure. And because sound is so important in the appreciation of an engine, the acoustic specialists worked on the exhaust of the V6 by adopting specific center and rear mufflers.
The Insignia OPC is available with a six-speed manual gearbox. The strong torque of 400 Nm ensures abundant pulling power even at lower engine speeds. With this engine performance, the Insignia OPC reaches a top speed of 250 km/h (restricted) and sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in six seconds.
The already very well performing Insignia chassis was further fine tuned for the OPC variant which ride height has been reduced by 10 mm compared to the Insignia (AWD Sport version). The newly developed mechatronic chassis also receives a new front axle. The front suspension architecture of the Insignia OPC retains a so called McPherson strut, however the engineers at the Opel Performance Center came up with an evolution called HiPerStrut (for high performance strut). Benefits are an improved steering feel, reduced steering disturbances due to the high torque and an enhanced feeling in the handling for the driver.
The Insignia OPC also comes with the adaptive FlexRide suspension which not only adapts to driving situation and driving style but also to the driver’s preferences. While on the Insignia the system offers the choice between a standard adaptive setting, a more comfortable mode and a sport mode, the OPC is definitely addressing those enjoying a sportier ride. OPC drivers can choose between three different sport modes: the standard mode as the high comfort setting, a special Sport mode and the OPC mode, for optimal performance.
For the first time also in the OPC portfolio, the Adaptive 4x4 system and its 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. Taking the higher performances of the OPC into consideration, significant development efforts were put into further improving the brake system. Connoisseurs will immediately spot the Brembo calipers and the perforated 355 mm disc on the front axle.
“I was personally involved in the development of the Insignia OPC and I very much enjoyed extensive testing on the most demanding race track of the world, the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Our target was to rival the “best of the best”,” said Hans Demant, Managing Director Adam Opel GmbH.
Distinctive looks are a clear statement on dynamic ambitions
The top-of-the-line body style dressed in an elegant sports outfit is inspired by the GTC concept car which starred in 2007, but still remains true to the Insignia’s design philosophy of sculptural artistry meets German precision.
Compared to less powerful versions of the Insignia, the OPC shows a spectacular new front end with two large vertical intakes and a specific rear bumper with dual integrated exhausts. The 19-inch wheels (tires: 245/40) are standard and give the car the stance it deserves. New 20-inch lightweight forged wheels (with 255/35 tires) are available as an option.
The dynamic sportiness of the exterior is also mirrored in the cockpit. When opening the door, the OPC is immediately impressive, from unique Recaro seats to a flat-bottomed sporty steering wheel and specific gear knob. The OPC also presents distinctive instrument graphics.
“The Insignia OPC marks the beginning of a new era for our OPC portfolio; still bold, but also more mature and refined, and more ambitious than ever. The OPC epitomizes the Insignia experience: dynamic and refined”, says Alain Visser, GM Europe Vice President Opel.
With 239 kW/325 horsepower and 435 Nm torque, the 2.8 liter V6 Turbo engine on the new Insignia OPC is the most powerful motor installed in an Opel production car ever.
The Insignia OPC sedans reach a top speed of 250 km/h (restricted) and sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in six seconds. Elasticity is also remarkable: In fifth gear, the car accelerates from 80 to 120 km/h in only 7.1 seconds. The OPC 2.8 V6 Turbo comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. To obtain optimal performance, engineers slightly shortened the final drive ratio from 3.76 to 3.90:1.
Compared with the standard 2.8 liter V6 Turbo, the OPC engine variant has 25 percent more power and nine percent more torque. Engineers did this by re-calibrating the Bosch-Motronic engine management unit, increasing the turbo boost pressure to 0.9 bar and reducing the back pressure in the exhaust system by 50 percent (from 160-170 to
Developed by the specialist Remus, the stainless steel exhaust system is 20 percent lighter than the standard unit. Because sound is also important in the appreciation of an engine, the acoustic specialists composed for the Insignia OPC a deep exhaust melody on the center and rear mufflers. The Insignia OPC takes advantage of the Lex Ferrari rule on pass-by-noise: This amendment in the European regulation allows performance cars over 140 kW output and 75 kW/ ton to produce one extra decibel. When the high performance car passes by, its V6 Turbo motor can be appreciated at 75 decibels, compared with 74 decibels on the Insignia Sport trim level.
High Tech V6 Turbo
The 2.8 V6 Turbo OPC engine boasts a wide array of high-tech features: A classical cylinder angle of 60 degrees and double overhead camshafts per cylinder bank driven by double chains; variable valve control for inlet and outlet; and a four-bearing crankshaft of micro-alloy forged steel - a material commonly used in race cars. The advanced construction of the V6 includes details such as friction-reducing, coated pistons. These are provided with hard-anodized ring grooves for longer life, run in cast iron sleeves and are cooled by oil spray. State-of-the-art design is also made from sinter-forged steel conrods, the outlet valves are filled with sodium for improved cooling and the oil sump is die-cast in aluminum for extra structural rigidity.
Operating with a 9.5:1 compression ratio, the engine has a single, twin-scroll MHI turbocharger. This intercooled unit is installed centrally above the transmission. It has an integrated charge air control valve and feeds the engine with up to 0.9 bar boost pressure, compared with 0.6 bar in the 260 hp variant. The turbine wheel is made of a high-grade special steel alloy. Due to the twin-scroll design, both banks of cylinders feed the turbine uniformly. Separate channels – one for each cylinder bank – separate the exhaust gas pulses. This keeps energy-related losses of the turbocharger low, while benefiting exhaust gas flow and operating efficiency.
The continuously variable, electronically controlled and hydraulically activated phasing of the inlet and exhaust camshafts ensures a rapid throttle response and strong torque, even at low engine speeds. Both camshafts can be turned within a range of 50 degrees relative to the crankshaft in order to adapt the valve control times, and thus the charge cycle, to the prevailing engine load and speed. Both the inlet and outlet shafts are made of high-strength aluminum, which makes them especially lightweight, heat-resistant and durable.
In addition to the quick response behavior of the turbocharger, the rapid but smooth build-up of engine power is mainly due to the 32-bit Bosch-Motronic (ME 9.6) engine management system. The control unit’s software was specially adapted to the Insignia OPC and regulates all key functions such as ignition timing, fuel injection via OPC-specific injectors with higher flow rates, turbo boost pressure, airflow measurement and throttle valve position.
The exhaust manifolds have double walls, with the innermost made of hydro-formed stainless steel. This reduces exhaust emissions after a cold start because the manifold absorbs less heat. In addition, air is blown into the manifold for up to 30 seconds after a cold start so that the upstream catalytic converter provides a quicker response.
The Opel Insignia is the first OPC model to offer adaptive all-wheel drive with an electronic rear limited slip differential. In addition, the FlexRide damping system has been tuned to offer the driver the performance expected from the top-of-the-line Insignia OPC.
The OPC variant of the 2009 Car of the Year further builds on the all-new chassis that was designed for the Insignia. To be true to Opel OPC’s level of performance, the highly praised Insignia chassis benefits from specific, high tech developments and refinements.
“I was personally involved in the development of the Insignia OPC. Our target was to rival the “best of the best”, and I very much enjoyed extensive testing on the most demanding race track in the world, the Nürburgring Nordschleife,” says Hans Demant, Managing Director, Adam Opel GmbH.
New front suspension improves ride and handling with sharp steering feel
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. The most visible change is the ride height, which is 10 mm lower than the Insignia AWD Sport. But most changes are not visible to the naked eye.
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 from 13° to 9°, and shortens the spindle length from 67 mm to 44 mm.
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 tire flops.
Furthermore, the Insignia OPC uses specific stiffer bushings and springs. To reach the best balance, the anti-roll bar has been softened by 13.9% in the front (26.8 x 4 mm vs 28 x 4 mm in the Insignia Sport) and stiffened by 9.3% in the rear (28 x 4 mm vs 26 x 4 mm), compared to the Insignia Sport.
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 Brembo designed an 18” brake booster solution (17” in the Insignia Sport) with larger ventilated and cross-drilled 355 x 32 mm discs (337 x 30 mm in the Insignia Sport) and 4-piston calipers in the front. The Insignia OPC also uses special high performance brake pads.
Called “co-cast floating brake disc”, the originality of the system developed by Brembo is due to the fact that the discs are made of two materials: A cast iron brake rotor is mounted to an aluminum disc bell, thus combining the advantages of heat resistance from cast iron with the lightweight properties of aluminum. 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 caliper is 2.5 kg lighter than the standard unit in the Sport version. 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 Center in Rüsselsheim selected Pirelli P Zero 245/40 tires, which are fitted to specific flow formed 19” wheels. An optional upgrade with 255/35 units is available on forged 20” wheels.
OPC-tuned FlexRide suspension allows adaptation from sport to sportier to WOW
The Insignia OPC comes with the FlexRide electronic system which adapts damping and other driving functions to drivers’ preferences. While FlexRide in the standard Insignia offers the choice between a standard adaptive setting, a more comfortable Tour mode and a Sport mode, the system in the Insignia OPC deliberately addresses those who enjoy a sportier ride.
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.
Also for the first time in an OPC car, an 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.
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.
At first glance, the High Performance Front Seat in the Insignia OPC evokes excitement. It borrows many features from sport racing without compromising on comfort or quality. This is particularly important because seats are the essential interface between driver and machine.
Opel seat engineers replaced the traditional suspension system of the seat back and seat cushion with thermoplastic Ultramid shells. Their fancy, racing-like contour is made possible by the use of injected molded 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 15 mm 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 Insignia OPC High Performance Front Seat is perfect for the sporty, ambitious driver who doesn’t want to compromise on safety, comfort or ergonomics,” says Armin Rossmann, Group Leader, High Performance Front Seats at Opel. “OPC drivers want to have excellent support through curvy country roads or when they privately drive on a race track. Our seats are great for that: They stabilize the body high up when the car is driving at high speeds.”
The Recaro 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.
Still, 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 wrong.
The Opel Insignia OPC High Performance seats have the industry’s best adjustment ranges, including a height adjustment range of 65 mm and a length adjustment range of 270 mm, allowing all drivers and passengers to find their ideal seating position. The driver also benefits from a steering wheel adjustment in height and depth.
Moreover, 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 4-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).
Opel is 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 organization of doctors and chiropractors who certify a wide variety of items from mattresses to office chairs designed to be healthy for backs.
Opel Performance Center cars demonstrate just how much sporty potential and technological expertise are packed into the brand’s top line vehicles. The latest additions to the portfolio – the Opel Insignia OPC sedans and Sports Tourer – bring this philosophy to the next level, offering mature power and refined efficiency.
OPC cars are distinct, an expression of pure passion for driving, for automobiles, for the love of motor sport. OPC versions evoke emotion and allow Opel to demonstrate its expertise in driving dynamics and high performance.
The proof of the OPC portfolio’s success is in its sales. The first OPC car, an Astra 2.0 liter with naturally aspirated engine developing 118 kW/160 hp, sold out all 3,000 limited edition units within four months when it was launched in 1999. Since then more than 50,000 of these high performance cars have been sold in a variety of models, ranging from Corsa OPC to Zafira OPC.
Opel proved that performance and monocabs don’t have to be boring. Opel was the first brand to offer a high performance variant on a van when it launched a 2-liter Turbo Zafira OPC with 192 hp in 2001. More than 12,000 units of that sporty Zafira generation were sold.
The most popular OPC car last year was the Corsa OPC, with its 1.6-liter Turbo engine and 141 kW/192 hp. This powerful small car accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds and can hit a top speed of 225 km/h. The maximum torque of up to 266 Nm with overboost is delivered to the front wheels by a standard six-speed transmission.
At home in the Green Hell
In the last five years, OPC vehicles have broken a string of records on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife 20.8 km track. The Astra OPC did it first in 8:35:94 in 2005. The Zafira OPC still holds the title fastest van for its 8:54:38 time made in 2006. Last but not least, the Corsa OPC holds the title for small car: 8:47:99 in a standard production model driven by Manuel Reuter in 2007. Moreover, all OPC cars have passed rigorous endurance tests on the Green Hell, considered the toughest and most demanding race track in the world.
In fact, the Nordschleife is Opel territory. It is the spot where Opel cars have endured their most rigorous testing since the 1960s. Three years ago, the Rüsselsheim automaker signed a partner contract with the legendary race track and opened its own test center directly at the ring.
It is the ideal test spot for all Opel products – and the toughest for OPC models: The Insignia OPC underwent 10,000 kilometers of endurance testing there and passed with no faults.
Three ways to get that exhilarating OPC experience
To ensure driving skills match the car’s performance, Opel offers exclusive one-day OPC performance training seminars to private customers at the Opel test center in Dudenhofen, Germany. Led by two-time Le Mans champion Manuel Reuter, drivers have a chance to hone their skills and discover the true potential of their OPC cars.
OPC cars have (often) been the object of many drivers’ dreams. For the last two years, Opel has run an Astra OPC Race Camp, a wildly successful race driver casting competition in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The OPC Race Camp offers ambitious drivers with no motor sport experience the chance to test and develop their racing talent during rigorous training sessions and numerous elimination rounds.
Currently 100 candidates remain from a total of 22,000 applicants. The candidates are taking part in the second year of the program led by Manuel Reuter and Joachim Winkelhock. Each hopes to land one of the 10 coveted spots on the driver team for the two Astra racing cars that participate in the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring next year.
Last but not least, for those drivers who want to pimp their ride on their current Opel cars, the brand has offered OPC Line packages since 2004 created by the same Opel designers in charge of all OPC models that include such items as rocker moldings and a rear spoiler.