Opel will be showing its new Insignia GSi business class sports sedan at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show and although it has not yet been confirmed for South Africa, there is a chance that it will be introduced here in 2018. If this is the case, the Insignia GSi will go head-to-head with the new Volkswagen Arteon, which is expected to arrive in the second half of 2018.
Earlier this year, General Motors announced its withdrawal from South Africa, leaving Opel’s future in Mzansi up in the air. It then came to light that Opel (recently acquired by Peugeot Citroen), would indeed remain in South Africa with distributorship and sales under the auspices of the Unitrans-owned Williams Hunt group as of 1 January 2018.
With Opel’s commitment to South Africa in tact, new products in the form of the new Crossland X crossover SUV (due later in 2017) and the Grandland X SUV (due in 2018) should keep potential buyers interested. However, the potential 2018 introduction of the Opel Insignia GSi may further serve as valuable brand-building tool as the Opel brand navigates through a tricky transition on the local market. Lest we forget that the GSi nameplate (synonymous with performance Opels of yesteryear) is held in high esteem/remembered with great reverence by throngs of Opel loyalists, especially hot hatch aficionados.
If it comes to South Africa, the Insignia GSi will compete in the shrinking business class sedan market where rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 do battle. It’s also where Volkswagen aims to make an impact with the arrival of the new Arteon “fastback” sedan, which replaces the outgoing Passat-based CC.
Opel Insignia GSi and Volkswagen Arteon bring fresh styling
The Insignia's design may be polarising, but perhaps the attention garnered from its potential local introduction may play in Opel's favour.
The all-wheel drive Opel Insignia GSi is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine that produces 191 kW and 400 Nm of torque. These figures are laid to the tar using a new 8-speed automatic transmission and the driver is also able to shift gears with manual shift paddles located behind the steering wheel.
In terms of design, the Insignia GSi features a sporty, lightweight design with large chrome air intakes up front and a rear spoiler which provides some extra downforce at speed. On the inside, sporty touches include integrated leather sports seats, leather sports steering wheel and aluminum pedals. The Insignia GSi rides on striking 20-inch wheels.
The stylish Arteon will bring some flair to the D-segment, offering a degree of agility, refinement and practicality.
As for the new Volkswagen Arteon, the local engine lineup is yet to be confirmed but we expect the range-topping 2.0-litre TSI engine with 206 kW to reach South Africa as well as a 130 kW 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. Both engine options will be mated to a 7-speed DSG transmission. The Arteon will also be offered with all-wheel drive.
As for the design, the Arteon’s grille with horizontal bars running into the headlights gives the car a wider presence while imbuing it with a sporty character, which is further achieved with flared wheel arches, sharp body lines and curvy hind quarters. On the inside, a roomy cabin with notable technology including Volkswagen’s Active Info Display and optional 9.2-inch Discover Pro infotainment system is to be offered. Watch a short video of the Arteon below.
Newcomers such as the Volkswagen Arteon and the possible introduction of the Opel Insignia GSi are unlikely to shake the foundations of established offerings from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, but they may very well steal a few critical sales that will put them on the map in an exclusive segment.
We will keep you updated as soon as more information regarding the Opel Insignia GSi or Volkswagen Arteon becomes available.