It seems that good ideas have a tendency to propagate quickly through the automotive industry. We remember a time when only the Audi A8 had a touchpad that let you draw letters, instead of typing them, and made navigation more interesting (and probably easier too, though we’ve not tried any such system and cannot say for sure).
Now, though, you can get the same basic setup in an increasing number of vehicles, and not all are from the premium sector. For instance, Opel/Vauxhall is presenting its updated Insignia range at the Frankfurt motor show, and aside from the styling changes and new engines, they’re also announcing an ‘infotainment revolution,’ which handily enough includes a laptop-like touchpad/trackpad as part of the new IntelliLink system.
They say it’s “ergonomically integrated in the center console and offers a completely new way of quickly and intuitively accessing the infotainment system. Its touch-sensitive surface reacts immediately to finger movements, vibrating lightly to give noticeable haptic feedback and making operation of the new infotainment generation child’s play without distracting the driver from the traffic situation. Even individual letters.”
Moreover, the new range of engines includes two new turbocharged gasoline units, with 168 hp and 246 hp respectively, as well as an updated version of the familiar two-liter unit that puts out 138 hp and uses just 3.7 l/100 km on the combined cycle. There’s also the new Country Tourer version, which is Opel’s answer to the VW Passat Alltrack and other all-wheel drive estate cars that come with all-wheel drive – the Skoda Superb estate 4×4 is another direct competitor too…
Finally, all of the tech and styling updates have been carried over to the hot OPC (VXR in the UK) model, and the turbocharged V6 engine is carried over unchanged, along with surefooted all-wheel drive. Performance is still good, with 100 km/h (62 mph) coming up in 6 seconds dead (6.3 for the estate/wagon), and a top speed of 270 km/h (168 mph).
By Andrei Nedelea