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GM unveils versatile Opel Insignia Sports Tourer

by Drew Johnson

General Motors took to the stage at the Paris Motor Show to show off a high-capacity variant of its new Opel Insignia. Dubbed the Sports Tourer, the five-door is a wagon bodystyle with a large hatch door and extended capacity. Based on the GM Epsilon II architecture that will soon underpin a wide variety of GM vehicles, the Insignia Sports Tourer also replaces the long-running Vectra model for Europe and Australia.

Though the front sheet metal is identical to its sedan counterpart, GM says from the B-pillars on back, the wagon is completely unique. The wagon's wheelbase remains unchanged from the Insignia sedan, but it does gain an extra three inches in overall length.

The Insignia's new interior -- which will be carried over from the sedan -- is quite handsome and looks to be influenced by the Chevrolet Malibu's twin-cockpit design. Thanks to a longer wheelbase and wider track, the interior will also be roomier than its predecessor.

Underhood, the Insignia will offer customers a range of gasoline and diesel powerplants. Gas engines will range in displacement from 1.6L to 2.8L, with the range-topper being a 2.8L V6 with 260 horsepower. Opel will also offer different versions of its 2.0L diesel unit, ranging in power from 110 horsepower to 160. GM indicated that two new powerplants would be available in the Sports Tourer, but was mum on any details.

All engines will be mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Front wheel drive will be standard, but the Insignia will have an all-wheel drive option. Customers will also be able to choose between body styles -- a notch- or hatchback -- when the Insignia goes on sale in the UK this October.

The new Insignia has particular relevance to us in the U.S. as it will eventually show up on our shores as the next-generation Saturn Aura. Although the Sports Tourer has not been given the green light for U.S. consumption, it still remains in the realm of possibilities that it could wind up in U.S. showrooms -- especially given GM is adding a wagon to the Cadillac CTS line.

However, at the Paris Motor Show, Leftlane learned from a GM representative that the Insignia won't be brought over to North America as it stands today. Unlike the Saturn Astra, which is little more than a rebadged Opel/Vauxhall Astra, the next generation Aura will differ significantly from the Insignia. This Epsilon II architecture will also underpin the next versions of the Saab 9-5, Chevrolet Malibu and the replacement for the Buick LaCrosse.

Sports Tourer live images from Paris