While we’re still waiting for the Buick Regal GS to arrive, the Opel Insignia OPC, its bigger brother over in Europe, just got faster with a new ‘Unlimited’ version that increases the top speed from 249 km/h (155 mph) to 270 km/h (167 mph).
And to ensure ‘Unlimited’ buyer’s drive their higher-speed Insignia’s with more confidence, Opel is including an OPC performance driving training session on Opel’s proving grounds in Dudenhofen.
The ‘Unlimited’ edition adds to the Insignia OPC's already long list of bragging rights it carries over the Regal GS. While both are based on General Motor’s Epsilon II platform, are offered with a six-speed manual and share many parts and design cues, we can’t quite call them clones, namely because of powertrain differences. The Regal GS is front-wheel drive and powered by GM’s direct-injected turbo inline-four engine rated at 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, while the Insignia OPC gets all-wheel drive and a beefier turbo six-cylinder engine that puts out 325 hp and 314 lb-ft. The Buick needs about 7 seconds to get to 0-60 mph and the Opel does it in 6.3 seconds.
We’ve tried to rationalize those differences by saying that Regal will be the better car with its lighter front end that will reward us with better driving dynamics. But the Insignia delivers a 1-2 knockout punch by offering a hatchback and a sexy, cargo-hauling station wagon variant. Currently, Cadillac’s CTS and CTS-V are the only wagons GM offers here in the States, though a Buick Regal wagon prototype has been spied driving around Detroit. There’s also a small chance that the new Malibu (also based on the Epsilon II chassis) will be offered with a station wagon variant, according to a comment by General Motors’ North American President Mark Reuss who said it was an “interesting idea.” In the meantime, we’ll gladly take the Regal GS and hope for more goodies out of GM’s U.S. product pipeline in the form of a wagon and a 5-door hatchback. The previous generation Mazda6 was offered in the States as a sedan, wagon and 5-door hatch, but the last two variants never caught on. We can't say if GM would have better success, but it's definitely worth a shot.