These are the first undisguised shots of Vauxhall's Insignia, the replacement for the Vectra that is due to make its first public appearance at the London Motor Show in July.
They show a much bolder car than the Vectra, as Vauxhall attempts to ditch the stodgy image it has been saddled with for decades.
The Insignia retains much of the coupe-like profile of the GTC concept car from the 2007 Geneva motor show. It has a bold new chrome grille with a big, restyled Vauxhall badge.
The new car has concave sections in the front doors - what Vauxhall calls 'side blades' - and all versions will have lots of chrome trim. There will be wheels of up to 20 inches in diameter - and not just for the most sporty versions.
The Insignia is much longer and wider than the Vectra. At more than 4.8 metres, it is even longer than the Ford Mondeo, so it should be spacious inside.
Improvements in the look and quality of the interior reflect those on the outside. 'We've made big strides with our interiors recently, but the shapes could seem cold and sterile, so we set out to make this one inviting and embracing,' says design director Mark Adams.
The dash curves into the door panels, and its centre section is angled at 30 degrees to the vertical - as steep as can be built while still allowing owners to get CDs in and out.
There will be a choice of elegant or sporty interior finishes. Most models will have an electronic handbrake to de-clutter the centre console.
More to come
An optional Adaptive Forward Lighting system will give nine different light beam settings that automatically adjust themselves to cater for various driving conditions.
The chassis is said to help the car adapt to prevailing driving conditions. The Insignia will be offered with front-wheel and all-wheel drive.
The new four-wheel-drive system is claimed to be pro-active and instantly distributes the driving effort between front and rear to aid traction and handling.
The Insignia will be available with five engines at launch, with either manual or automatic six-speed gearboxes.
The three petrol engines range from a four-cylinder 138bhp unit to a V6 with 255bhp. Two new 2.0-litre diesels will be offered with power outputs of either 128 or 158bhp.
In time, the Insignia line-up will be extended with ultra-low CO2 and more powerful versions.
Four- and five-door cars go on sale in October, with an estate that will put the emphasis on style rather than volume to follow soon after.
'There will be a couple of other design interpretations,' Adams adds, so a coupe model is a possibility.
Little price increase
The Insignia should not cost a lot more than the Vectra. 'The challenge was to make a more premium-looking product while maintaining a similar price range,' Vauxhall says. 'It will be priced head-on with the competition.'
The new car will probably go on sale at the end of this year or early in 2009.
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