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On a wing...

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An article image
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At first glance, Vauxhall certainly seems to have done a great job.

There's a smart new coupe-themed look that eschews straight lines and concentrates on interesting surfaces.

Central to this is 'the wing': an indent leading backwards from the front doors.

Pay attention to this because 'the wing' crops up all over the place, from the door grabs to the front light clusters.

The finish of the interior is a definite step up, too, and Vauxhall is also on a mission to 'democratise technology', which basically means you'll be able to add features once unthinkable in a 16K fleet hack.

Browsing through the launch bumf, we sometimes had to remind ourselves this wasn't the new BMW 7 Series we were reading about, but a Vauxhall mid-sized hatch.

You can have an adaptive damping system called Flex-ride that lets you personalise several aspects of the car's responses, variable lighting that gives nine beam settings and speed recognition and display.

The BMW's four-wheel steering isn't available, but four-wheel drive is.

Power options, for now, consist of a 138bhp 1.8, a 218bhp 2.0-litre turbo, a 258bhp 2.8 V6 turbo and 138 or 158bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesels.

It won't stop at that. Six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes are standard, and there are five trim options.

This multiplicity of engines, gearboxes and drive systems, plus two different suspensions (a standard arrangement and a firmer and lower alternative on the UK-only SRi, both available with Flex-drive) theoretically gives a huge amount of variability in how you can make the car drive.