With a completely new face and other new design details inside and out, the new Vectra and Signum models are real eye-catchers. Both models now have a more striking, sportier look. The distinctive new face, which also has an exceptionally low drag coefficient of 0.28, expresses the superb driving dynamics and bold design for which Vauxhall has become renowned. The enhanced interior is defined by a high-quality look and feel.The most distinctive feature of the new models is the newly designed front end – a further development of Vauxhall’s dynamic design. Further distinctive characteristics are the newly-formed bumper and three-dimensional headlamps, which stretch into the bonnet. With their cylindrical, chrome-coloured lamp units behind clear glass, the headlamps are the eye-catching highlight of the front of the Vectra and Signum.Other distinctive features of New Vectra and Signum are sharper tapering of the front bumper, and the prominent grille. Designed as a stand-alone component, the distinctive Vauxhall ‘V’ is the dominant feature of the grille. The black lattice structure of the center and lower air-intakes, as well as the large side air-intakes with integrated fog lamps, emphasize the dynamic appearance of the front end.Signum differences add refinementThe designers focused on setting different accents to emphasize Signum’s unique place in the range. Vanes in the grille and in the center air-intake, which is mounted in a U-shaped chrome frame, and chrome-ringed fog lamps emphasize the vertical lines and communicate a discreet elegance. Redesigned side sills with shortened contours mark a further difference in the Signum’s styling. Together with the short rear overhang and wide C-pillar, they give New Signum a more harmonious and sportier look from the side, in spite of its long wheelbase of 2.83 meters. The sills are now colour-keyed too.Harmonious body linesPronounced wheel arches, large door handles and a high waistline define the characteristic shoulder line of New Signum and Vectra. Matched to this dynamic profile is the wide selection of wheels ranging from 16 up to 19-inches.There’s also the new ‘Structure’ wheel, which has all the visual appeal of an alloy, but is protected by a plastic cover, making it a hit with fleet buyers as it reduces resale refurbishment costs.At the rear, the distinctive stainless steel trim between the wrap-around light units and the lower edge of the tailgate adds exclusivity. And below the Signum’s rear window, which wraps around the rear of the car, a black panel between the two exhaust pipes underlines the vehicle’s sporty character when equipped with the 2.0 or 2.8-litre turbo engine.Stylish cockpit with new materials and coloursThe interior of the new Vectra and Signum is more than ever defined by a look of high quality. A superior finish is apparent not only in the materials used, but also in details such as the attractive leather-look grain in the top section of the instrument panel that flows into the door trim. The cockpit makes a lighter, more modern impression, thanks to the new contours of the instrument panel, the rounded corners of air vents and the chrome-edged controls on certain models.Redesigned inserts in wood, aluminum or carbon-look, a more sweeping instrument binnacle and a slimmer gear knob are also new. All models have new three-spoke steering wheels, that is designed to offer more comfort from the driving seat.
Class-leading aerodynamicsTop figures for aerodynamic quality are one of Vectra’s key successes. Consequently, the four and five-door models, with a drag coefficient of 0.28, are aerodynamically among the best models ever in this class – beneficial for low fuel consumption, and important for high-speed driving stability. At the same time, good figures are an advantage when it comes to refinement. The Vectra and Signum are among the quietest cars in the segment thanks to their low wind noise. A sophisticated sealing system on the windows, doors and exterior mirrors contributes to these excellent figures, and a sealing profile between A-pillar and the front windshield prevents wind noise in this area. It also reduces air resistance at this point and helps to keep the side windows free from dirt.‘The Vectra’s new look is a further development of the Vauxhall style’Interview: Eduardo Ramirez, Chief Designer, VectraWhat was your objective when designing the front end of the Vectra?It was very clear: to express more dynamics and sportiness with the new face in order to emphasize the character of the new Vectra generation. A good example of this design approach is the three-dimensional, stretched form of the headlamps. This is very striking, particularly from the side view.Which is more difficult – to design a completely new car or to enhance one that has already been successfully introduced?A new design always tends to be easier. An existing design must be carefully enhanced. The biggest challenge in this is to ensure that the existing and the new elements are presented as one formal unit.Is the new Vectra’s look just a copy of the Astra style?Not at all. You see the family likeness – and that is intentional – but there are, of course, many differences. The design of the surfaces and the flow of the lines are clearly different. The new look is a further development of the current design language for the mid-size class, to which the Vectra and Signum belong.You have completely redesigned the front of the Vectra. Didn’t you see a need to modify the back?The rear still reflects my idea of a modern and contemporary design. Together with the newly designed front, it makes an overall harmonious impression. So there was no reason to make any fundamental changes.Why do the Vectra and Signum faces now differ more from one another than before?We wanted to make the different characters of the two vehicles obvious at first glance, also from the front view. For this reason, the design of the Signum’s front end not only emphasizes dynamics and sportiness, but also communicates elegance with its vertical lines.Why isn’t there a corresponding difference in the interior design?The materials and functionality play a decisive role in the design of the interior concept. In my opinion, we have found the best possible solutions in each case with the new generation. There was therefore no need to differentiate between the Vectra and the Signum.Engines and Transmissions: state-of-the-art, powerful, fast, economical and greenwide range of state-of-the-art, powerful petrol and diesel engines are available for all new Vectra and Signum models, turning the promise made by their distinctive design into action on the road – outstanding driving dynamics, economical fuel consumption and low emissions. This applies not only to the top-of-the-range engine, the new 230 PS V6 turbo petrol engine that makes the Vectra and Signum faster than ever before with a top speed of 155mph (electronically limited), but also to the advanced CDTi diesel engines. The power output of the 3.0-litre V6 CDTi, the most powerful diesel in the range, has been increased by 7PS to 184PS.The top-of-the-range engine for the Vectra and Signum models is the 2.8-litre petrol , newly developed by GM Powertrain, with numerous high-tech features. The turbo unit shares many of these features with the two V6 naturally aspirated engines (2.8 and 3.6-litre), which are part of the new fully aluminum range used worldwide by General Motors. As well as a classic cylinder angle of 60 degrees and overhead camshafts driven by dual chains, common features with the 24-valve unit include variable valve control and a four-bearing crankshaft made from micro-alloyed forged steel – a material also commonly used in racing engines.Details such as friction-reducing coated pistons highlight the extensive design work that went into the V6 engines. The pistons are equipped with hard anodized ring slots for a longer life cycle, run in cast iron bushes and are oil-spray cooled. Sintered connecting rods, exhaust valves filled with sodium for better cooling, and the oil sump, which is especially rigid due to its die-cast aluminum construction, also represent state-of-the-art technology.Top turbo: twin-scroll turbocharger and variable camshaft controlThe twin-scroll turbocharger is reserved for the 9.5:1 compression ratio top-of-the range engine for the Vectra and Signum. The intercooler system, which is centrally mounted above the transmission, has an integrated waste gate and supplies the engine with a maximum of 0.6 bar excess pressure. The turbine wheel is made of a high-quality special steel composition. Due to its twin-scroll design, the turbine is fed simultaneously from both rows of cylinders. Separate channels – one for each bank of cylinders – separate the exhaust gas pulses. On the one hand, the operating principle minimizes turbocharger energy losses and, on the other hand, it has a positive effect on the exhaust gas flow and efficiency.Rapid response and excellent torque even at low engine speeds are also provided by the continuous, electronically controlled, hydraulic phasing of the inlet camshafts. They can be adjusted over a range of 50 degrees with respect to the crankshaft, in order to optimally vary the valve timing and thus optimise the charge cycle to suit the engine load and speed. Like the outlet shafts, the inlet shafts are also made from high-strength aluminium. This makes them particularly light, heat-resistant and durable.155mph top speed: New record for Vauxhall in the classAlong with the turbocharger response, the rapid and smooth power development is mainly thanks to the 32-bit Bosch Motronic engine management system. The control unit software, which has been specially adapted to suit the Vectra and Signum models, controls all key functions such as ignition timing, fuel injection, turbocharger pressure, air mass measurement and the throttle valve position. Like the technical data, the new engine’s power development is also impressive. The 2.8-litre unit provides 90 percent of its 330 Nm maximum torque at only 1500 rpm. The top figure is then available over a wide range from 1800 to 4500 rpm. The engine’s driving performance is equally impressive.The 0-60mph sprint takes only 7.2 seconds, and top speed is 155mph (electronically limited) – a new record in Vauxhall in this sector until the 161mph Vectra VXR arrives!The acclaimed 120PS and 150PS common rail 1.9-litre CDTi diesels are carried over, while the top-of-the-range diesel engine is the 3.0 V6 CDTi. The power output of this all aluminum engine is now 184PS, an increase of 7PS, and its maximum torque has risen by around eight percent from 370 to 400 Nm.Automatic transmission with additional manual functionApart from the entry-level 1.8-litre petrol engine, all engines have a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. For the more powerful variants, a five-speed automatic (2.2 Direct) or a six-speed automatic with ActiveSelect function (2.8 V6 Turbo, 150 hp 1.9 CDTi and 3.0 V6 CDTi) are also available. In addition to the fully-automatic mode, the transmission gives the driver the option of changing gear manually in a second shifting slot by simply tapping the gearshift lever. Both gearboxes are adaptive, adjusting automatically to prevailing driving style and road conditions. The increased ratio spread in sixth gear improves performance, while reducing fuel consumption. Light transmission oil, which has been newly introduced and does not need to be changed during the gearbox’s entire life-cycle, also contributes to optimal fuel consumption.The six-speed auto not only offers all the flexibility of a six-speed manual gearbox, but also combined beautifully with the torque of the diesel engine to offer super smooth power delivery, perfect for towing.Chassis: Improved driving dynamics, comfort and safetyDrivers of cars in the Vectra’s segment have complex and demanding requirements for a vehicle. Firstly, they prize refinement above all else as they tend to spend longer behind the wheel than any other motorists. But they also want to be rewarded when the motorway ends and the B-roads begin.The new chassis set up, which was designed exclusively to cope with the best and worst of British roads, provides even better vehicle control while offering a noticeable increase in comfort.While the chassis of the Vauxhall Vectra and Signum was already exemplary in its comfort and safety, the new models boast even more agile handling, improved comfort and more precise steering. Further development of the chassis has produced impressive results: distinctive dynamics for even more driving fun with added comfort.More sensitive response to all road conditionsThe design of the four-link rear suspension also helped to reduce friction, which consequently enables easier suspension compression. This was achieved with the help of a total of six new bushes in the wishbones. With additional intermediate plates, the bushes enable a noticeable improvement in the movement of the axle – which leads to considerably more smoothness, especially in the case of one-sided suspension compression. The next stage of the chassis modifications involved the alignment of the shock absorbers to the lower breakaway torque of the springs, which results in more direct suspension response. Chassis specialists thereby achieved increased comfort, without compromising agile handling.For models equipped with the optional IDS-plus chassis, it wasn’t only the dampers which were re-tuned – no fewer than 130 parameters in the software of the adaptive Continuous Damping Control (CDC) were adjusted to correspond to the modified chassis.New response settings of the electro-hydraulic rack-and-pinion power steering, which is regulated by steering and driving speed, also ensure increased driving dynamics through better road contact. The straight-ahead position was set more precisely, giving an improved feel to the steering. In addition, the steering effort correspondingly increases in larger steering angles, giving improved road contact. In contrast, the power steering is increased at lower speeds, enabling easier manoeuvring into narrow parking spaces, for example.Comfortable and safe, thanks to the unique IDS-plus chassisThe adaptive IDS-plus chassis with electronic Continuous Damping Control (CDC) ensures a constant optimum balance between driving comfort and stability. This networked high-tech chassis system, which is unique in the mid-size class, is available as an option on most Vectra and Signum models and will be standard on the forthcoming VXR.The electronic CDC is based on four shock absorbers controlled by solenoid valves, which precisely and continuously adjust the shock absorbers to ideally adapt to prevailing road conditions, vehicle movements and individual driving style within milliseconds. This ensures the highest possible suspension comfort and optimal road grip under all driving conditions. IDS-plus networks all dynamic driving systems such as ESP, traction control, ABS and CDC via CANbus (Controller Area Network), forming an integrated chassis control system.This networking forms the basis for optimised handling performance in terms of comfort, safety and dynamics on an even higher level. Calibrated damper adjustment improves steering performance, allowing later and thereby significantly more sensitive ESP activation. When braking, the system adjusts the shock absorber settings to adapt to the road surface for optimal ABS control, which improves braking characteristics, especially on bumpy roads. Thanks to minimized wheel vibrations, braking distance on roads with loose or uneven surfaces is reduced by up to five percent – a decisive advantage, considering the deteriorating quality of roads. In addition, IDS-plus enables a measurable increase in safety when individual wheels are on a different type of surface, or on wet roads, ice or snow.Sport function: More fun with sporty driving at the touch of a buttonThe IDS-plus chassis system also offers the choice of a tighter, even more agile setup at the touch of a button. The Sport Switch function not only regulates damper characteristics, it also enables more direct throttle pedal response and the map-controlled electro-hydraulic power steering switches to a more sporty, higher steering effort level. In conjunction with automatic transmissions, the gearshift points are set at higher rpm to allow for a sportier driving style.• Interview with Simon Johnson, vehicle dynamics manager, Vauxhall Engineering Centre, MillbrookWhy has it been necessary to modify the Vectra’s chassis set up justfor the UK?On the other side of the channel roads tend to be significantly better surfaced than here, with less road camber and significantly fewer broken edges and low frequency bumps caused by subsidence etc. The corners are usually constructed with fixed radii, and in many cases lack the hedgerows that we find on some of our lanes which restrict visibility. This means the driver has to make far fewer mid-corner steering corrections than is usual here. It’s these factors that cause precision and agility to be given such high priority in Britain, while on the continent the emphasis is more on refinement and less ‘feedback’ through the steering is actually seen as a positive factor.What modifications have been carried out and how has this improved the car’s ride and handling?All of the bushes in the rear suspension and front anti-roll bar have been heavily revised to reduce friction. This greatly helps the dampers to control the reactions to large and small inputs, and allows the damper rates to be increased, significantly improving body control. It also makes the suspension more supple over smaller surface imperfections and drastically decreases harshness.The result of this is that body control is greatly improved with less ‘wallowing’. Bumps are absorbed and controlled immediately, resulting in a vehicle that feels firmly planted on the road. Better impact isolation minimises the effect of potholes and broken edges, and means the tyres are in contact with the road for longer – increasing overall levels of grip whilst cornering.These effects improve the smooth road ride and handling, and transform the composure of the vehicle on uneven (British) roads. This makes the vehicle much more fun to drive in all conditions, and has been achieved with no loss, and in fact significant improvements in refinement.Engine mountsThe engine mounts have been stiffened to reduce shake induced by the vertical ride motion of the engine mass, improving refinement on smaller ridges and potholes.TyresThe current base tyre in Europe is a 215/55R16 tyre, which is more expensive to replace than a tyre in the more common 205/55R16 size. The new base tyre, for the UK only, has been developed for the new Vectra in this 205/55R16 size to reduce running costs.Steering modificationsAs steering performance is crucial in Britain, we have gone to the extreme – and expense – of developing UK-only modifications.To enhance the responsiveness of the steering, we have fitted a stiffer bush in the front suspension (this is the front bush in the A-arm, and is generally referred to as the ‘handling bush’ as it dominates lateral response, whilst the rear, or ‘ride bush’ dominates the impact isolation).This bush makes the steering response more linear and less compliant. Whilst the steering rack ratio is unchanged, mid-corner corrections are significantly more precise, with noticeably smaller steering wheel inputs required. There’s an improvement in steering effort, road feel and tauter handling. In order to improve the match between steering effort and vehicle response, we have UK-specific power steeringcharacteristics, with each different engine type getting a unique setting to give a consistent feel across the range. This UK characteristic gives slightly higher efforts and a better defined centre feel, particularly in the 35-55mph range. A redesigned, smaller steering wheel (based on that of the Astra) adds the finishing touch.Other itemsIn addition to the above, other changes include refinements to the IDS-plus electronic damping control, re-programmed traction control and new alloy wheel designs.If it’s a question of just soaking up UK road bumps & potholes, how does this sit with Vauxhall’s aim to make the Vectra more dynamic – surely a softer, more compliant ride will mean the car is less dynamic/agile?As described above, by reducing hysteresis and friction, and increasing the damping forces we get much better body control, which not only improves comfort (with reduced roll, heave, toss etc) but also enables more fluid handling, as the car is better composed at all times. The more supple suspension allows the vehicle to ‘breathe’ with the road without the ‘float’ that is usually found with this level of secondary isolation.The modifications to the chassis also provide a more predictable, and less ‘rubbery’ steering feel without the harsh ‘gravely’ feel and unrefined kickback of some competitors. Feel for road conditions is improved and the steering has a generally more ‘substantial’ and natural feel.The modifications are at their most apparent when cornering on less-than-perfect roads, when the car is clearly more confidence-inspiring.
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Source: Vauxhall Press Release