The Vauxhall VXR8's about to get some fearsome in-house competition. These are the first pictures of the next-generation Vectra VXR, caught testing at Germany's demanding Nurburgring circuit.


The Vectra replacement, which will be called Insignia, is to be unveiled at the London motor show in 2008, but this turbocharged VXR version isn't due to arrive until 2009.


The Insignia VXR (or OPC, as it will be known in mainland Europe) uses an updated version of the current car's addictive 2.8-litre twin-turbo V6.
But while the current car has to shove all 276bhp through the front wheels, the new VXR gets four-wheel drive. That ought to give it terrific off-the-line shove no matter what the conditions – expect a 0-60mph time of under six seconds.


Factor in the new Insignia's wider, longer platform (Epsilon 2, in GM-speak) and you have a recipe for a serious performance tool. Vauxhall is very keen to make sure that the handling matches the performance – it doesn't want to play second fiddle to the impressive new Mondeo again.


While the new VXR's performance is likely to be visceral, the looks will remain relatively discreet. Up front, there's a lower spoiler and larger vents to force air to the engine, while at the rear there's a small boot-lid spoiler. Reckon on the exhausts becoming more prominent, too.


Development of the Vectra replacement has been pushed through ahead of schedule due to a slide in sales of the current car. Expect the standard Insignia to arrive in autumn 2008, and the VXR in spring 2009.