Ahead of its launch later this year, we took a pre-production version of Opel's new range-topping Grandland X model for a drive during its final sign-off stages. It is the most potent variant of Opel's latest mid-size SUV to date, gaining 177hp from a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, which is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
In the Metal:
Don't let the light disguise of the prototype throw you off; this Grandland X won't appear very different to the rest of the models in the range. It will be differentiated slightly by some new trim features, such as roof rails in a silver finish and diamond black door mirror covers. New 19-inch 'BiColour' alloy wheels round out the unique features on the exterior and inside there are some nice looking aluminium sports pedals that catch your eye in the footwell as you climb in. Like many of Opel's new cars, this prototype is also equipped with the company's premium ergonomic seats, which offer enough support to gain AGR certification (the body for the Campaign for Healthier Backs in Germany).
Up to now, the largest engine available in the Opel Grandland X was a 1.6-litre diesel. While that does suit the car well, this more powerful 177hp 2.0-litre diesel provides a welcome increase in torque to 400Nm, though it arrives slightly later at 2,000rpm, compared to 1,750rpm for the other diesel and petrol engines. Opel's engineers also chose an eight-speed Asin automatic transmission for this engine, whereas previous autos make use of six ratios.
Power is still sent only to the front wheels, but it does put its power down well. Our car was wearing winter tyres due to the time of year and even so it rarely struggled for grip. Managing power delivery is Opel's IntelliGrip traction control, which offers a choice of five different driving modes to best suit the conditions.
The boost in power doesn't make this feel like a hot crossover as such, but it does provide the driver with more easily accessible performance. Overtakes should be easier, helped along by the new transmission. It swaps between its eight ratios smoothly and reacts quickly to throttle inputs. That additional power results in faster acceleration times, too. The 0-100km/h dash is completed in 9.1 seconds, making it almost two seconds faster than the petrol model. There's also less of a racket when you are asking more of the engine.
Like the rest of the Grandland X's engine range, the 2.0-litre unit is equipped with start-stop. According to Opel's official consumption figures, it is only slightly thirstier than the 1.6-litre, using 4.8 litres/100km. Marginally higher CO2 emissions will see it placed in tax Band B1, the same as the 1.2-litre petrol model manages.
What you get for your Money:
The exact pricing and specification for this version of the Opel Grandland X have yet to be confirmed for the Irish market, but when it is we will update this section with more detail. At the time of publishing, the Opel Grandland X pricing starts at €27,995.
This more powerful engine certainly makes for a good addition to the Opel Grandland X offering. Those who do longer distances or just like having that extra power in reserve will appreciate this new 177hp version. The new eight-speed automatic transmission impressed us just as much.