Opel and Vauxhall’s new Signum, an executive hatchback based on a stretched Epsilon platform, will feature GM Europe’s first common rail six-cylinder diesel engine when it goes on sale in June.

Reflecting the importance of diesel in the European market, three of the six available engines are diesels while another new motor is a direct-injection 2.2-litre petrol four.

UK prices will start at £17,995.

According to GM Europe, the Signum combines the best attributes from more conventional body-styles – taking styling and design cues from hatchbacks, load carrying ability from estates (wagons), flexibility and innovation from MPVs (minivans) and refinement and comfort from executive saloons.

Its debut could also be seen as a brave move after Renault’s much more avant-garde (and three-door only) Avantime spectacularly flopped and is now on death row.

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By GlobalData

Bullish GME says the Signum is part of a plan to produce a range of innovative cars which will eventually account for 40% of sales. It also has a nice little Corsa-based minivan called the Meriva waiting in the wings.

GME will position the Signum as a new and individual brand within the Opel and Vauxhall lines.

Two trim levels, Elegance and Elite, are claimed to offer “extremely high levels of specification and sophistication” while the Design alternative “provides the ultimate in style, including visible rear exhaust pipes, sports seats and platinum interior décor”.

All feature the innovative FlexSpace rear seating system and overhead storage console claimed to make the Signum unique in its market segment.

‘Base’ Elegance models will have the new 2.2 direct injection petrol engine while the top dog will be the Elite model with the 3.0 CDTi V6 at £25,600.

A 2.0 petrol turbo, a derivative of the all-aluminium 2.2 engine from the VX220 sportscar, will also be offered. It produces 175hp and 265Nm of torque through its six-speed gearbox while returning 30.7mpg in the EC combined cycle.