Vauxhall's first sporty GSe model with be a plug-in hybrid Astra and Astra Sports Tourer
By John Howell / Wednesday, 28 September 2022 / Loading comments
A couple of weeks back, we reported on a happy news story from Vauxhall, which hasn’t had much genuine enthusiast stuff to crow about in recent years. It was the return of performance models under the GS brand. It’ll be GSe rather than the more familiar GSi badge that was stuck on back of the Luton’s enticing models, like the Astra and Cavalier, back in the ‘90s, with the ‘e’ standing for ‘explosive’. Okay, that bit’s not true; it stands for electric.
The new sub-brand is going to appear first on the new Astra and Astra Sports Tourer, which feature plug-in hybrid powertrains. So for a little while, at least, there will still be petrol engines at the heart of GSe products, before the all-electric models begin filtering in and Vauxhall goes 100 per cent electric by 2028.
James Taylor, Acting Managing Director, Vauxhall, said: “Available with Plug-in Hybrid powertrains from launch, the All-New Astra GSe and All-New Astra Sports Tourer GSe are the ideal cars for launching our dynamic new sub-brand, offering sporty styling, enhanced driving performance and all the benefits of an electrified powertrain. As we work towards becoming an all-electric brand by 2028, our range-topping GSe models will showcase that electrified performance and driving pleasure can go hand-in-hand.”
The core credentials for the Grand Sport Electric models is a happily familiar one, then. Differentiated looks promising a bit more aggression, plus a driver-focused chassis set-up to match the performance potential of an hybrid powertrain. Oh yes, and better efficiency and zero-emissions running, blah, blah, blah.
We’ve got some meat on the bones, too. The Astra GSe with have a combined 225hp and 266lb ft of torque, allied with up to 256.8mpg and 26g/km of CO2. That should make this a company car favourite, although there’s no indication of the all-important EV range yet. In terms of pace, you’ll get performance that ‘will match the best in their respective classes for launch from a standstill, acceleration and maximum speed.’
The Astra will also have a bespoke chassis set-up. It’s 10mm lower than the standard models, with ‘unique’ (presumably stiffer) springs and Koni Frequency Selective Damping. The steering has also been ‘calibrated for a sportier feel’ and the ESP is set to be less nannying.
It’ll also come with a set of 18-inch light-alloy wheels that have styling cues taken from the all-electric Manta GSe concept, plus a restyled front end and GSe badges at the rear. Inside, there are front sports seats trimmed in Alcantara. For now that’s all we know, but with the GSe models due to go on sale by the end of the year and deliveries beginning in early 2023, watch this space.
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