A new Vauxhall Astra GSi will join the ranks of Europe’s hot hatches, which are currently experiencing a sales resurgence.
Nothing is official at this stage but the boss of Vauxhall parent General Motors Europe, Karl-Thomas Neumann, has recently hinted at a return of the Astra GSi. The sporty trim is earmarked to run a powered-up version of the company’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. This unit, which develops 247bhp in the larger Insignia, would provide the Astra GSi with the same output as that of the Ford Focus ST.
The GSi trim is expected initially to be offered only on the five-door version of the new Astra, although there could eventually be a Sports Tourer model to rival fast estates such as the Focus ST estate and Seat Leon ST Cupra.
It will not be offered as a three-door GTC version, at least not to start off with, because Vauxhall plans to continue selling the three-door VXR for the foreseeable future. The GTC VXR was launched after the previous-generation Astra, in 2012, and is set to continue for the time being.
A GSi trim would offer a more sporty look and set-up than that of the standard Astra but stop short of the full-on appearance and mechanicals of the VXR. Items such as sports suspension, upgraded brakes and more supportive seats are likely, but it will not offer a full limited-slip differential.
The new Astra will be available to order from September this year, with the first cars due for delivery by the end of 2015. The GSi version will not be available at launch but it is most likely that it will go on sale within the first year of Astra sales.
Plus a new Astra VXR planned
A replacement for the Astra VXR is still on the drawing board although it is yet to receive a definitive production go-ahead. This could sit above the GSi and act as a rival to the likes of the Ford Focus RS and the Volkswagen Golf R.
Details remain scarce although the performance flagship is set to receive a more heavily tuned version of the firm’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, delivering an additional 20bhp over the old Astra VXR, at 296bhp.
It is likely to be a three-door only, like the current VXR, and get similar styling enhancements, such as beefed-up bumpers, deep side skirts and a large spoiler. Uprated brakes, revised suspension and a limited-slip differential are also likely.