Vauxhall has unveiled the performance-enhanced Astra GSe hatchback and Astra Sports Tourer GSe estate car, which make use of a more powerful plug-in hybrid powertrain than the standard Astra range.
GSe, or ‘Grand Sport Electric’, is Vauxhall’s new performance sub-brand. The British manufacturer has not had a performance-focused line-up since the VXR range that was discontinued in 2017, and this new GSe marque will only produce electrified models moving forward, starting with the Astra.
The Vauxhall Astra GSe uses the same 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and 12kWh battery pairing that can be found in the regular Astra line-up, but the brand’s engineers have tuned this setup to produce 225hp – an increase of 45hp.
GSe models also sit a centimetre lower to the ground to increase cornering stability, and Vauxhall has tweaked the suspension and adjusted the steering calibration to make the hatchback and estate more agile and comfortable while turning.
Vauxhall has not released any performance figures for this performance-enhanced range as of yet, but the brand has claimed that these GSe variants will have a fuel consumption of 235-256mpg, which is on par with the plug-in Hybrid model in the standard line-up.
To distinguish these hot-hatch and hot-estate models from the regular Astra line-up, Vauxhall has fitted GSe variants with 18-inch alloy wheels and redesigned the front bumper to give the models a “more purposeful appearance”. Inside, GSe versions gain alcantara-trimmed performance seats for the driver and front passenger.
More details, including UK pricing, will be released closer to the Astra GSe going on sale later this year. Vauxhall says that it expects to deliver the first of these GSe models to British customers early in 2023.
Now in its eighth generation, the Vauxhall Astra has been widely praised for its attractive exterior styling and the competitive battery range and efficiency of plug-in hybrid models. It currently holds an Expert Rating of 70% – a score hindered by Vauxhall’s use of some cheap interior plastics.