Vauxhall Astra GSe plug-in hybrid hot hatch and estate unveiled

The first Vauxhall to wear the GSe performance badge gets 222bhp, with first examples due 2023

Vauxhall has been out of the performance car game for several years; the VXR name was last used back in 2017. But now, the British carmaker has launched a new electrified performance sub-brand called GSe – a badge we first saw on the Opel Manta ElektroMOD concept shown in 2021. 

The first production car to wear the badge is this: the Vauxhall Astra GSe. It’s available in both hatchback and Sports Tourer estate body styles, with the Astra GSe getting a more powerful plug-in hybrid powertrain than its standard (178bhp) sibling. Producing 222bhp and 360Nm of torque, the Astra GSe also features tuned suspension and sits 10mm lower. Vauxhall says the car’s systems have been recalibrated to provide a sportier feel.

Performance figures haven’t been revealed yet, but the brand claims the Astra GSe will match key rivals for acceleration and top speed, so expect a 0-62mph time of under seven seconds based on the stats for the Volkswagen Golf GTE and Cupra Leon e-Hybrid. Vauxhall has revealed the Astra GSe can return up to 257mpg and emits just 25g/km, trumping the Cupra and VW in both areas.

The styling of the Astra also gets some tweaks for the GSe version, including new front bumpers and a new facia, plus a set of 18-inch alloy wheels inspired by those from the one-off Manta GSe ElektroMOD. Inside the Astra, you’ll find a set of Alcantara-trimmed sports seats.

More details will be released soon, with the Vauxhall Astra GSe set to go on sale this year before the customer deliveries begin in early 2023. We expect prices to start from around £38,000.

Vauxhall says GSe stands for ‘Grand Sport Electric’, with the badge to be worn by top-of-the-range versions of all its models offered with plug-in hybrid or pure-electric power. The Grandland plug-in hybrid SUV is likely to get the GSe treatment very soon, followed by sportier versions of the Mokka-e compact electric SUV and Corsa-e electric hatchback. The latter could serve as a zero-emissions alternative to the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI, while a tuned Mokka-e has the potential to face off against the recently unveiled Smart #1 Brabus.

Then there’s the electric version of the latest Vauxhall Astra, called the Astra-e, arriving in 2023. A GSe version could serve as a rival to electric hot hatches like the forthcoming Volkswagen ID.3 GTX and 443bhp MG4 EV – both of which will also be arriving next year. 

Vauxhall’s range of electric cars is set to rapidly expand over the next few years. One of those EVs will bring back that iconic Manta nameplate from the 1970s – albeit most likely as a four-door coupe-SUV.

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