Plug-in hybrid power drives the sporty GSe versions of Vauxhall’s family hatch and estate, with 222bhp on tap
The new Vauxhall Astra GSe is the first model to wear the brand’s new sporty GSe moniker, and both the five-door family hatch and Sports Tourer estate version can be chosen in this spec. Both models feature more powerful plug-in hybrid powertrains than the regular Astra line-up, along with some visual and performance tweaks.
GSe, which stands for ‘Grand Sport Electric’, is Vauxhall’s new performance sub-brand, which has replaced the now defunct VXR line of hot vehicles.
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Powering the Astra GSe models is fundamentally the same 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and 12.4kWh battery and electric motor system that’s employed in the Hybrid 180 cars. However, total system output has been increased up to 222bhp and 360Nm of torque.
The brand has not yet revealed any performance figures, but with its eight-speed automatic transmission (the only option) the Astra GSe hatch should offer a 0-62mph time in the region of 7.5 seconds and a top speed of around 145mph in five-door hatch form; expect the estate to take an extra tenth of a second from 0-62mph.
Fuel consumption stands at a claimed 235.4-256.8mpg depending on spec, while the Astra GSe’s CO2 emissions are as low as 25g/km. Vauxhall hasn’t yet released details on the car’s electric-only range, but expect claims of between 37 and 40 miles. Given the battery is the same size as the regular Astra Hybrid 180, charging will take an identical three hours and 30 minutes if the GSe retains the standard car’s 3.6kW onboard charger. It’s likely a 7kW charger will be offered as an option, cutting this to one hour and 55 minutes.
GSe models should also feel sportier thanks to a bespoke chassis set-up, with a 10mm lower ride height and recalibrated steering for more precision, agility and stability. The suspension dampers also feature Frequency Selective Damping to allow for different wheel and body control characteristics, also improving comfort, according to Vauxhall.
The GSe treatment sees the eighth-generation Astra undergo a performance makeover, with exclusive design touches that include 18-inch alloy wheels and new Alcantara sport seats. The front bumper has also been redesigned with a more aggressive, angular look, while GSe badging completes the look. Following the Astra, the Grandland SUV is also receiving the GSe treatment.
According to James Taylor, Acting Managing Director, Vauxhall: “The all-new Astra GSe and 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.”
Pricing is yet to be revealed for the Astra GSe, but the five-door hatch is likely to start from just under £40,000, with the Sports Tourer estate costing an extra £1,200 when the cars go on sale later this year. Deliveries will begin in early 2023.
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