GM’s new Astra five-door hatch will revive the sporty GSi name, according to reports in the British press this week.
The GSi badge has not been seen on an Astra since the mid 2000s, when the fourth-gen hatch’s 2.0 litre turbo engine offered fans 147kW to play with.
In May, British magazine Auto Express published photos of a camouflaged Astra with twin exhaust tips and a lowered ride height, hinting at a new sports model.
More recently, compatriot Autocar reported that Opel boss Karl-Thomas Neumann had previously alluded to plans for a reborn five-door GSi model that would soon debut as a direct rival to Ford’s 184kW Focus ST hatch.
The extra-hot VXR won’t be disappearing, though, and according to Autocar, it will continue in its current 206kW three-door form for a few more years.
That means that, in the next year, buyers considering a quick Astra could have the option of a hot and all-new five-door GSi, or the ageing but still hugely competitive three-door VXR already available in Australia as a Holden.
The report adds that a new-generation VXR is under consideration, although it is unclear if GM will offer a three-door model in the new Astra range.
Whether with three doors or five, the next VXR will likely deliver more power, potentially dialling outputs in the existing model’s 2.0 litre turbo engine up to around 220kW.
Aside from the power boost, the next VXR is also expected to offer more stopping power, a limited-slip differential and revised suspension, along with the usual range of hardcore styling and aero enhancements.
It seems the new model will remain a front-wheel-drive prospect, however, leaving the ultra high-powered horsepower wars to all-wheel-drive steads like the Audi RS 3, AMG A 45 and the new Ford Focus RS.
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