Vauxhall GSe electrified performance sub-brand confirmed
Vauxhall is to leverage its Stellantis’ plug-in hybrid know-how for new GSe performance models
The next step in Vauxhall’s journey to a new and more fruitful future comes with the announcement of a new GSe performance sub brand that will appear on hot versions of selected models in the current range. It takes over from the iconic GSi moniker that made a brief return after the full-fat high performance VXR models were removed from sale.
In a similar fashion to Peugeot’s PSE performance sub-brand, GSe will only feature on electrified models, probably starting with plug-in hybrids before eventually including all-electric cars further down the line. As Vauxhall's lineup already shares so many elements with Peugeot's, we expect the two performance ranges to complement each other, sharing basic hardware and differing in terms of their setups.
Currently, the only PSE-badged product on sale is the 508 PSE, a model that features a high performance 355bhp plug-in hybrid powertrain that’s unique in the Peugeot range, and only used elsewhere in select high-end DS models. It’s unknown whether this powertrain could be utilised in a Vauxhall GSe model straight away, but the only car in the current Vauxhall range that will be an easy fit is the Grandland SUV, which is closely related to the DS7 Crossback E-Tense 360.
Another likely candidate for the GSe moniker is the new Astra, given its on the flexible EMP-2 platform that’s capable of supporting both PHEV and pure EV powertrains. As it stands, the most powerful Astra PHEV produces 222bhp combined from its 1.6-litre turbo four and electric motor, so there’s plenty of room above for the GSe brand to grow.
James Taylor, Acting Managing Director, Vauxhall, commented on the announcement: “GSe will offer sports handling and looks combined with the performance and responsibility of electrified powertrains".
So Vauxhall’s back in the high performance game, and even if it starts out with warm derivatives, it’s a good sign for future high performance models from mainstream brands with a greener outlook. As it stands, Ford’s flat-lining without any word of greener ST derivatives (new hero paint colour notwithstanding) and Volkswagen’s electrified GTX branding is still only applied to a 2224kg SUV. Vauxhall’s GSe badge is a breath of clean fresh air by comparison, and one that’s eagerly anticipated.