Vauxhall Astra GSe revealed

New performance sub-brand kicks off with 222bhp Astra hybrid

Vauxhall has revealed the first of its new GSe models in the form of a 222bhp plug-in hybrid Astra. Vauxhall’s new electrically-focused performance sub-brand will continue to expand over the coming months, but starts here on the Astra by incorporating bespoke styling and chassis elements to a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The striking new Astra has been on sale in the UK for a few months now, and shares much of its underlying components with the latest Peugeot 308. This includes its powertrains, which in the case of this new GSe model is shared with the current top-spec 308 225 PHEV. 

Its figures are warm, at best, with the GSe producing a combined total of 222bhp from the combination of a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine and a small electric motor. This is backed up with a 265lb ft torque figure, and while Vauxhall itself hasn’t released any performance figures, they will likely match or be very similar to the Peugeot 308 PHEV 225 which reaches 62mph in 7.6sec and tops out at 146mph.

Vauxhall has given the Astra GSe a bespoke chassis tune, lowering the body by 10mm compared to standard models and fitting variable frequency dampers that change their stiffness depending on the bump frequency. This is one step below an adaptive or electronically-variable damper, as the damping rate is not selectable but varied by the road surface itself. The steering has also been re-tuned to offer more direct feedback, with changes also made to the stability program. 

To go alongside the updated chassis tune, the GSe also features a new look, with more aggressive bumper and sill treatments as well as a new set of 18-inch wheels inspired by the retro Manta GSe concept car. Inside, there are new seats and trim options, with white inserts and stitching that match the GSe’s hero colour scheme. 

Available as both a hatchback and estate, the Astra GSe will be available to order later this year, with customer deliveries due from early 2023. Pricing has not been confirmed, but we suspect the price might range from between £35,000 and £40,000. 

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