Vauxhall is on Corsa GSi

29 September 2018

VAUXHALL has unveiled a sporty new version of its small Corsa hatchback, with a mission to blow Ford’s rival Fiesta out of the water.

Undercutting the Fiesta ST1 by £250, the 130mph Corsa GSi claims to be the ultimate pocket rocket.

It costs from £18,995, which also makes it £1,305 less than the Renault Clio Sport and £2,525 less than the VW Polo GTi.

Powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine with double overhead camshafts and a 16-valve cylinder head, it generates 150bhp at 5,000rpm and 220Nm of torque, or pulling power.

Acceleration to 60mph takes just 8.4 seconds, with strong performance right through to its top speed of 130mph. Maximum torque is produced between 2,750 to 4,500rpm, and the engine is mated to a short-ratio six-speed gearbox, which helps the GSi to accelerate from 50-70mph in fifth gear in just 9.9 seconds.

While the standard outputs of Vauxhall’s 1.4 Turbo engine remain unchanged, for the GSi, boost pressure, fuel injection and timing have been subtly re-calibrated to allow the engine to breathe more freely, especially at higher revs. This allows more power to be maintained in the upper reaches of its performance.

In addition to delivering high performance, the Corsa GSi is also part of Vauxhall’s latest Euro 6d-TEMP rollout with economy of 47mpg and CO2 emissions from 138g/km.

The Corsa GSi’s 150bhp of power is delivered to the front wheels via an open differential.

Completing the Corsa GSi’s dynamic package are optional 18-inch light-weight alloy wheels, with 215/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres.

The Corsa GSi uses the sporty three-door body, with a raft of exterior design cues to set it apart from the regular car. Large air intakes and a honeycomb grille dominate the front of the car, while deep sill extensions and carbon-look features adorn its flanks. At the rear, a deep rear spoiler provides downforce to lower the rear suspension at higher speeds. A chrome tailpipe and red-painted brake callipers complete the look.

Inside, sport seats allow drivers to sit low in the car, and there is a leather sports steering wheel and aluminium pedals. As with most other Corsas, the GSi comes with Vauxhall’s IntelliLink infotainment system, offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

The Corsa GSi is among the cheapest in its class to insure. With a rating of 20E, it beats the lesser-powered Suzuki Swift Sport, which is rated at insurance group 35D.

Standard GSi specification includes 17-inch bi-colour diamond-cut alloy wheels, GSi rear roof spoiler, sports front grille, GSi air dam/bumper and side sills. There are also dark tinted rear windows, carbon-effect exterior mirrors and grille bar, and LED daytime running lights. Inside, sports-style front seats, a leather-covered flat-bottom steering wheel and IntelliLink infotainment, offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, complete the package.

Priced at £1,900, a GSi Plus Pack, comprising 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, Recaro leather seats and bi-xenon headlights with cornering light, is also available.

First outing for the GSi moniker was in 1988, when the Cavalier Mk3 was launched with a GSi 2000 variant.  And while the 1983-1990 Vauxhall Nova spawned a 1.6 GTE performance model, when it was facelifted in 1990, it was re-badged ‘GSi’, marking the second outing for a GSi model.

In 1993 the first Vauxhall Corsa was launched in Britain, with a GSi derivative. Powered by a 16-valve, double-overhead cam 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 105bhp at 6,000rpm, the GSi would sprint to 60mph in 9.2 seconds, and on to a 121mph top speed, which was reckoned to be hugely impressive at the time. A five-speed gearbox, firmer suspension, bigger brakes and wider tyres turned the little Corsa into one of the very first ‘pocket rockets’.

GSi badging was then applied to more driver-focused versions of the Astra Mk3, Vectra and first-generation Zafira models, before eventually reappearing in the current Insignia range earlier this year.