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Vauxhall reveals new Corsa GSi

Revived badge finds its way onto a VXR-lookalike. Hurrah. VXR dies in the process. Boo.

By Nic Cackett / Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Vauxhall announced the Corsa GSi last month, an event that triggered much wistful staring from the windows of PH towers. Matt Bird, being no older than a fertilised egg, was despondent at the idea of Vauxhall's supermini being 25 years old. For me, the waters run deeper still: I'm old enough to recall yearning - and I mean physically lusting - after an early nineties Nova GSi. Ditto the Mk3 Astra GSi of the same vintage.

Of course, both were legitimate (if relatively short-lived) range-topping hot hatches. The badge's revival in 2018 does not confer the same status: the GSi label is now about 'performance through dynamics' according to Vauxhall - which is of course marketing shorthand for building a car with go-faster running gear, but without the engine required to, you know, make it go faster.

That said, the enduring popularity of the warm hatch class in the UK - especially cars the Ford Fiesta ST-Line - will not have been lost on Luton, and it'll likely be this model in the new GSi's crosshairs. To that end, Vauxhall has confirmed that the three-door-only car will get the VXR's stiffer springs and dampers, as well as its uprated brakes - and adopt the more expensive Corsa's styling pack, including its 18-inch alloys.

And the VXR? Well, sadly time has finally been called on the 205hp variant. The GSi's arrival will see it discontinued; a strategic decision which handily reduces the number of Peugeot 208 GTI rivals by one. Such consolidation was inevitable with PSA now paying the bills, although we'll admit to mourning the quickest Corsa's departure: in the right spec - i.e. with the Drexler limited-slip differential fitted - the car lived up to its image.

Now it will be up to the GSi to emerge from its shadow. Vauxhall hasn't yet said which engine it will get, although the smart money points to the 150hp 1.4-litre turbocharged four-pot that several Corsa special editions share with the latest Astra. That ought to make it a 8.9 seconds-to-60mph prospect. Coincidentally what you'd get from an early nineties Nova GSi with a fair wind...

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