Vauxhall’s awaited Astra GSi 3-door hatchback finally makes its UK debut at the British International Motor Show. The Astra GSi will build on the success achieved by the Astra SRi, which has won critical acclaim as a sports hatch, especially in 2.2 litre 16v form.
However, the GSi gets a considerable power upgrade over the SRi – up from 147 PS to 200 PS from its lightweight ECOTEC turbo-charged engine – the same engine that makes the Zafira GSi the fastest mid size MPV in Europe.
Astra GSi’s turbo engine, renowned for its smoothness and refinement as well as its performance, develops a maximum torque of 250 Nm at a lowly 1950 rpm. Final on road performance figures are to be confirmed, but expect a 0 to 60 mph time of under 8 seconds and a top speed in the region of 150 mph.
Even with the potential performance at these levels, the engine manages a fuel economy figure on the combined cycle of 31.7 mpg while also complying with the Euro 4 emissions standards.
GSi Chassis – Tuned For Fun With Control
Vauxhall’s DSA chassis has been tuned to perfectly match the engine characteristics and overall dynamics of the Astra GSi. Both electronic stability programme (ESP) and TC Plus traction control are featured, the latter being switchable via a button on the dashboard.
The chassis uses springs and dampers which have been uprated and stiffened over the standard Astra while the body has been lowered by 20 mm at the front and 10 mm at the rear.
Wider tyres are fitted to lightweight, seventeen inch alloy wheel rims of the same design as Zafira GSi.
Unique front and rear spoiler designs, darkened head and tail lamps and a stainless steel oval silencer also mark the GSi out as something out of the ordinary.
The equipment list will be extensive when the car goes on sale in the UK in November and will include a multi-function trip computer, cruise control, CD player, fog lights, xenon headlights, climate control and curtain airbags.
On the road prices will be announced closer to the on sale date.
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