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Vauxhall Corsa GSi returns. Image by Vauxhall.

Vauxhall Corsa GSi returns
After 25 years, the Vauxhall Corsa GSi returns with VXR looks but lower running costs.
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2018-05-22: Vauxhall Corsa GSi uses 150hp 1.4 turbo

What's all this about?

Following on from the recent Insignia GSi, now Vauxhall is launching the Corsa GSi - the first time it has slapped those three letters on the back of its supermini since 1993.

Remind me of what that old Corsa GSi was like, if you please?

It had a 16-valve, double-overhead cam 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, churning out 105hp at 6,000rpm. Drive went to the front wheels via a five-speed (oooooh!) gearbox, while firmer suspension, bigger brakes and wider tyres gave the GSi a handling edge on its regular early-90s brethren. Performance was brisk, for the time, with 0-60mph in 9.2 seconds and a 121mph top speed.

Right, so how does the new one dovetail with Vauxhall's VXR line?

Oh, it's very simple to understand. Vauxhall says the new GSi badging signifies 'performance through dynamics', meaning that instead of the company simply stuffing the most powerful engine it has got into its Corsa, Astra and Insignia models (and more), and then struggling to corral all the rampaging ponies and thrusting torque, the GSi vehicles employ chassis modifications to maximise what power they have got.

Erm... I'm a bit lost. Doesn't the VXR have chassis mods?

Sigh. OK, let's put it in layman's terms - Vauxhall's GSi models are like Ford's ST cars, or 43-badged Mercedes-AMGs, or BMW M Performance derivatives. VXR is akin to a Ford RS, AMG 63 or full-on BMW M. It's a two-tier performance strategy that almost every company uses nowadays, and the progression with the Griffin is GSi for the warmer stuff, then VXR for the wilder machines. Like the current, 210hp Corsa VXR, which continues unabated by the presence of its GSi sibling.

Ah, right, I'm with you now. So what power does the Corsa GSi have?

Not sure. Vauxhall is being coy on which engine (and in what state of tune) will power the Corsa GSi. Instead, it says the new boy takes the 'key chassis and design elements from the current Corsa VXR to create an agile and purposeful driver's car', but yet retains the 'space and efficiency' of a regular Corsa.

OK, what do we know about the Corsa GSi so far?

It has a three-door body that is enhanced with large air intakes and a honeycomb grille at the front, while side skirts and carbon-trimmed features can be spotted along its flanks. At the back, buyers will enjoy a deep rear spoiler - that actually generates downforce to keep the rear suspension planted at higher speeds - and a chromed tailpipe finisher. Inside, the Recaro front seats and sports steering wheel are trimmed in leather, while there are also some aluminium pedals. IntelliLink infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is also offered.

But this all sounds like styling, rather than any mechanical goodness?

Oh no, there are some upgrades. The GSi takes the firmer springs and competition-tuned dampers of the Corsa VXR, as well as its stronger brakes with the red-painted brake calipers. You also get 18-inch alloy wheels on big sports rubber, so it should provide an interesting steer.

When will we know more about the Vauxhall Corsa GSi?

The company is planning to provide more information when the GSi's order books open later this year.

Matt Robinson - 22 Mar 2018

2018 Vauxhall Corsa GSi. Image by Vauxhall.2018 Vauxhall Corsa GSi. Image by Vauxhall.2018 Vauxhall Corsa GSi. Image by Vauxhall.2018 Vauxhall Corsa GSi. Image by Vauxhall.    - Vauxhall road tests
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