Only a couple of weeks after announcing its new GSe (Grand Sport Electric) sub-brand for its sporty models, Opel unveiled the Astra GSe which will be available in both five-door hatchback and Sports Tourer bodystyles. The sportiest trim of the sixth-gen Astra yet is fitted with a plug-in-hybrid powertrain and has a GSe-specific chassis setup and subtle styling tweaks.
Styling-wise, the highlight of the Astra GSe is the 18-inch light-alloy wheels inspired by the Manta GSe concept. Another change is the black-painted fins that visually connect the bumper intakes, and of course the GSe badges. Inside, we find a pair of AGR-certified GSe-branded bucket seats upholstered in Alcantara and the standard Pure Panel digital cockpit with dual 10-inch screens.
The Astra GSe is fitted with a familiar PHEV powertrain from other Stellantis products, including the Peugeot 308, that produces a combined 222 hp (165 kW / 225 PS) of power and 360 Nm (265.5 lb-ft) of torque. The turbocharged 1.6-liter PureTech petrol engine produces 177 hp (132 kW / 180 PS), with a single electric motor contributing another 109 hp (81 kW / 110 PS) and an eight-speed automatic gearbox sending power to the front axle. A similar setup was already fitted on the Astra but with a lower output.
The aforementioned figures are probably not enough to place the Astra GSe among the modern hot hatches, but they easily classify it as a potent warm hatch. More importantly, the GSe is blessed with a sportier chassis setup which is the highlight of the new sub-brand striking a balance between comfort and driving dynamics. Both the hatchback and the Sports Tourer are lowered by 10 mm (0.4 inches) compared to lesser variants, coming fitted with unique springs and oil-filled Koni FSD dampers. They also get a recalibrated steering and different ESP settings.
Opel didn’t announce performance figures for the Astra GSe and the Astra Sports Tourer GSe, but that said that the acceleration and top speed “will match the best in their respective classes”. At the same time, the company suggests that the compact model will deliver “superior stability during cornering, under braking and while driving at high speed on the Autobahn” compared to immediate rivals, probably referring to the slightly more powerful VW Golf GTE, Cupra Leon eHybrid, and Skoda Octavia RS iV from the VW Group.
Opel/Vauxhall didn’t announce pricing for the Astra GSe and the Astra Sports Tourer GSe, but we expect them to be the most expensive offerings in the Astra range. The automaker has pledged to become an EV-only brand by 2028 which means that future GSe models will likely be all-electric. Indeed, there are rumors about a more powerful fully electric hot hatch based on the upcoming Astra-e that could sit atop the model’s range in terms of performance.