Vauxhall proclaims new ‘GSe’ performance brand

VXR is long dead; in its place a historic nameplate with a predictable twist… 

By Matt Bird / Wednesday, 14 September 2022 / Loading comments

We all have a fun fast Vauxhall story to tell. It probably involves more wheelspin and more noise than was appropriate at the time, too. And it will have surely featured one of the iconic performance Vauxhall badges: SR, GTE, GSI and VXR mean so much more to car nuts than the average Joe.  

Now Vauxhall is resurrecting a classic moniker for its electrified performance future. GSe, or Grand Sport Electric, will offer ‘athletic looks that build on Vauxhall’s Bold & Pure design as well as driver-focused chassis setups that complement the higher performance of an electrified powertrain while retaining the zero-emissions-in-use benefits.’ Which sounds encouraging for a lineup that’s conspicuously lacked any enthusiast offering for so long, while rivals like Ford and Hyundai have been making considerable hay in Vauxhall’s absence.  

The badge is a nice throwback to the Monza GSE of the 1980s, too, even though Vauxhall won’t directly admit that now as the old bruiser was technically always an Opel. And a large six-cylinder coupe isn’t coming back under this badge anytime, well, ever. But it’s a good one to resurrect.  

As for which Vauxhalls will be offered as GSe models, none have been confirmed for the moment. That said, given there’s already a Corsa and Mokka Electric on sale, plus plug-in Astras (and a pure electric model to follow), there won’t be a shortage of eligible cars.  

Furthermore, while it’s nice to know the idea of a rowdy, rambunctious Corsa might endure into the electric age, there ought to be more coming from the GSe badge as well. Remember the Manta ElektroMOD? Revealed in 2021 under the GSe name, it was confirmed earlier this year that an electric Manta would be on sale in 2025. And, sure, we’re expecting that to be an SUV – but at least it shows that behind the scenes someone is at least entertaining the idea that Vauxhall/Opel doesn’t merely have to be worthy. 

James Taylor, Vauxhall’s acting MD, said: “GSe will offer sports handling and looks combined with the performance and responsibility of electrified powertrains.  Sitting atop the newly simplified Vauxhall range, the GSe name is both a nod to GSi performance models from our heritage as well being a complement to the GS versions in our line-up today.  Vauxhall is committed to electrifying Britain and GSe shows that performance and driving pleasure are set to be part of our electric future.” Very good. And if new fast Vauxhalls is rekindling fond memories of old ones, the classifieds are chock full of them, from Zafira GSI to VXR8. Buy now before more nostalgia tax pushes them up further…

  • Vauxhall Corsa VXR | PH Used Review
  • Vauxhall Astra GTE (Mk1) | PH Heroes

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