the GSi badge is back, but do you remember these eight oldies?

Opel is resurrecting the GSI name for its hottest cars. But can it live up to this lot?

3y ago

Remember the GSi badge? GM Europe – that’s Vauxhall or Opel depending on which side the channel you’re on – applied it to its hottest cars from the mid-1980s to the mid 2000s.

But it fell out of favour as hot Vauxhalls became VXRs and Opels got OPC (Opel Performance Centre) branding.

Now it’s making a comeback, starting with the new 265hp Insignia GSi. Here are five famous GSis Vauxhall and Opel are hoping we’ll remember.

Opel Kadett GSi 16v

Brits know this as the Astra GTE but on the Continent it was a Kadett GSi. Either way it was obscenely rapid in 16v form, its 156hp C20XE redtop hurling it to 60mph in just over 7sec - though it would have been in the sixes if it could have put the power down.

Opel Manta GSi (GT/E in the UK)

Like Ford’s Capri, the ‘80s Manta B was a relic from the previous decade, and 110hp left it struggling in the wake of contemporary hot hatches. But it was also a haven of affordable arse-out fun in a world that had fallen for front-wheel drive.

Opel Omega/Vauxhall Carlton GSi 3000 24v

The Lotus-engined Omega’s little brother didn’t quite have the pace to worry supercars but it still punched out 207hp and hauled the ugliest set of rear arches ever built to almost 150mph.

Opel Corsa GSi

It took GM an age to come up with a 205 GTi rival and when it did arrive ‘80s road testers seemed to reckoned the 101hp result wasn’t quite as good as the real thing.

That didn’t stop buyers hoovering them up though, and, like all Novas it’s a cult thing now. Badged as a GTE in the UK until the ’90 facelift.

Opel Vectra/Vauxhall Cavalier GSi 2000

Dropping the Astra 16v's C20XE into the Mk3 Cav/Vectra made life hard for the front wheels, but help was at hand in the form of a four-wheel drive option.

Great looking car, if not the sharpest to drive, but a 200hp turbo’d version without GSI branding soon took its place at the top of the range.

Opel Corsa GSi

Corsa Mk2 (or Mk1 if you’re in the UK) ditched creases for curves and the GSi got a Lotus-fettled 1600cc twin-cam. A hundred and ten horses was nothing to get excited about, but the overall package was strong.

Vauxhall Vectra GSi

The Vectra it’s okay to like, this wannabe touring car weapon was tuned by race team Motor Sports Developments, who fitted hotter cams to the 2.5 V6 to liberate 196hp. Later versions gained 100cc -but lost 19hp.

Vauxhall Zafira GSI

Opel badged this one OPC, but as a GSI in the UK it was powered by the same Z20 LET turbo 2.0-litre. A 191hp output meant zero-62mph in 7.4sec - as quick as a Mk5 Golf GTi, but with room for seven.

Tags: #new-era #modern-classics #vauxhall #opel #gm #general-motors #corsa #nova #vectra #cavalier #omega #carlton #manta #astra #kadett #insignia #sri #gsi #msd

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Comments (10)

  • You forgot one, which is probably the most iconic GSi-badged car, at least on this side (Italy) of the channel: the Astra GSi. No, I don't mean the Kadett GSi, there was a hatchback version of the Opel Astra fitted with the same C20XE 2.0 16v four banger, pushing out 150 hp. If you ask anyone who's been a young petrolhead back in the 90's, they will sure mention this car, and not only the 205 GTi.

      3 years ago
    • I had one back in the early 90s and I loved it. It was the last off a line off Vauxhall’s I owned before changing to Audi

        1 year ago
  • I owned a facelift Vectra GSi, loved and still miss it

      3 years ago
  • Ha! Good spot Sacha, now fixed!

      3 years ago
  • My other Astra GTE 16v from the 90’s.

      4 months ago
  • My Astra GTE 16v from the mid 90’s, complete with headlamp conversion.

      4 months ago