The Corsa GSi

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Opel has always been a brand that has been dear to our heart, however, over the years other manufacturers, namely Volkswagen has dominated the sales charts over Opel for a number of years. The introduction of the award-winning Opel Astra picked the fight up again and really gave Volkswagen something to think about. Unfortunately for Opel fans, the relentless efforts of the men in white lab coats at Wolfsburg have perfected the MQB platform and that has caused a lot of ruffling feathers for the motoring industry. However, Opel has started its assault of the market again by reintroducing the GSI moniker, a name that is loved by fans and feared by the competition, we recently had the opportunity to get our hands on the Opel Corsa GSI, a vehicle that was developed at the notorious Nürburgring. Below is an indication of how the Opel Corsa GSI impressed us over the past week.

Aesthetics

The interior is clad with premium materials, the highlight is the pair of Recaro developed seats that are meant to ensure that you are tucked in safely whilst providing ample comfort, it is very seldom that you have the best of both worlds in any aspect of life, you often compromise in one area or the other but these seats offer the epitome of comfort whilst providing ample support during spirited dashes. It’s a pity the seats don’t have the incredible cooling function equipped in the Grandland X, but, the heated steering wheel makes up for it. 

The positives don’t stop there, the interior is kitted with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and the ability to connect via Bluetooth, I was quite impressed at the ease of setting up the device, this does come in handy, especially when you don’t have all year to accustom yourself. Creature comforts include the highly intuitive 7′ Touchscreen IntelliLink Infotainment system for the audio controls which doubles up as a control centre for the dual-zone climate control. The steering wheel is filled with satellite controls for various functions that include cruise, volume and voice control, these features enable you to keep your eyes on the road without impairing your ability to keep on the straight and narrow.

Performance

The GSI is powered by a 1.4L turbocharged motor that produces 110kW and a respectable 220Nm that will propel you to 100 km/h in a claimed 8.9 seconds, it’s a pity that it’s  far off the pace of the Polo GTI and Renault Clio which achieve the big three at 6.6 and 6.5 seconds respectively, for the GSI top speed is claimed at 207 km/h. Where the Opel claws it back is on the handling characteristics the GSI possesses, the sport chassis will dispatch any corner without breaking a sweat and will blast you through any chicane or challenging road whilst instilling vast amounts of confidence, during my test tenure on many occasions I found myself entering and exiting corners at a far higher rate of knots than other cars I’ve had on test. I have previously mentioned that straight-line performance is not the ultimate benchmark and the GSI is a great representation of an alternative that can compete with the benchmark and even surpass it on a number of spheres. It’s a pity I have not had the Renault or the Polo on test, it would have been great to get a clear indication of how the GSI stacks up to the competition, but as things stand the Opel is arguably the most entertaining, engaging and inspiring car we have had.

Summary

I will admit that the GSI has reignited my love for the Opel brand, but it does fall short of my expectations, back in the 1980s and 90’s we were fortunate enough to have the likes of the Boss, Big Boss and Super Boss, those were cars that struck fear into the likes of the BMW 325is, Golf and Jetta VR6’s. Unfortunately, the GSI is lukewarm when it comes to the performance front, 110kW is not sufficient and that in turn dampens the overall experience, its handling prowess reminded me of the charming Superboss, but it lacks that aspect that captures your heart, a dose of additional power would push it closer to the top of the hierarchical order and provide more incentive in selecting an alternative to their German rivals, Volkswagen.

Pricing

FROM R365,900

Features

  • 1.4L Turbo 110kW / 220Nm6 Speed Manual
  • Recaro Performance Front Seats
  • OPC SuspensionOPC Braking System
  • OPC Line Exterior Sport Pack​OPC Line Interior Pack
  • Bi-Xenon Cornering Lights

Warranty and Service

  • Warranty & Roadside Assistance 3 Years / 120 000 km 3 Years / 120 000 km 3 Years / 120 000 km
  • Anti-Corrosion Warranty 12 Years / Unlimited km 12 Years / Unlimited km 12 Years / Unlimited km
  • Service Intervals 12 Months / 15 000 km 12 Months / 15 000 km 12 Months / 15 000 km
  • Service Plan 3 Years / 60 000 km 3 Years / 60 000 km 3 Years / 60 000 km

Gottagged Rating

7.0 / 10

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