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The Holden hybrid we never had! The 2023 Opel Astra GSe is a sporty hatch that's making us jealous

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A sight we’ll likely not see on our roads, regrettably, is Opel’s sporty Astra GSe hybrid hatch.
A sight we’ll likely not see on our roads, regrettably, is Opel’s sporty Astra GSe hybrid hatch.

When GM pulled the plug on Holden and Opel became part of Stellantis, we lost not only the Holden Commodore and its derivations, we lost the likelihood that overseas models yet to come would land on our shores.

Now, here we are missing out on the 2023 Opel Astra GSe, a plug-in hybrid hatchback with designs on being a sporty, range-topper for the nameplate we used to see flying out of dealerships in Australia.

Launching a new sub-brand for Opel, focused on sporty electrified models, GSe is part of the push for Opel to go fully electric by 2028.

Two versions of the Astra GSe, a hatchback and a wagon, debut with model-specific outputs from their shared hybrid drivetrains. A 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine is already found in a more standard Astra PHEV, though here the hybrid system and petrol engine combine to make 165kW and 360Nm.

Opel has given no performance data aside from saying the models (both hatch and wagon) will “will match the best in their respective classes for launch from a standstill, acceleration and maximum speed”.

As reported earlier this year, Peugeot’s 308 GT PHEV will have an output of 165kW and 360Nm, indicating that it’ll share a drivetrain and setup. It might be the closest we get to the Astra GSe here.

The GSe will however have unique chassis tuning compared to its stablemates, including a stiffer chassis and a 10mm lower suspension setup. Specific spring rates and oil-filled Koni dampers are part of the package, while ESP settings are also adjusted to allow more dynamic driving.

A set of 18-inch wheels inspired by Opel’s retro Manta GSe ‘ElektroMod’ concept are also included in the unique additions for the GSe, and the styling of the front of the car gets a little more of an aggressive design.

The GSe badge name itself comes from the ‘Grand Sport Einspritzung’ (or Grand Sport Injection in English) badge seen on the Opel Commodore GS/E, a model which began production in 1967.

Opel shifted the meaning of the badge slightly to fit the future, and in English it now stands for ‘Grand Sport electric’, signifying its presence on the bootlids of the Opel sub-brand’s electrified models.

Don’t watch this space for local availability details, there won’t be any. Sorry.

Chris Thompson
Journalist
Racing video games, car-spotting on road trips, and helping wash the family VL Calais Turbo as a kid were all early indicators that an interest in cars would stay present in Chris’ life, but loading up his 1990 VW Golf GTI Mk2 and moving from hometown Brisbane to work in automotive publishing in Melbourne ensured cars would be a constant. With a few years as MOTOR Magazine’s first digital journalist under his belt, followed by a stint as a staff journalist for Wheels Magazine, Chris’ career already speaks to a passion for anything with four wheels, especially the 1989 Mazda MX-5 he currently owns. From spending entire weeks dissecting the dynamic abilities of sports cars to weighing up the practical options for car buyers from all walks of life, Chris’ love for writing and talking about cars means if you’ve got a motoring question, he can give you an answer.
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