Throwback Review | Opel Corsa GSi a bag of fun in a small, concise package

2020 Opel Corsa GSi. Image: Warren Wilson
2020 Opel Corsa GSi. Image: Warren Wilson
Warren Wilson

• GSi the curtain call to current Corsa range

• 1.4T engine packs 110kW/220Nm

• Slick six-speed manual fitted

A story always has two sides, and if you want to form an objective opinion on a matter, you'll listen to both. In the Opel Corsa's case, you have to ensure that you have your facts straight.

Compared to its rivals, the Corsa is one of the oldest - if not the oldest - car in its segment. No, we're not referring to when the car first made its appearance, but when this specific generation first came to market.

In 2015, Opel launched its Corsa, but where rivals made do with updates here and there, the Corsa was not so lucky. Why? Because General Motors - then-parent company - had no money to spend. Opel was running at an annual loss, which brought about a massive change: It was bought by Peugeot Societe Anonyme (PSA Peugeot Citroën). Long story short, an all-new Corsa will see the light in the coming months.

But in 2019, Opel brought a hot version of its Corsa to market, called the GSi. Was it perfect? No. But it delivered in spades. Still does!

Do you have a cool story to share about a sporty Opel? Or, do you own any older Opel version to tell us about? Please Email us your story and images.

Fun drive

Let's skip all the formalities regarding the exterior and interior, and jump right into the drive. I haven't giggled as much commandeering a hatchback as I did with the GSi. The little car weighs a measly 1214kg, which means that it tucks in nicely into a corner. The low weight can result in the car feeling too loose when thrashing it, but because of the 18-inch tyres on the extreme edges of the car, you can be assured of ample grip and body rigidity.

The engine is a small 1.4-litre unit, but thanks to a turbocharger it develops 110kW and 220Nm. It's not a lot, I know, but once you get cracking on the six-speed manual gearbox, you'll soon come to find a fun side to the car. It's almost addictive the way gears are hooked. The clutch feels solid, and the surety from the drivetrain encourages enthusiastic driving.

WATCH: The Opel Corsa GSi looks damn good in red

At one point, when pushing on, I managed to lift the left-rear tyre when attacking a corner with some vigour. It's a laugh!

A zero to 100km/h time of 8.9 seconds is not fast, and the 207km/h claimed top speed will not raise your hair. But the car does shine when the road twists and turns.

In summary

The Opel Corsa GSi borrows parts from the now-defunct Corsa OPC, and it does have a profound effect on how the car behaves and reacts when you push. In a very good way. The Corsa GSi does fall short against the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta when it comes to overall package, but neither will keep you on your toes like the GSi.

READ: Coming in 2020 - Opel's product offensive for the new year

Sadly, the Corsa GSi will be looked upon as an old car, with most disregarding the financial slump Opel has been in for the last 20-plus years. Opel never had the money to conjure the next Corsa OPC, but at least it scraped together a few cents to give us this GSi.

Thankfully, Opel is on the up and can we again look forward to a new future for this German automaker.

For the full review on the Corsa GSi, click here.

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