WATCH | The Opel Corsa GSi looks damn good in red

Image: Warren Wilson
Image: Warren Wilson

Within the next 24 months, the all-new Opel Corsa will arrive on showroom floors.

And while the excitement around the new car is rife, we still have the current generation to contend with.

Admittedly, the current Corsa lags the competition in a number of areas and does it find itself almost hidden in a sea of hatchbacks.

To shed some light on the Corsa-range again, Opel launched a hot version of the car in South Africa too. Not an OPC, but a GSi version.

It has heritage

The GSi name carries a certain amount of appeal and heritage so it can't just be spoken of nonchalantly. In earlier years, the GSi badge was only used on the Opel Kadette, so it’s a bit strange to see it return on the Corsa and not the Kadette’s modern-day successor, the Astra.

The Corsa GSi is available only with three doors: two at the front and a third to open the boot. That immediately has an impact on how the car portrays and carries itself; quite a literal throwback to Opel’s OPC products. The rear is a bit of a let-down, though. A single exhaust pipe to the left of the bumper, the spoiler, and the GSi badge are about the only giveaways that this is a special car. One would’ve liked to see a rear diffuser – even if just for some eye candy – as it would have surely added to the impression and message the car sends out.

READ: GSi returns! Opel slaps GSi badge on its Corsa

Regardless, it remains a ball of fun to drive this pocket rocket. Sending the engine’s 110kW and 220Nm to the front wheels is done via a six-speed manual gearbox. The unit’s short throw-action is addictive and modulating the clutch and accelerator for maximum fun never gets tired. Opel claims a 0 – 100km/h time of 8.9 seconds, and a top speed of 207km/h. These figures will not headline any notice boards, but at least the driving experience will be rewarding.

Wheels24 Janine Van der Post says: The Opel GSi is a pocket rocket of note. It's feisty off the line and just wants to blast off. And, it's one hot-looking little hatchback. That 1.4-litre engine is a boon and its short-ratio six-speed manual gearbox's second and third gears are vivacious. It sits on grippy 18" tyres and is just a nimble machine on any road.

It's styling is edgy and definitely has boy- or girl-racer appeal, but it's inside where this little gem shines. The upholstery  is wrapped in leather cladding, and the highlight is most certainly the Recaro performance front seats, along with the sports steering wheel, and aluminium pedals.
Priced at R365 900, we're talking top-of-the range Ford Fiesta, or even VW Polo GTI in terms of performance, however while the Corsa GSi might have less elbow or legroom on the inside, it's not a car built for family comfort, it's made for absolute fun, or a very nippy daily commute for young couples.

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