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Vauxhall GSe electrified performance sub-brand launched

The new GSe moniker will replace VXR as the British firm's sporty model line, offering racier design and handling, with electrified and full EV powertrains in time

Vauxhall GSe

Following its commitment to go all-electric by 2028, Vauxhall has outlined plans for the future of its sporty models, with a new GSe sub-brand that will take the place of the old VXR range.

The initials stand for Grand Sport Electric, and the new editions will sit at the top of their respective model lines. They will initially be powered by plug-in hybrid powertrains, before turning fully EV to coincide with the brand's 2028 deadline.

According to Vauxhall's Acting Managing Director, James Taylor, “GSe will offer sports handling and looks combined with the performance and responsibility of electrified powertrains. Sitting atop the newly simplified Vauxhall range, the GSe name is both a nod to GSi performance models from our heritage as well being a complement to the GS versions in our line-up today.  Vauxhall is committed to electrifying Britain, and GSe shows that performance and driving pleasure are set to be part of our electric future.”

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It's thought that the firm's Astra five-door hatchback and Astra Sports Tourer estate could be the first models to receive the GSe treatment. The Astra is already available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain offering up to 180bhp, but this could be pushed further – potentially beyond 300bhp by drawing upon technology already available through parent company Stellantis.

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The Astra is based on the EMP2 platform, which also underpins the 355bhp Peugeot 508 by Peugeot Sport Engineered. However, while the Astra is partly powered by a similar 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, it's not yet known if the car will inherit the PSE's second electric motor on the rear axle to deliver e-four-wheel drive and the extra traction a performance-focused electrified hot hatch would need to be competitive. If it does, a sub-five-second 0-62mph time should be easily possible.

Vauxhall's GSe treatment is likely to go further than just the Astra. In confirming its GSe sub-brand, Vauxhall highlighted that its Grandland family SUV is also available as a plug-in hybrid, pointing towards the fact that this raised-up model is ripe for performance tuning, being based on the same underpinnings as the Astra. There’s also a strong business case, with higher profit margins on performance SUVs.

The British brand already sells many fully electric models, with the Corsa supermini and Mokka SUV both available with full-EV powertrains. An all-electric Astra-e is set to join the line-up next year too, and it's possible that these three cars will be available in all-electric GSe form in the future.

Teasing the GSe sub-brand with a badge that shows bright lettering and gloss black trim – a combination seen on sister firm Opel's Manta GSe ElektroMOD revealed last year – it's likely that these colours will become the GSe signature, with accents applied to cars to highlight their halo status.

Vauxhall has confirmed it will release more information on the GSe sub-brand in due course.

Click here for our list of the best electric cars on sale right now...

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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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