Press kit: Great Sport for All
- Sports car for everyman: 1966 Opel Rallye Kadett
- “i” for injection: New “GSi” name for sporty Opel models from 1984
- Pocket rockets: Corsa GSi generations from 1988 to 2012
- Comeback of a legend: New Insignia GSi in 2017
- Fifth generation: Corsa GSi returns
Opel’s motto has always been about innovations and making cars fun to drive. That is particularly true for sporty models with the lightning flash logo. The new Corsa GSi is therefore the latest in a long tradition. Especially as practically the first sports car for everyman (and woman) left the Opel assembly line 50 years ago.
Opel Rallye Kadett: Frugal fun in the fast lane
In 1966 a breathtaking fastback coupé came onto the market: 850 kilograms light, initially with 60 hp and already fast at a standstill – the Rallye Kadett. Just one year later, the fitting engine followed: The new four-cylinder engine produced a powerful 90 hp from 1,900 cubic centimetres. This meant that the weight-to-power ratio was less than 10 kilograms per hp – ideal conditions for motorsport as well. On the road, the 19S engine was to cause a sensation not only in the Rallye Kadett, but also in the legendary Opel GT.
By the end of production in July 1973, 103,622 Rallye Kadett cars had rolled off the production line at Opel. So the Opel sports car was accessible to many – like today's Corsa GSi. The name of the sporty successor model was once again inspired by the Opel GT. From 1975 the Kadett C proudly carried the additional designation GT/E. E for injection (Einspritzung in German) was the latest accomplishment, turning two litres of engine capacity into a spirited 115 hp in the new Opel Kadet GT/E. Zero to one hundred in 8.5 seconds, top speed of 190 km/h, rear-wheel drive – what more could a sporty driver’s heart want? The rally careers of an entire generation of drivers started with the fast Opel – from Guy Fréquelin to Walter Röhrl.
From GT/E to GSi: “Grand Sport injection” for the world
One vehicle generation later Opel changed the label for its popular sports cars from GT/E to GSi – “Grand Sport injection”. The international name and the ‘i’ for injection were to strengthen positioning in export markets. It all started in 1984 with the Kadett E and 115 hp from a lively 1,800 cubic centimetres. In 1988, the displacement of the Kadett GSi 16V increased again to two litres; thanks to two overhead camshafts and four-valve technology (sodium-filled exhaust valves!) output increased to 156 hp – 150 hp with a lambda-probe-equipped catalytic converter. A legendary engine, with which for instance the subsequent Formula 1 stars Jos Verstappen (1993), Jarno Trulli (1996) and Nick Heidfeld (1997) won the German Formula 3 Championship. So much power enabled the Kadett to sprint to 100 km/h in eight short seconds and propelled the GSi up to 215 km/h.
Now other model lines also benefited from the sporty GSi idea. In autumn 1984 the Manta GSi followed with 110 hp and from 1988, a car as dynamic as a motorcycle: ultra-compact, 820 kilograms light, with cheeky bold wheel arches, sport seats, output of 100 hp and 188 km/h fast. The first Opel Corsa GSi was born. All future model lines followed it. The Corsa B GSi 16V with 109 hp and a powerful low-end torque characteristic, the Corsa C GSi with 125 hp and a top speed of 202 km/h, and from 2007 the Corsa D GSi, for the first time with turbocharging and 150 hp from 1,600 cubic centimetres. In August 2012 the sporty Corsa’s time was over, and Opel took a break from GSi models. Until five years later when something exciting happened.
Impressive comeback at IAA: Opel Insignia GSi
At the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) the Opel Insignia GSi celebrated its world premiere and the GSi label its comeback. With the sporty Insignia as a limousine named Grand Sport and the Sports Tourer estate, two stars sparkled at the Opel stand. The Insignia GSi features a perfectly tuned chassis and all-wheel drive with torque vectoring for extreme driving precision and breathtaking cornering speeds.
The two-litre BiTurbo delivers 154 kW/210 hp and maximum torque of 480 Nm to the crankshaft (fuel consumption: urban 9.4 l/100 km, extra-urban 5.8 l/100 km, combined 7.1 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined 188-187 g/km). This takes the Opel Insignia GSi Grand Sport to a top speed of 233 km/h and the Sports Tourer to 231 km/h.
Just one year after the Insignia, Opel continues the saga with the Corsa GSi. The cornering artist is powered by a 1.4-litre Turbo petrol engine with 110 kW/150 hp (fuel consumption1: urban 8.0-7.7 l/100 km, extra-urban 5.5-5.1 l/100 km, combined 6.4-6.0 l/100 km, 147-138 g/km CO2). The small sports car accelerates from a standing start to 100 km/h in 8.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 207 km/h.
 Values measured according to WLTP and converted to NEDC for comparison.