With Opel and Vauxhall now owned by France’s PSA Group, a period of significant changes is underway for the German and British brands.
Their cars are currently switching to PSA’s engines, platform, and technology. However, Opel and Vauxhall’s shared GM heritage isn’t that easy to shake off. Take Vauxhall, for instance, which for many years has used the VXR sub-brand for its high-performance models.
VXR has been synonymous with both big V8 sedans and coupes sourced from Holden and performance versions of its Opel-sourced lineup.
But now Opel and Vauxhall are reviving warm GSi-badged variants, leaving question marks over the future of VXR- and OPC-branded models. GSi models offer decent performance along with lower emissions and better fuel economy than full-fledged VXR/OPC models.
Despite the “GSi-fication” trend which is set to continue, Opel and Vauxhall won’t shelve the OPC and VXR badges just yet. Apparently, those sub-brands could be used for a new generation of performance-oriented hybrid and electric models.
Although nothing is set in stone yet, the next-generation OPC and VXR cars will likely use electrified powertrains sourced from the PSA Group. “VXR isn’t in the range currently, but it doesn’t mean VXR is dead by any stretch,” Vauxhall product manager Naomi Gasson told Autocar.
The executive admits that stricter emissions rules in Europe have forced Vauxhall to go with the middle ground. Still, “VXR hasn’t been killed off,” she adds. The truth is GSi models appeal to more people because of their more comfortable ride and lower fuel and insurance costs. However, they aren’t hardcore enough for the VXR fanbase.
Vauxhall will “hopefully” offer high-performance cars in the future for those enthusiasts, Gasson says. If you ask us, Opel and Vauxhall might want to consider hurrying up with those new OPC and VXR models as rivals offer plenty of alternatives.
Note: 2017 Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R, 2016 Vauxhall Corsa VXR pictured