Delta has launched the Opel Astra 2,2 Gsi, given the Astra Coupé Turbo a power boost and added a sporty 1,6-litre derivative.Delta has launched the Opel Astra 2,2 Gsi, given the Astra Coupé Turbo a power boost and added a sporty 1,6-litre derivative.

It’s been more than 10 years since the legendary two-litre 16-valve Opel Kadett Superboss bowed out, but its spiritual successor, the 108 kW Opel Astra 2,2 GSi, is far more civilised.

In South Africa, the GSi nomenclature has become synonymous with high-performance Opels and production car racing. The Opel range currently offers a GSi version of its Opel Corsa range, the recently-launched Astra 160 Sport and uprated Coupé Turbo (more about those models tomorrow) and the range-topping Opel Astra 2,2 GSi.

Many hot hatch enthusiasts will undoubtedly remember the GSi's heyday - when the 1,8-litre eight-valve Kadett burst on to the scene in the mid 'Eighties. By the time Delta launched the three-door two-litre eight-valve Kadett, which took the battle to the Volkswagen Golf II 16V or "The King" in what was then known as Group N racing, the GSi was affectionately dubbed "The Boss".

But that's not where it ended. Cosworth in England developed a 115 kW two-litre 16-valve Kadett and it was launched in South Africa in the early-'90s. "The Big Boss", as the car became known, was homologated and did fierce battles with the BMW 325iS "Shadowlines" in class A of Group N with Michael Briggs and Roddy Turner at the wheel.

The final incarnation of the Kadett GSi to be sold in South Africa was "The Superboss". Fitted with a limited-slip differential and a two-litre 16-valve tuned to produce 125 kW, the black-rimmed Kadett GSi became an instant collector's item. But does the new 2,2 GSi, with its Irmscher body and interior specification, set a new benchmark for the GSi badge?

The 2,2 GSi's Z22SE powerplant, featuring electronic engine management, traction control plus (TCP) and cruise control, is the first of a new generation of four-cylinder ECOTEC engines with aluminium cylinder heads and cylinder blocks.

The engine is claimed to develop 108 kW at 5 800 r/min and 203 N.m of torque at 4 000 r/min. Despite its larger capacity the 2,2 litre engine is as compact as the Opel two-litre engine and about 10 per cent lighter, Delta claims. This is partly due to the use of a roller chain to drive the two overhead camshafts that operate the valves via needle roller bearing cam followers - a system that generates less friction than the bucket type tappet system it replaces.

The timing chain has a hydraulic tensioner that requires no routine maintenance or adjustment over its entire working life and thanks to hydraulic valve clearance adjustment, no tappet clearance adjustment will be required either - the manufacturer claims.

Delta says the 2,2 GSI will accelerate from rest to 100 km/h in 9,5 seconds and reach a top speed of 214 km/h. At a steady 120 km/h fuel consumption is a claimed 8,6 litres/100 km. The figure returned for the urban cycle is about 10,8 litres/100 km.

The 2,2 GSi has 16-inch alloy wheels fitted with 205/50 VR 16 tyres, colour-coded rear tailgate spoiler, front and rear lip spoilers and rocker mouldings. But the interior of the vehicle gives the impression of "sporty executive" rather than boy racer.

The trim features Irmscher "alu" look centre console and gear knob, steering wheel and handbrake lever. Black leather seat bolsters, multi-function information display and electro chromatic rear view mirror are standard.

Other standard features include: ABS braking with EBD (electronic brake force distribution), driver, passenger, and side airbags, remote central door locking with speed sensor, electro-hydraulic power steering, interior light delay, sports instrumentation package with trip computer; air conditioning, cup holders (front), front and rear fog lamps, power side mirrors (driver's side is heated), power windows, six-speaker sound system with front load radio/CD combination, and cruise control.

For the 2003 model year, the Astra Turbo Coupé's turbocharged and intercooled Ecotec Z20LET engine receives a power increase from 141 kW up to 147 kW at 5 600 r/min According to the manufacturer, peak torque is now 250 N.m available from 2 000 r/min to 5 300 r/min.

Opel claims a zero to 100 km/h acceleration time of 7,5 seconds and a top speed of 245 km/h for the Coupé Turbo. Fuel consumption for the urban cycle is a claimed 12,4 l/100km and 6,7l/100km for freeway driving. "A combined fuel consumption of 8,8km/100km can be achieved," a Delta spokesman said.

The Coupé's turbocharger system consists of an exhaust manifold and turbo housing, together with other associated components, combined into a single module. That design shortens gas flow paths between the exhaust ports and the turbine.

The powerplant's engine computer system controls the turbo boost pressure (a maximum of 1,84 bar is allowed) via a wastegate and rotary valve, both integrated into the turbo module; drive by wire accelerator inputs; the mixture as indicated by the hot-film air mass meter; the sequential fuel injection, and the engine ignition timing through individual-coil direct ignition.

Also new for the 2003 model year is a refreshed black cloth trim, featuring a 'waffle weave' design. The Astra Coupé is covered by a five-year/100 000 km Opel fixed cost motoring plan.

The Astra 1,6 Sport has become the Astra range's new entry-level car.

"This model is aimed at mostly younger age group buyers, that want to move up from the small car class," said Malcolm Gauld, Delta Motor Corporation Sales and Marketing Director.

"The Astra 1,6 Sport features Opel's 16-valve Ecotec engine technology, five speed transmission, electro-hydraulic power steering and contemporary interior styling package common to all vehicles in the Astra range," he added.

The 1,6 Sport produces 72 kW at 6 000 r/min with maximum torque of 142 N.m at 3 600 r/min. Opel engineers quote a zero to 100 km/h acceleration time of 11,5 seconds and a maximum speed of 193 km/h for the vehicle. Fuel economy figures of 7,7 l/100 km at 120 km/h and 9,4 l/100 km in the urban cycle are claimed.

As with other models in the Opel Astra range, the 1,6 Sport comes with a five-year/100 000 km Opel fixed cost motoring plan.

Standard features for the 1,6 Sport are: driver's side airbag, seatbelt pre-tensioners, side-impact beams, disc brakes all round, remote control central door locking with speed sensor automatic locking action, ultrasonic alarm system, interior light delay, sports instrumentation package including tachometer, rear fog lamps, six speaker radio/CD combination (front loading), cup holders (front) and time/date/ambient temperature display.

Original article from Car