Never mind the small steel wheels, the production car will get beefy alloys.

After a long hiatus, the “GSi” badge is finally back in business for the Insignia Grand Sport and Sports Tourer dynamic duo and now Opel is getting ready to give the smaller Astra a similar performance treatment. Caught on camera with barely any camouflage on it, the near-production prototype had the familiar sporty bits seen on the Insignias, including the red accents and beefy front air vents featuring silver surroundings.

2019 Astra facelift caught:

The back of the car exhibits a pair of exhaust tips in line with those of the Insignia GSi, together with a bumper design that seems to have been borrowed from the Astra OPC Line Sport Pack. For some reason, the hot hatchback was riding on small steel wheels, but it goes without saying the final model will receive large alloy wheels likely measuring 18 inches to go along with those chunky Brembo brakes featuring red calipers.

It will be interesting to see what will power the Astra GSi, but expect output to stand at well over the 200 hp (147 kW) delivered by the turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline engine offered for the regular model. The Insignia twins have a larger 2.0-liter with 260 hp, but it seems highly unlikely the smaller car will be able to match that. Our money is on an upgraded variant of the 1.6 with somewhere in the region of 230 hp. Another plausible scenario would be to detune the bigger engine.

Let’s also keep in mind Opel has a new biturbodiesel 2.0-liter engine good for 210 hp (154 kW) and a torquetastic 480 Nm (354 lb-ft) in the performance Insignias, though it’s too early to know whether it will find its way inside the Astra GSi’s engine bay to fight the VW Golf GTD and the diesel Focus ST.

As to when we will see it in the metal, March 2018 at the Geneva Motor Show is our guess, following an online reveal at the beginning of the year. An OPC model could arrive further down the line with more of everything, including all-wheel drive to fight the Focus RS and Golf R.

Photos: CarPix

Gallery: 2018 Opel Astra GSi spy photos

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