Now equipped with a supercharger, Vauxhalls performance saloon flagship is even more mental. The new Vauxhall VXR8 GTS is all about POWER.
Cars like the monstrous BMW M5 and Mercedes Benz E63 AMG, even the slightly outlandish Jaguar XFR-S, are like tailored suits. They’re cars that you wear as a leather and carbon fiber clad statement of sophistication and power. This isn’t like that. Instead of a classy tailored suit, the Vauxhall VXR8 GTS is a dirty mullet. And you don’t wear it like an expensive suit, rather you cling on for dear life as it roars down the road. It is totally insane.
And here’s why. Beneath all the agro yob styling is GM’s 6.2liter LSA V8 engine, complete with a supercharger to produce no less than 576hp and 545lb ft of torque – STREWTH. That’s 24hp more than BMWs M5 and 27hp more than Mercedes’ E63 AMG monster. What’s not more is the price, because this mullet on wheels costs just £54,999, which has to make it one of the all time performance bargains of the century.
What you get for your £54,999 is a whopping great engine, rear wheel drive, three pedals (or two, 6 speed auto is optional), and the most powerful production car ever to come from Down Unda. A country known for having a red head prime minister who can’t really talk properly and gets hit by random flying sandwiches regularly (she was ‘attacked’ with a salami sandwich today). This is a car built by a nation made up entirely of people whose names are ‘Mate’.
So we’re not exactly expecting the last word in sophistication here. On initial inspection, the VXR8 GTS does look as though it’s missing a few brain cells, just look at that excitable face and tacky rear wing. But, beneath the metal there are some very clever things going on indeed. To keep you pointing in vaguely the right direction is what Vauxhall calls Magnetic Ride Control and what everyone else calls adaptive dampers. They’ve got three stiffness settings, Touring, Sport, and Track – good.
At the back there’s an electronic limited slip differential with torque vectoring to stop the GTS spinning into a hedge at the slightest whiff of throttle. There’s even a switch next to the gear lever that controls all of the various chassis and engine settings depending on your mood, adjusting exhaust sound, chassis stiffness, electric power steering weight, launch control, torque vectoring, and the traction control nannies.
Australian roads a chocker’s full of random roo’s, mate, so big brakes are essential. The Vauxhalls stopping power comes from massive 390mm discs up front clamped by six piston calipers and a 372mm four piston setup at the rear. The VXR8 GTS rides on 20″ alloys shod in 275 section tyres at the rear and 255’s up front by Continental Tyres, who apparently designed the tyre specifically for Holdens mental mates over at HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) who supply Vauxhall with the VXR8 GTS.
In Australia a particular sort of person buys this car. The sort of person who has an apartment by the beach, a ski boat jammed full of speakers and a pair of jet skis, but believes that literally everything that isn’t made in Australia hides a small gold sticker reading ‘Made in China’ and £7 bottles of wine are classy – essentially a well off chav.
In the UK things may be a little different, because what the Aussie yob provides is performance to potentially out perform the established super saloons at around £18,000 less. It could in fact be a car for the thinking enthusiast. Vauxhall haven’t yet released performance figures, but something in the low four-second range should be expected for the 0-62mph dash. The outgoing 435hp car surpasses 62mph in 4.9 seconds.
The interior quality no longer reflects the small price either. The dash is covered in what appears to be suede and tasty carbon fiber. It’s a massive upgrade from the nasty sub-Korean grade grey plastic that filled the old model. There is however, a problem. The satnav will sound odd and attempt to slot a ‘mate’ into every sentence, but it’s a minor niggle really.
There’s some other cool technology inside as well. You get a heads up display which shows all manner of different things depending on your driving mode, Track mode features a cool g force meter which doubles as a hoon meter. Standard kit also includes a forward collision alert system, lane departure warning system, and auto park assist to make parallel parking this 1700kg behemoth a doddle.
There’s no denying that the Vauxhall VXR8 GTS is a huge amount of car for the money, but is the Aussie yob too brash for Britain? If you want to go really fast for not very much money, you probably won’t care.
By Aiden Taylor (@AidenT_RD)