What is the Vauxhall VXR8?
If you like old-school driving thrills, look no further than the Vauxhall VXR8. Based on the Australian-built Holden Commodore, it shoehorns a huge V8 engine into a four-door family saloon with quite extra ordinary results.
From its launch in 2007, the VXR8 offered buyers a 5967cc engine producing 411bhp, but by midway through 2008 that had been increased to 6162cc and 425bhp. That may seem a small difference, but increases in absolute bhp alone fail to tell you the whole story; the engineers also managed to extract more low and mid-range grunt from an already very grunty engine, so performance became noticeably more vivid, with 0-62mph taking barely five seconds.
For those of you not satisfied with those numbers, fear not. You can buy the Bathurst S version of the VXR8 with a Walkinshaw Performance supercharger. This nuclear warhead on wheels produces 564bhp and will catapult to 62mph in about 4.5 seconds.
In 2010 the standard VXR8 underwent some tweaks and gained new underpinnings. For the first time, buyers had the choice of two distinct models: a Clubsport that remained on the old chassis and the new GTS.
At just over £43,000 new, the Clubsport looked great value, its standard equipment including 19in alloys, limited-slip differential, performance suspension with magnetic ride control, electronic climate control, electrically adjustable sports front seats, leather-covered sports steering wheel and Bluetooth. For leather upholstery and more aggressive styling, you need to track down a GTS, which has 20in alloys, twin air scoops on bonnet and aero-style vented front wings.
With huge power, a glorious engine note and ferocious appetite for fuel, the VXR8 is a throwback to a time when going green meant painting your lounge and CO2 was something you heard discussed in a chemistry lab. Whether cars like the VXR8 will still be built in a decade’s time remains to be seen.
What to look out for when buying a used Vauxhall VXR8
Despite its huge power, the VXR8 engine is not under great stress and should last a lifetime.
Although it sells only in tiny numbers, you should be reassured that the car’s electronic systems, switchgear and trim have all been tested to destruction in other GM, Holden and Opel products. So while some of its rivals may have the spirit of a flighty racehorse, the equally pacy VXR8 has the heart of a pit pony. Keep the fuel topped up, the oil clean and the tyres fresh and your VXR8 should last a lifetime.
The one to buy
Vauxhall VXR8 GTS auto
- £51,280 (new)
- 6162cc, V8
- 425bhp @ 6000rpm
- 405 lb ft @ 4600rpm
- 6-speed automatic
- 0-62mph in 5.0sec
- Top speed:
- 20.9mpg (combined)
- Road tax band:
- L 4988mm, W 1899mm, H 1457mm