Used Vauxhall Vxr8
The Vauxhall VXR8 was first released in the UK in 2007. It is a high-performance car that was originally powered by a 6.0 litre V8 engine but since 2010 it has run on a V8 6.2 litre unit borrowed from the Chevrolet Corvette. There is also a special edition known as the VXR8 Bathurst which uses the same V8 engine but with a supercharger.
Bang for your buck
Essentially, the Vauxhall VXR8 is a rebadged HSV E3 GTS from Australian car manufacturer, Holden. It has the appearance of a typical modern Australian muscle car – brutal and brash. It is available in a range of brash colours and features several none-too-subtle external features such as its lairy spoiler, twin exhaust pipes, front LED running lights, air intakes and Shockwave grille.
Inside it comes with a full leather trim and two electronically adjustable bucket front seats. On the dashboard there is a 5 inch screen that displays all sorts of data coming from the on-board computer such as any understeer or oversteer that may be occurring, torque, power and g-force. This car is a proper five-seat, four-door performance car which has plenty of leg and head room and will accommodate up to three adults in the back, although the middle passenger will be a bit squished. There is a fair bit of room in the front as well and the boot is cavernous.
The VXR8 comes with plenty of safety equipment such as traction control, brake assist, ESP, electronic brakeforce distribution and anti-lock brakes. There are also 6 airbags, 3 Isofix anchor points for child restraints and rear seatbelt pre-tensioners. A clever 'emergency mode' will automatically switch off the fuel pump and engine, turn the interior and hazard lights on and unlock the doors providing battery power is not lost. Other features include iPod support, Bluetooth connectivity with touch-screen dialling, auxiliary and USB inputs, a tyre pressure monitor and a rear parking camera.
What you'll pay
Used Vauxhall VXR8 cars for sale are rare beasts as only 25 are imported into the UK each year. However, there are some out there, particularly the earlier 6.0 litre model. A 2007 6.0 litre version with around 40,000 miles on the clock will set you back just £12,500. A 2009 6.2 litre model can be found for around 18,000 whereas the 2011 model will be more like £35,000.
What to check
No reliability issues have appeared with either version of the VXR8. Low mileage examples should be fine but higher-mileage VXR8s may have been ragged for all of those miles so it's worth getting a mechanic to check a used VXR8 over before purchase. Check the tyres for uneven wear and make sure that all of the electrical components are working as any electronic faults can be expensive to rectify.
Replacement parts for the VXR8 are costly. For example, a set of brake pads will cost around £200. A replacement exhaust is well over £1000 and a new headlamp about £300. Servicing costs are also pretty high.
How it drives
The Vauxhall VXR8's drive is mind-blowing. It's not only the sheer power but also the car's dynamics which deploy the power to maximum effect. The taut chassis ensures superb body control and the suspension is out of this world. The VXR8 has two settings, Track and Performance and even the former works very well on the majority of roads. The steering is accurate and direct and the car goes precisely where you tell it to with no dramas.
The 6.2 litre V8 generates 425bhp at 6,000 revs and will reach 60mph in just 4.9 seconds. Its top speed has been limited to 155mph. The engine can be coupled to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission of which the manual is by far the best option. Fuel consumption is officially around 20.9mpg for the manual and 20.6 for the automatic. Real-life figures are likely to be quite a bit lower. The VXR8 for sale emits 320g of CO2 per km so road tax is a hefty £435 a year.
In summary, if you can afford one of these cars and aren't of the environmental persuasion, you should buy one. The drive is awesome and their rarity ensures that they hold their value well.