RAC Cars News


Vauxhall Chasing Premium Brands With New VXR8 GTS

By raccars Published

After an attempt to smarten up its brand image with its new Cascada drop top, Vauxhall is aiming for a chunk of the premium sports saloon market with its updated version of the badge engineered Holden HSV. With a price tag of £54,999, the new VXR8 GTS is more expensive than the previous version but significantly undercuts self-imposed rivals such as the Jaguar XFR-S, BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.

The new VXR8 GTS is campaigning on an impressive 576bhp power output. This comes from the same 6.2 litre supercharged engine that fires the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and drives a rear wheel drive, six speed manual gearbox, with the option of a six speed automatic. While actual performance details are thin on the ground at the moment, this VXR8 GTS is significantly more powerful than its predecessor and is expected to be substantially quicker than that car's 0-62mph time.

In order to handle the new car's brute force, a host of modern technology has been fitted to handle dynamic control issues – think Magnetic Ride Control, torque vectoring that automatically balances braking and power to the inner and outer rear wheels to avoid understeer on corners. Three suspension settings are added to four driving modes activated by a Driver Preference Dial. This applies optimum stability, traction and launch control among other features. The transmission and differential each have their own cooling system while the engine gets water to oil cooling and at the other end the bi-modal silenced exhausts get high flow manifolds.

On the outside too the new car has received considerable revisions, with additions to the front end including a massive air intake skirt, DRLs, wider tyres on 20 inch alloy wheels, double exhausts to each side, a serious rear spoiler and LED tail lights. The cabin has also seen some attention, with more luxurious seating, a head up display instrument panel and safety features such as lane departure and forward collision warning systems.

Despite its technological prowess and attempts to install luxury details, the VXR8 GTS lacks the stylistic and on road sophistication of its premium brand rivals, looking more likely to appeal to fans of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. Vauxhall can be commended however for a good social climbing effort.

The new VXR8 GTS is available to order now with the first deliveries expected in December. Vauxhall is due to release more information in July, hopefully including confirmation of a Tourer edition down the line.

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