Vauxhall VXR8 GTS 2013-2017 review

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The VXR8 packs a supercharged 6.2-litre V8

New badging references the GTS’ 6.2-litre supercharged V8

These 20-inch, satin-finished forged alloys are standard on the GTS

Vauxhall claims that the VXR8’s projector headlights have a greater high beam range

LED daytime running lights are now divided from the headlight clusters and mounted below

The car’s GTS badging has been kept small lest it interferes with the supercharger’s gulping

The improved LED rear lights are positioned higher and no longer look lost in the bodywork

Of its rivals, only the Jaguar XFR-S is competing in the extravagant rear wing category

You won’t want for space up front

The seats offer a decent compromise between comfort and support

Instrument cluster is complemented by a heads-up display that projects speed and other readouts onto the base of the windscreen

Six-speed manual transmission sends power to the GTS’ rear wheels

Oil pressure and boost gauges sit ahead of the gear lever

The VXR8 can carry four adults in comfort

Not the largest boot in its class, but a capacity of 496 litres is competitive and will be sufficient for the demands of most

The VXR8’s 6.2-litre V8 puts out 577bhp and 546lb ft

The all-alloy engine has a compression ratio of 10.7:1

Buyers can opt for a six-speed automatic at a cost of £1700 but we wouldn’t recommend it

The GTS’ steering is electrically powered while magnetorheological dampers govern the ride

The VXR8 handles bumpy B-roads with impressive fluency

Stand on the brake pedal and the VXR8 will come to a halt from 60mph in 2.5sec

The Vauxhall’s brakes resist fade well – better than the M5’s, in fact

Holding flamboyant angles is effortless in the big Vauxhall

A mega-saloon worthy of its place in Australian car-making history

Close by Matt Prior 19 May 2014 Follow @matty_prior Share

How we test cars

So here it is: the UK’s cheapest way into the exclusive 500bhp-plus club; the most powerful car you can buy for less than £60k.

The Vauxhall VXR8 GTS qualifies just as well for either pitch, and by paragraph three of the press release, Vauxhall had gorged itself on both.

It’ll do 0-62mph in around 4.8sec, which is impressive given that it weighs 1880kgMatt PriorEditor-at-large

Who can blame it? Previous generations of the brand’s low-volume rebadged HSV models have prepped us well for such extravagance, but ‘576bhp for £54,999’ is such an unlikely collision of excess and affordability that it’s worth coming at it from all angles.

Vauxhall has been selling VXR8s in the UK since 2007 when the car effectively replaced the outgoing two-door Monaro. The model was based on the E-series HSV reworking of the Holden VE Commodore, a car underpinned by the GM Zeta platform developed exclusively in Australia.

It initially came with the 6.0-litre V8 LS2 before an upgrade to the 6.2-litre LS3 in 2008. The limited Bathurst edition was the first to introduce a supercharger to the V8 before the GTS was sold from 2011.

So, can the muscular new Vauxhall really rival the likes of the Jaguar XFR-S and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S? Let’s find out.


The VXR8 packs a supercharged 6.2-litre V8

Model tested: Rating: 9

Vauxhall VXR8 GTS 2013-2017

GoodEpic powerBeautifully measured rideAdhesive yet addictive handlingBadColossal emissionsInsatiable thirstMight never be this good again



New badging references the GTS’ 6.2-litre supercharged V8

As has been typical of all VXR8s, any attempt to link this model to the immediate Vauxhall family tree is pointless.

In Australia, the GEN-F GTS is more obviously a hardcore version of the VF Commodore saloon; in the UK, it’s a standalone item, with improbable measurements that confirm its position as a one-off in GM’s UK passenger car line-up. Only the even more Australian Maloo UTE, with its 537bhp V8 and price tag that puts the pick-up within almost £1000 of the VXR8 can claim any relationship.

Expect the VXR8 GTS to average around 18mpgMatt SaundersRoad test editor

Within the bow of this near five-metre car is a 576bhp, 546lb ft supercharged version of GM’s LS3 6.2-litre V8 – the same LSA variant used by the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and a cousin of the Corvette ZR1’s 638bhp LS9.

While HSV had the luxury of selecting the LSA engine from GM’s parts bin, it was not simply a case of fitting the supercharged V8 straight into a Commodore’s engine bay and closing the bonnet.

Despite sharing its platform with the Chevrolet Camaro, HSV was forced to mount the motor very low in order to fit the Holden’s specific architecture and then significantly re-engineer the rear sub frame, fit a unique propshaft along with larger diameter half shafts and massively upgrade the rear differential to accommodate the dramatic increases in power and mechanical stress.

Even then, meeting the V8’s cooling requirements was a challenge. Between the radiator, engine oil cooler, the standalone transmission and differential coolers and the intercooler, the car sports eight heat exchangers, all of which require access to clear airflow.

Space also had to be found for the LSA’s bi-modal air intake system, which feeds air directly to the Eaton four-lobe supercharger. The blower’s displacement (1.9 litres compared to 2.3 litres) is the single biggest difference between the VXR8’s V8 and the 638bhp LS9 used in the Corvette ZR1. The former’s lower operating pressure meant that it was able to do without the expensive titanium connecting rods and forged pistons of the latter.

For immediate context, that means buyers will enjoy a 150bhp and 140lb ft increase over the previous, LS3-engined VXR8. For a wider frame of reference, , it means that the car is more powerful than an Audi RS6 or a Porsche Panamera Turbo.

Unlike those cars, the GTS sends its power exclusively to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox and a mechanical limited-slip differential. If that set-up has you imagining a simplistic old nail, forget it: brake torque vectoring, electric power steering and selectable drive modes are all standard on the new model.

The latest magnetorheological dampers – dubbed Magnetic Ride Control – also appear on what is still a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, with slightly wider 20-inch wheels at each corner. More prudently, the front and rear brake disc diameters increase and forged six-piston calipers are fitted.

The most noticeable update is reserved for the nose, where HSV calculated that a total of 130,000mm2 of open space would be required to satisfy the new engine’s appetite for air. The new twin-nostril grille and huge lower intake are the result.

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