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What the Press said about the VXR8

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  • What the Press said about the VXR8

    Don’t mourn Monaro – here comes the VXR8!

    -New Vauxhall supersaloon on sale in July, priced at £34,995
    -6.0-litre V8, 420bhp, 0-60mph in 4.9 secs.
    -First VXR model available with an auto gearbox

    Motoring enthusiasts across Britain mourned the passing of the Monaro. The only Australian-built car to be sold in the UK offered raw and exciting performance thanks to its 6.0-litre V8 and rear-wheel drive set up.

    But the thunder from down under hasn’t stopped yet – in fact it’s only going to get louder. Vauxhall has announced the arrival of a new Aussie musclecar – the VXR8 – and it’s more powerful and exciting than even the legendary Monaro.

    The dramatic-looking new saloon is powered by the same 6.0-litre V8 as the outgoing Monaro VXR, but revisions to the engine have made it even more efficient. It now develops a massive 420PS and 550Nm of torque, giving it enough grunt to sprint from 0-60mph in just 4.9 seconds. No other supercar offers this sort of power for anywhere near the VXR8’s price.

    Yet the VXR8, based on Australia’s Holden HSV Clubsport R8, offers more in the way of practicality than the outgoing Monaro, with four doors and space for all the family.

    Although practical, with a spacious boot, comfortable, long-legged cruising ability and luxuries such as climate control and leather trim, the VXR8 is certainly no softie. Driver aids such as the stability system and traction control can be turned off at the flick of a switch – perfect for drivers who want to hone their skills on a track day!

    And VXR8 goes as well as it stops, too, with powerful 365mm front disc brakes that slow the car down from 60mph to a standstill faster than a Lamborghini Murcielago or BMW M5.

    In response to customer demand, the VXR8 will also be the first VXR model to be offered with an automatic gearbox. In order to maintain the control which VXR buyers require, the optional £1,400 self-shifter has a manual override and a sport settings which ensure the performance isn’t blunted – in fact the auto is only half a second slower to 60mph than the manual!

    Satellite navigation and 20-inch wheels will be offered as options for those who want to make their VXR8 look more distinctive and help find their way to the best driving roads. Even with all the option boxes ticked however, the VXR8 is still around half the price of other cars with comparable performance. As all fast car fans know, Aussie rules…….
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  • #2
    VXR8, 6.0iV8 (LS2),, 05/07
    Date: 17 May
    By: Sam Hardy

    Rating: 4/5

    If you're looking for an honest performance saloon that offers real 'bang-for-yer-buck', the VXR8 is it.

    There's a rumble from Down Under and it's heading our way! The fastest and meanest Vauxhall saloon since the legendary Lotus Carlton is set to leave its Australian home for UK showrooms later this year.

    This is the VXR8, Vauxhall's replacement for another Aussie-built bruiser, the Monaro coupé, which was launched in Britain in 2003.

    Hoping to build on that model's popularity, the VXR8 is totally fresh from the ground up, swapping its predecessor's two-door shape for a more practical saloon body.

    The newcomer is based on the Holden VE HSV Clubsport R8 and shares the forthcoming Chevrolet Camaro's platform. Power is provided by a huge 6.0-litre V8 engine from the Chevrolet Corvette, putting the car at the top of Vauxhall's VXR range. The VXR8 will be available from June, offering enough performance to worry BMW's M5 - at about half the price! The Luton manufacturer's entry is to cost £35,105.

    With a deep lower air intake and projector headlights, the VXR8 has plenty of road presence. But it's the muscular tail that really stands out on the move, featuring bright LED lamps, a huge rear wing and aero-dynamic venturi tunnels.

    Inside, there's plenty of space, in-cluding an amazing amount of legroom in the back, as well as a huge boot. The dashboard is suitably racy, featuring white-backed dials - complete with a shift-up light on the rev counter - and three centre console gauges. However, despite electrically adjustable leather-and-suede bucket seats and a chunky, flat-bottomed steering wheel, it doesn't feel as special as it perhaps could. There's too much dark plastic, and the quality doesn't quite come up to scratch, with flimsy materials in places.

    However, fire up the engine, and the performance exceeds all expectations. We've already tried the 6.0-litre V8 in the Holden Commodore SS V (Issue 942). Instead of producing the 360bhp of that machine, though, here it pumps out 414bhp and a monstrous 550Nm of torque.

    That's enough for a 0-60mph time of less than five seconds, and a top speed of around 170mph.

    But it's the in-gear responses that really impress. The power delivery is seemingly endless, and with all that torque you hardly ever need drop a gear to overtake. Then there's the engine note - a thumping off-beat rumble that sounds very similar to a NASCAR race car. And the fun factor continues with the chassis. With a near-50/50 front/rear weight distribution and all-new multi-link rear suspension, the VXR8 is brilliantly balanced on the road.

    Agility is impressive for such a large car, too. The ride is firm but compliant - and, combined with a long sixth gear, high-speed cruising is relaxed. The brakes are outstanding, stopping the VXR8 more quickly from 62mph than a Lamborghini Gallardo can manage.

    Plus, of course, it feels every inch the aggressive Aussie V8 saloon. Switch off the ESP stability control, and you can spin the rear tyres with ease, while meaty steering and a heavy six-speed gearchange mean there's muscle needed for the controls. If you prefer an easier life, you can specify the optional £1,400 six-speed automatic gearbox, but it won't make much difference to the fuel economy, which is a pretty horrendous 15.2mpg on the combined cycle for the manual. And CO2 emissions are equally hefty at 365g/km.

    Yet those figures are hardly likely to worry buyers. There's nothing else like the VXR8 on the road. And, at this price, we reckon Vauxhall will have no trouble finding customers for the 350 models which will be imported from Australia each year.
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