Review: Vauxhall VXR8 (2007 – 2018)
Huge amount of performance and rear-drive fun for the money. Thunderous V8. Surprisingly practical with four-door body and large boot.
V8 engine has an insatiable thirst for fuel. Group 50 insurance. Residual values aren't great.
Vauxhall VXR8 (2007 – 2018): At A Glance
- Insurance Group 50
- On average it achieves 115% of the official MPG figure
The Vauxhall VXR8 GTS costs around £55,000, has all the subtlety of tank and is about as efficient as one, with official economy of 18.5mpg. For the average car buyer – even one who appreciates high performance – there’s nothing about it that makes any sense. But if your life is like a big game of Top Trumps then its blend of price and performance will hold lots of appeal.
The brutal, 6.2-litre supercharged V8 produces 585PS and a huge 740Nm of torque – figures that wouldn’t look out of place for a supercar. Performance is suitably impressive – 0-62mph takes 4.2 seconds and top speed is limited to 155mph. If you want a new car with more than 500PS there is no cheaper option.
Drive is sent to the rear wheels, so judicious use of the throttle pedal is essential in order to maintain traction, whether the manual or automatic transmission is specified. That said, the VXR8 isn’t just a crude way of destroying expensive tyres – it has selectable drive modes, clever suspension and electronics that try hard to keep things on the straight and narrow.
The result is surprisingly capable handling and cornering grip. Even so, it won’t take fools lightly - more effort and delicacy is required to drive a VXR8 than something like an all-wheel drive Audi RS model though bends. It’s the same story in town. The VXR8 GTS is big, making multi-storey car parks and narrow streets something of a challenge.
On the plus side, that size means it’s practical. The back row is more than big enough to seat adults in comfort and the boot is big – though the lack of a hatchback limits its usefulness. Build quality isn’t bad, but nor is there anything particularly special about the dashboard layout or choice of materials – it just feels like any Vauxhall.
The only other car on sale with the same sort of muscular, blue-collar personality as the VXR8 is the Ford Mustang V8, which is significantly cheaper, but less powerful and less practical. For showing off, the VXR8 is great, but it’s also huge and thirsty, while there are better - albeit slower - driver’s cars on sale for less money.
What does a Vauxhall VXR8 (2007 – 2018) cost?
Vauxhall VXR8 (2007 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 496–2000 litres
The Vauxhall VXR8 GTS is actually made in Australia by Holden – which is immediately apparent from the driver’s seat, since most of the Holden badges are still present. It’s big compared to the average UK car, with spacious back seats with more than enough leg and headroom for adults, but its size means parking can be hard work.
Boot capacity is 496 litres, but since this is a saloon rather than a hatchback its practicality is limited. Getting bulky items in and out is impossible and the rear seats don’t fold, although there is a ski hatch. Up front the leather-trimmed seats are comfortable and supportive plus there is plenty of adjustment, meaning most drivers will be able to get comfortable.
The General Motors DNA is obvious despite the car hailing from the opposite side of the world. Material choices are typical Vauxhall – the dashboard is finished in hardwearing but soft-touch plastic, while switches and dials are embellished with fake chrome. The indicator and wiper stalks are back to front, but familiar from the Insignia and previous Astra.
Standard equipment is good – as you’d hope at this price. Leather upholstery, a touchscreen system with navigation, cruise control, a head up display and collision warning are all included in the price, along with an impressive BOSE audio system and heated seats. The automatic transmission costs an extra £1725, money better spent at a filling station.
VXR8 GTS comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, electric driver’s seat adjustment, heated front seats, multi-function steering wheel, BOSE audio, touchscreen, navigation and Bluetooth connection.
Child seats that fit a Vauxhall VXR8 (2007 – 2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Vauxhall VXR8 (2007 – 2018) like to drive?
- Engines range from 6.0i V8 to 6.2i V8 GTS 599 Automatic
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 18–25 mpg
Under the bonnet of the VXR8 GTS is a 6.2-litre V8 engine with a supercharger, producing peak power of 585PS and peak torque of 740Nm. Those are some seriously impressive numbers for a car priced at less than £60,000. But if you’re seeking an affordable performance car then think again – running costs are huge.
The official economy figure for the manual model is 18.5mpg, or 18mpg for the auto – meaning 10,000 miles a year would cost almost £3000 in fuel. Emissions are 363g/km, so VED costs £1120 in the first year and more than £500 annually afterwards (at pre-2017 rates). The VXR8 might offer impressive performance for its price, but it’s hardly a thrifty buy.
Howver, it's quick. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes just 4.2 seconds and top speed is limited to 155mph, numbers almost matched by the V8 Ford Mustang, a car that costs around £20,000 less and has a similar muscle car personality. The VXR8 has much more torque than the Mustang, though – 740Nm versus 530Nm.
The result is better in-gear acceleration. Overtaking requires nothing more than a gentle flex of the right foot – any more than that and the car feels like it might hit the horizon. The way the VXR8 picks up pace is very, very impressive. Plus it’s accompanied by a wonderful exhaust growl and whistling chirps from the supercharger. It feels genuinely special.
Drivers need to pay attention though. The VXR8 GTS is rear-wheel drive and unless you’re gentle with the throttle it will break traction even at higher speeds. Fortunately, with a delicate right foot it is surprisingly grippy through corners, helped by magnetic dampers that constantly adjust to the situation, blending decent comfort with good body control.
The steering is very well-weighted and accurate, enabling the driver to place the car with surprising deftness, despite its size and weight. The driver can choose from different driving modes which adjust suspension firmness, traction control and even the level of noise depending on situation, with Tour, Sport, Performance and Track settings.
In Tour mode the VXR8 GTS is genuinely quite civilised, burbling away noticeably but quietly and absorbing most bumps. The other modes sharpen things up, but regardless of which setting is selected the VXR8 is seriously quick and it corners in a way that belies its huge size. It’s a competent cruiser too – the engine isn’t straining at all at 70mph. It’s just a shame it has such an appetite for fuel.
The manual transmission is snappy and accurate but the automatic is sometimes a little clumsy and unpredictable, especially when accelerating out of corners. It can be overridden with steering wheel-mounted paddles, but even so the manual is probably a better bet, not least because it’s marginally more economical. Every little helps.
|6.0i V8||19 mpg||-||365 g/km|
|6.2i V8||19–21 mpg||4.9 s||320–364 g/km|
|6.2i V8 Automatic||21 mpg||5.0 s||324 g/km|
|6.2i V8 GTS||19–21 mpg||4.9–5.1 s||320–363 g/km|
|6.2i V8 GTS 599||19 mpg||5.1 s||363 g/km|
|6.2i V8 GTS 599 Automatic||18 mpg||5.2 s||373 g/km|
|6.2i V8 GTS Automatic||18–21 mpg||5.0–5.2 s||324–373 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Vauxhall VXR8 (2007 – 2018)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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