Vauxhall VXR8 (2007–2018)
- July 2007: Monaro-replacing VXR8 goes on sale
- May 2008: New 6.2-litre V8 engine announced giving improved in-gear performance
- December 2008: Supercharged VXR8 announced
- February 2009: Bathurst edition added to the range
- December 2010: New styling and interior for facelifted VXR8
- March 2011: VXR8 pricing details
Monaro-replacing VXR8 goes on sale
RHD rear-drive Australian built Holden saloon rebadged Vauxhall on sale in UK from July, priced at £34,995, 6.0-litre V8, 420PS, 550Nm torque, 0-60mph in 4.9 secs. Manual or auto transmission. 4,941mm long x 2,174mm wide.
New 6.2-litre V8 engine announced giving improved in-gear performance
Transmission oil cooler standard on auto. Addition of Heron White to colour choice. Option of 20-inch alloys. Known as LS3, the new V8 engine’s capacity grows from 5967cc to 6162cc, and thanks to various improvements over the outgoing LS2 unit, such as high-flow cylinder heads, new pistons and an enhanced valvetrain, power is up to 431PS at 6000rpm.
This translates to a reduced 0-60mph time for cars with automatic transmissions (down from 5.0 seconds to 4.9) and improved in-gear acceleration for manuals (50-70mph in 3rd gear drops from 2.8 to 2.6 seconds; 30-50mph in 2nd gear drops from 2.0 to 1.9 seconds). And 80-100mph times fall from 4.3 to just 4.0 seconds in 4th gear. Same emissions and fuel consumption as outgoing LS2. Prices for both manual and automatic versions of the LS3-powered VXR8, which are on sale now, rise by £485 to £35,695.
Supercharged VXR8 announced
VXR8 Supercharged announced December 2008 with 532bhp at 6,000rpm and 568 lb ft torque at 4,400rpm. 0-60 in 4.8, top speed 180, price £48,190.
Bathurst edition added to the range
Thanks to the addition of a Walkinshaw Performance 122 Supercharger, the VXR Bathurst S dispenses 560 V8 horsepower, compared with the standard car’s 431 horsepower, and produces searing acceleration throughout the rev-range and a spine-tingling, banshee wail when you hit the loud pedal.
The Bathurst S Edition joins the normally aspirated Bathurst Edition at the top of the Vauxhall family tree, with both cars receiving a raft of technical and cosmetic upgrades over the standard VXR8. Only a limited number of Bathurst Editions will be sold through selected Vauxhall retailers.
To exploit the Bathurst’s greater power potential, six-pot front and four-pot rear callipers are now standard on both models, along with stiffer, height-adjustable springs and Walkinshaw-developed coil-over dampers. The bespoke damper units have 15 separate valve settings with independent corner adjustment for the owner’s preferred setup. Dynamically, both Bathursts retain the VXR8’s much praised ride quality, but body control is enhanced and the handling made more exploitable for the enthusiastic driver.
At the heart of the Bathurst S is Walkinshaw’s 122 Supercharger, which not only boosts power by 30 per cent, but escalates torque from an eye-catching 550Nm to an eye-watering 715Nm. Such is the strength of the LS3 V8 engine that extracting bigger figures would have been possible, but retaining the VXR8’s driveability and durability was Walkinshaw’s priority. The comprehensively engineered package also includes a large capacity intercooler, high-flow fuel injectors, a separate cold air intake and Walkinshaw-developed ECU map, while the standard manual gearbox is upgraded with a high-torque capacity clutch.
As with most supercharged cars, the S’s power delivery is exceptionally linear, with a huge slug of torque available from very low down in the rev range; but push the engine towards its redline and there’s no let up in the car’s performance, just a seamless stream of power.
Outside, both Bathursts are instantly recognisable by their distinctive graphic packs, front fog light covers and ‘Bathurst’ badges (only the addition of a discreet ‘S’ badge reveals the supercharged model’s extra 129PS), while inside a console-mounted badge showing the car’s build number complements the ‘Walkinshaw Performance’ tread plates found inside each door opening.
Putting icing on the cake for serious drivers is the option of the new Bi-Modal Exhaust, which is available on both Bathurst models. Raising power by up to 10PS, the ingenious system allows drivers to select one of two noise settings: ‘Street’, with an upper limit of 92dbA, or ‘Optimum’, which releases the LS3 V8’s full 102dbA. The two-and-a-half inch diameter system is manufactured from stainless steel with unique chrome tail-pipe finishers and costs £1,600.
Both Bathurst models retain the VXR8’s standard colour palette, and can also be specified with optional 20” alloy rims at £1500. List price for the Bathurst Edition is £37,995 – just £2757 above the standard VXR8 – while the Bathurst S costs £44,995.
New styling and interior for facelifted VXR8
Vauxhall VXR8 back with heavily revised front- and rear-end styling, a new cabin and new technology to enhance its appeal to drivers in search of one of the last, great rear-drive V8 super-saloons.
Priced at £49,500 (inc. 20 per cent VAT) and available to order from late December 2010, the new VXR8 is now based on HSV’s E3 GTS model, just launched in Australia, the previous VXR8 representing the old version of the lower-spec ClubSport R8. That means it still undercuts full-size super saloons like the Audi RS6, Jaguar XFR and Mercedes E63 AMG by between £13k and £29k, and even performance saloons from the class below, such as the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG.
A new, ‘Shockwave’ grille, LED daytime running lights and sleek new wing-vents mark the new car out from the front, while the rear features a new ‘Superflow’ rear spoiler, LED tail lamps and twin exhaust tips that mimic the shape of the front grille. As you can see from these first official press shots of our Hazard Yellow car, the new VXR8 will never blend into the scenery!
As before, the new VXR8’s chassis uses MacPherson struts/progressive rate coil springs at the front and a multi-link independent set-up at the rear. But for the first time on a VXR8, Vauxhall has employed Magnetic Ride Control (MRC), a suspension system that adapts up to 1000 times a seconds to road conditions and driver inputs. Based on technology used in GM’s current Corvette ZR1 supercar, MRC works by sending an electric current through damper units filled with ‘soft’ magnetic particles. These particles harden as the input reaches its maximum value, providing drivers with exceptional levels of ride, handling and stopping power.
Complementing the new VXR8’s MRC is Launch Control, which is engaged when drivers select the ESC’s (Electronic Stability Control) Competition Mode. The system dictates the level of torque delivered to the rear wheels for maximum acceleration, according to surface conditions. All the driver has to do is floor the throttle and let the car do the rest. Extensive testing has proved that LC results in acceleration runs no more than 0.1 second apart.
The fourth generation 6.2-litre LS3 V8 produces 431PS and 550Nm of torque, enough to propel the VXR8 from 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds and on to a governed top speed of 155mph. As before, drive is delivered to the rear axle via either a six-speed manual or auto transmission, working through a mechanical limited slip differential.
Inside, the new VXR8 has undergone a transformation. Full leather trim is now standard, and front occupants are cocooned in special HSV Performance Seats with eight-way adjustability. A new instrument cluster and surround, centre stack and switchgear provide a cleaner and more integrated look, while standard equipment also includes Aux-in/USB inputs, iPod support and Bluetooth with phone book display and touch-screen dialling.
But for drivers who want to engage with their VXR8 like never before, Vauxhall has introduced EDI, or Enhanced Driver Interface. EDI connects with the on-board computer to constantly stream real-time vehicle dynamics and performance to the car’s main 5-inch monitor. At the touch of the screen, drivers can access a variety of data such as vehicle G-forces, power and torque and lap times – even the degree to which their VXR8 is drifting. Completing the clever package is the ability for drivers to download data, such as track day performance, and analyse it using the MOTEC i2 software provided.
Befitting its exclusivity, the VXR8 is now available through just six highly specialist VXR dealers in the UK, though a total of 34 VXR outlets will be authorised to maintain the model.
VXR8 pricing details
On the Road Price of £51,200 includes number plates and delicvery to dealer (£700 inc £116.67 VAT), £950 first year registration VED and new vehicle registration fee of £55.