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Vauxhall revises VXR8 for 2011

Vauxhall has revised its VXR8 saloon for 2011 with a redesigned exterior, a new interior and full leather trim as standard. Priced at £49,500, the saloon also gets Magnetic Ride Control and Launch Control and retains the 6.2-litre V8 engine with 431bhp giving it a 0-60mph time of 4.9 seconds.

The new VXR8 is 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 performance saloons like the Audi RS6, Jaguar XFR and Mercedes E63 AMG by between £13,000 and £29,000, along with smaller performance saloons such as the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG.

A new, ‘Shockwave' grille, LED daytime running lights and wing-vents mark the new car out from the front, while the rear features a ‘Superflow' rear spoiler, LED tail lamps and twin exhaust tips that mimic the shape of the front grille.

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 which 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 the road 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.

VXR8 (4)

No VXR8 would be complete without a large-capacity V8, and this latest version doesn't disappoint. The fourth generation 6.2-litre LS3 unit produces 431bhp and a massive 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.

Vauxhall has also 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 five-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.

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. The first cars will arrive in March 2011.

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