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Vauxhall VXR8 (2011): first official pictures

Wed, 15 Dec 2010 00:00:00 -0800

Vauxhall has revealed its new 2011 VXR8. These first official pictures of the VXR8 show an edgier and more aggressive look over the model it replaces. But it's way more expensive, too.

It's almost £15,000 pricier than the previous-generation VXR8, putting it less than £3000 away from the Mercedes C63 AMG's crosshairs.

Yes. Lurking behind that pointy new grille is a 6.2-litre LS3 V8. It's the same fourth-gen LS3 unit used in the previous model, and produces 419bhp and 405lb ft of torque. Could the VXR8 be any more different to Vauxhall's other latest offering, the electric Ampera?

If you think it looks a bit similar (aka exactly the same) to the HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) E3 GTS, you're right. This is a Vauxhall import straight from Oz.

Vauxhall says the VXR8 will reach 60mph in just 4.9sec and hit a limited top speed of 155mph.

There is a wealth of electrical and technological improvements, suggesting the new VXR8 could be a more precise tool. The super-saloon comes with Magnetic Ride Control (MRC), a fancy suspension system which runs a current through dampers units filled with magnetic particles to adapt to road conditions and driver inputs up to 1000 times a second.

The launch control is good enough, says Vauxhall, for acceleration runs to be no more than a tenth of a second apart.

As with the previous model, the rear-wheel-drive VXR8 comes with MacPherson struts/progressive rate coil springs at the front and a multi-link independent set-up at the rear, along with a mechanical limited-slip differential.

A new driver interface allows the driver to keep an eye on G-forces, power and torque and lap times. If they happen to be going sideways, the computer will tell them the degree of their drift - CAR's sideways road test editor Ben Barry will be happy. They can then download it onto their computer using some included software.

Inside, the VXR8 has been tidied up, thanks mainly to a new instrument cluster and surround. Full leather trim is now standard, and the front seats are special HSV Performance affairs.

Only seven UK dealers will be selling the VXR8 when the order books open in January 2011, but 34 will be able to maintain it.

By Peter Adams