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Aussie rules for fastest-ever Vauxhall

Aussie rules for fastest-ever Vauxhall

David Whinyates, 2017-07-10

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THE thick end of £75 grand for a Vauxhall? You've got to be ‘avin a giraffe!

Well no - for this is no ordinary Vauxhall. And it's a continent away from a giraffe - just think kangaroo instead!

For this is the new Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R and it's the most powerful car in the company's 114-year history.

It will sprint from rest to 60mph in 4.2 seconds and surge on to a limited max of 155mph thanks to its awesome, supercharged 6.2 litre V8 engine which produces 595PS (up from 576PS in the previous VXR8) and 740Nm of torque. It's the same power plant that sits under the bonnet of the iconic Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

It's based on GM Australia's Holden Commodore, production of which will end in October when Holden's manufacturing plant closes.

At £74,500 it's probably the most expensive-ever run-out model from any mainstream car maker, but, as befits its last-of-line status, the GTS-R is no ordinary VXR8 - and in this form it's exclusive to the UK.

And that exclusivity is underscored by the fact that just 15 GTS-Rs will be imported from Down Under.

Sending drive via a limited slip differential to the rear wheels, the GTS-R retains the previous GTS's clever torque vectoring system, but adds an upgraded braking system with six-piston, monoblock calipers and 410mm discs up front. In addition, the GTS-R wears all-new 20-inch forged alloy rims (ten-inches wide at the rear, 9-inches at the front).

Visually, the GTS-R has a fresh face, with a new front fascia, splitter, wings and carbon fibre vents, while at the rear there's a new-look diffuser, spoiler with carbon fibre upper, lower panel and quad exhaust outlets with diamond-shaped exhaust tips. Inside, the diamond theme continues in the Alcantara and leather seat trim.

Inside, the VXR8's cabin design has undergone a raft of design changes. An upgraded instrument panel with suede-style inserts, a new instrument cluster, gauges, centre console, appliques and door trims combine to deliver a more premium look and feel.

The seats are wrapped in Alcantara leather trim and feature eight-way electric adjustment and seat heaters for both the driver and front passenger.

Rather than reaching the end of its life, the VXR8 has now come of age, and features an array of technologies never seen before in this model.

While the price might seem outrageous, the spec is more than generous with a host of driver assistance and safety systems. Amongst them are Side Blind Zone Alert with Reverse Traffic Alert, Automatic Park Assist, Front and Rear Park Assist, Reversing Camera and Passive Entry/Push Button Start.

But the GTS-R also picks up a number of additional driver convenience and safety technologies.

Head Up Display is standard and shows a raft of driver information on the windscreen, such as vehicle speed, engine temperature, and even G-forces!

Forward Collision Alert is another technology fitted as standard and is the first system of its kind to be available in a Vauxhall car.

A camera located above the rear-view mirror scans the road ahead up to 14 times per second. When a crash is predicted, the driver is alerted with an audible tone and a visible alert on the car's head-up display.

Anticipating hard braking, the system applies sufficient brake pressure to close the space between the brake pads and discs, thus delivering a quicker brake response time when the driver hits the stop pedal.

Using the same camera technology, the VXR8 GTS-R also has a Lane Departure Warning system.

Vauxhall has been importing the VXR8 in various forms since 2007, and sells the car through selected dealerships in its network with full service back up and a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.

The GTS-R may be the last of the breed, but it's certainly going out on a high.

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