Super saloon a

seasonal surprise

Vauxhall VXR8, action
Vauxhall VXR8, static

YOU have to hand it to Vauxhall for giving the performance saloon fans a fantastic Christmas surprise.

When German manufacturers are cooking on gas with their prestige V8s the Griffon badge of the family motorist sweeps in with a new super-saloon priced at under £50,000.

This is the latest version of the VXR8 which is a rear-drive 6.2-litre V8 and it will hit UK VXR dealerships in March.

It features heavily revised front-and rear-end styling, a new cabin and a raft of 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 and available to order later this month, the new VXR8 is now based on GM's 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 £13,000 and £29,000, and even performance saloons such as the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG.

With total in-your-face styling this bold newcomer could never be called understated. It features 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, it 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.

Under the bonnet is a fourth generation 6.2-litre LS3 unit produces 431PS 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.

It may be non-PC but in a world that is fast being drawn towards the dreamy green pastures of zero-emission motoring it is, in a way heartening for those of us who revelled in the days of the high-power engine to see that there is still at least one offering waving the flag for the affordable super saloon.



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