Much was made of its Lotus- developed suspension but, yes, that is a beam axle at the rear. Still, for an extra £400, you could have the Driving System Plus featuring Continuous Damping Control, a system that monitors roll, pitch and yaw, and changes the rate of damping on each wheel to optimise handling.
To ensure there was no mistaking it for its 103bhp 1.6 SXi sibling, the VXR had a fully encompassing bodykit (unique grille, revised bumpers, front splitter, side skirts and rear spoiler), a carbonfibre- effect B-pillar, 18in ‘snowflake’ alloy wheels (most buyers chose the optional 19s with a different design) and a signature VXR boot badge.
Inside, it had half-leather Recaro seats, a unique steering wheel and air conditioning. Full leather, climate control and rear parking sensors were optional extras.
Special editions included the excellent Nürburgring Edition of 2008. Inspired by Reuter’s exploits, it had white alloys, chequered flag graphics, a slightly wider track and a noisy Remus exhaust giving an extra 15bhp. Then there’s the VXRacing Edition of 2009 (the same power- boosting Remus exhaust plus 19in alloys) and the run-out Arctic (white and black paint scheme, heated Recaro seats, 19in alloys and a panoramic windscreen).
Today, prices for early, standard VXRs start at just £3000 for a 2006- reg car with 85,000 miles. “Gearbox is tight,” says the online advert for one example. It’s a reminder that the six-speed M32, nicknamed the ‘chocolate box’, is a weak affair. Its issues are explained on the right and more fulsomely at eco-torque.co.uk.
The K04 turbo is another weak spot. Well, not weak exactly; more a victim of abuse and neglect. Fortunately, a new one is ‘only’ around £750 supplied and fitted. Saying that, have the actuator checked first because it’s only £200.