The Vauxhall VXR8 is familiar in parts and all new in others, but while it used to be a £35,000 bargain, the price has crept up to more than £50,000 for some versions, and that puts it straight in the path of the BMW M3 or Mercedes C63 AMG.
Does this diminish the ultimate Vauxhall’s appeal? Not one bit: fast saloons have always been cooler than their two-door counterparts, and with genuine room for four the VXR8 has all the makings of a cut-price BMW M5 or Audi RS4 alternative.
It’s certainly more exclusive. Vauxhall expects to sell just a handful of the VXR8 GTS saloons in the UK, and a few less of the special order VXR8 Clubsport saloon and estate, and the VXR8 Maloo pick-up.
Based on Holden’s latest VE series Commodore, the VXR8 benefits from improved weight distribution (51/49 per cent front/rear), a five-link rear suspension, a stiffer bodyshell and quicker-witted steering.
Turning the workaday Holden saloon – where even the entry model gets a 3.6 V6 – into a super-saloon falls to Holden Special Vehicles, which has upgraded the brakes, engine and suspension, and fitted aggressive bumpers and an indiscreet boot spoiler.