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Steering, suspension and comfort

Super-saloons have it tough. They need to be supple for the saloon day job, but also taut enough for the times the ‘super’ alter ego gets loose. Accordingly, Vauxhall has fitted the VXR8 with magnetic ride control based on the system from the Corvette ZR1 and launch control.

Over a typical B-road, where the surface refuses to level and there’s the odd crest and compression, the VXR8 remains unfazed, the long wheelbase and weight helping to isolate the worst intrusions. It’s also decently comfortable for long-distance cruising.

Mega-quick, but sometimes a touch nervous

With the tauter chassis of the latest model, the VXR8 GTS is certainly a more focused and controlled car to drive quickly. The dampers continually adjust very effectively to rein in body movement, although they don’t dial it out completely. And they have two switchable control settings: performance and track.

Even in the former of the two settings, there’s much less pitch and roll in the VXR8 GTS than you would have found in the old model. There’s better grip, traction and steering precision, too. In circumstances where the old car would have been a willing if slightly ragged entertainer, the new one’s got poise and purchase to spare, as well as power.

And track mode adds even greater damper control, bringing the car’s reserves almost up to BMW M5 levels; but it also causes the VXR8 to crash a little through sharper-edged dips.