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Revised GTS shows the future of the VXR8, but it won't be here until next year

What is it?

It's likely that only obsessive fans of Aussie muscle saloons will have noticed when the Vauxhall VXR8 was quietly dropped from the pricelists several months ago. Stocks of the existing model, which was based on the 2008 HSV Clubsport, have sold out, and the next version isn't going to arrive until next year.

In the meantime Vauxhall has opted to top up interest levels by bringing over one of the 'E2' versions of the current GTS. The 'E2' has received both a fairly substantial facelift and a package of mechanical tweaks and gives us an early look at what's likely to become Vauxhall's next 'Pommodore.'

See the test pics of the HSV Commodore GTS E2 2011

What’s it like?

Visually the makeover includes a handsome new front end, 20-inch HSV alloys and daytime running lights. Under the bonnet the bigger 6.2-litre V8 boosts power to 436bhp, a 11bhp increase on the old '8. Working together with the introduction of a new 'launch control' system - only available with the manual gearbox - that means the HSV now manages a 4.9-second 0-62mph time.

Suspension settings have also been revised and adaptive dampers added to the spec list. On first impressions the GTS feels a fair bit firmer than the previous VXR8, but the instinctively adjustable chassis balance of the old car is still in place. It's never going to feel nimble, but once turned in there's plenty of adhesion and - unlike the VXR8 which suffered from unexpected power oversteer in the wet, the E2's stability control system now seems up to the task of reigning in the engine's meaty torque output.

Should I buy one?

Vauxhall's laid-back attitude to imports means that it's possible we'll entirely skip this E2 generation, with our next VXR8 being the forthcoming 'E3', which is likely to also boast an improved interior. On this experience, we're looking forward to it.

Mike Duff

HSV Commodore GTS E2

Price: TBC; Top speed: 155mph; 0-62: 4.9 sec; mpg: 19.1mpg; CO2: 352g/km; Kerbweight: 1718kg; Engine: 6.2-litre 16-valve V8 petrol; Power: 436bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 405 lb/ft at 4600rpm; Gearbox: Six-speed manual

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Add a comment…
disco.stu 21 July 2010

Re: Holden Commodore GTS E2 2011

John McIlroy wrote:

I'd love the Clubsport R8 Wagon. Wembley Arena out the back, proper rumbler under the bonnet...

Just get the Ute and put a canopy on the back...

disco.stu 20 July 2010

Re: Holden Commodore GTS E2 2011

feckin maso wrote:

"handsome new front end"

bit of artistic licence there

+1. Can't remember the last HSV that could really be called 'handsome'. Would love to see Vauxhall import the Calais V-series with the HSV performance upgrades. Although they would probably have to change the name, as most Australians don't realise that Calais is a merely grimy French ferry port...

feckin maso 20 July 2010

Re: Holden Commodore GTS E2 2011

"handsome new front end"

bit of artistic licence there