The line of V8-engined ‘special Holdens’ brought to our shores by Vauxhall over the past 13 years has not been short on material for a Saturday prime-time TV ‘best bits’ showreel, but with the VXR8 GTS-R, it has undoubtedly hit a zenith.

One or two HSV Holdens we’ve been treated to before have had similar combustive and visual drama as this car, but none has combined as much outright performance and on-the-limit grip and composure with the simple, unfiltered rear-drive handling engagement we’ve come to expect from HSV over the years.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
VXR8 signs off in bristling, charismatic, dynamically delectable style

Compared with some fast executive saloons in 2018, the GTS-R may be a little short on traction, firepower, driveline sophistication and outright off-the-line pace.

But it utterly wins you over with the honesty, authenticity, tactility and physicality of its supremely analogue driving experience – which is utterly distinguished next to those of its ever more isolating, often less exciting rivals – and you can’t help but form a bonding affection for it. This is a fitting epitaph for a car that’ll be very sorely missed.

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