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.
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.