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The most powerful car ever to wear a Vauxhall badge

Our Verdict

Vauxhall VRX8 2011-2012

The Vauxhall VXR8 is an unsophisticated sledgehammer that is engaging, entertaining and very different from the German super-coupés that it rivals

26 March 2009

What is it?

The Vauxhall VXR8 Bathurst S, the most powerful production car ever to wear a Vauxhall badge.

There’s already been a supercharged version of the VXR8, but that car was powered by the old 6.0-litre LS2 General Motors V8. The new VXR8 Bathurst S gets the latest-generation 6.2-litre LS3 version.

Power is up by 32bhp over the previous supercharged VXR8, at 564bhp. That’s 139bhp - or more than a Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi - more than the naturally aspirated version. With 547lb ft of torque, the Bathurst S is actually 21lb ft down on the old car - largely in the interests of gearbox longevity - but it’s hardly under-endowed.

Helping to put the power onto the road are stiffened, height adjustable springs, individually adjustable coil-over dampers, six-pot callipers at the front, and four-pot callipers at the rear.

What’s it like?

The VXR8 Bathurst S does not go about its business in a subtle way. The optional bi-modal exhaust system, even on its quieter 'street' setting, woofles on the over-run, and it sounds for all the world like the car is being pushed along on the edge of a thunderstorm. Every moderately enthusiastic poke of the throttle provokes an angry shriek from the supercharger that overlays the chesty V8 rumble.

Fortunately the VXR8 Bathurst S has more than enough go to back up its aural fireworks. Pretty much wherever you are in the rev range - and in whatever gear - the VXR8 Bathurst lunges at the horizon. Between motorway speeds and three figures the performance is electric.

However, when the road turns twisty, the limitations of the hefty 1831kg VXR8 become apparent, despite the best efforts of the chassis tweaks. It’s surprisingly chuckable, but on bumpy roads a BMW M5 or a Mercedes C63 AMG is far more composed.

Inside, there’s nothing to tell the Bathurst apart from a VXR8, aside from a badge on the centre console. That means the dash is not the slickest, but the chairs are squishy yet supportive and there’s more than enough room for four adults. The ride is impressively pliant, too, despite our test car’s optional - and very good-looking - 20-inch alloys.

Should I buy one?

This is the sticking point. Yes, the VXR8 Bathurst S is spectacular, but you’ll get 90 per cent of the fun in a more accessible and affordable form with the naturally aspirated VXR8. But if you want the cheapest way to get more than 500bhp under the bonnet of your car, the VXR8 Bathurst S is it.

Join the debate


26 March 2009

Dear Mr Vauxhall

Please put this engine in the Camaro (same architecture) and flog it out of your VXR8 Dealers. Then let me know and I'll buy one.

26 March 2009

[quote Straff]

Please put this engine in the Camaro (same architecture) and flog it out of your VXR8 Dealers. Then let me know and I'll buy one.


I'm sure there is already a bolt on supercharger kit for this engine. You are right, it would make a fantastic car.

As for the VXR....... hell yes!



It's all about the twisties........

26 March 2009

Yep, sign me up for a RHD Camaro version, preferably in yellow with the black stripes...

Even one with the std Z06 engine in it would be great...

27 March 2009

These things are all well and good in a straight line, but on twisty roads i reckon a Focus RS would blow it away.

Peter Cavellini.

27 March 2009

[quote Orangewheels]Yep, sign me up for a RHD Camaro version, preferably in yellow with the black stripes...[/quote] Me too!

27 March 2009

[quote Peter Cavellini]These things are all well and good in a straight line, but on twisty roads i reckon a Focus RS would blow it away[/quote] Absolutely right but who cares! I like driving in straight lines, especially when flooring a V8 through a tunnel.

7 July 2009

be careful !!!!!!!!!

i have owned a vxr8 for 1 year and in that time the windscreen wipers have packed up twice, radio and air con has not worked for 6 weeks indicators stopped working and each time it went in i could not get a courtesy car !!! i am sure i would have got a matiz if i owned a dewoo !!!!!!

buy yourself an audi never had a problem with them and customer service was great

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