More to the VXR8 than meets the eye

More to the VXR8 than meets the eye
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“Aussie-built Vauxhall V8s are fun but crude, right? Wrong,” says Autocar’s Richard Bremner, as the new VXR8 goes toe-to-toe with the BMW M5 and Mercedes E63. Despite looking “as traditional as a Vegemite sandwich”, the VXR8 is “more sophisticated” than it lets on. “This is a substantially different beast from the previous VXR8, to the tune of an extra 148bhp and another 140lb/ft of torque. It’s enough to vault the VXR8 past 62mph in 4.9 seconds.” The biggest difference is to be found in the price. “The Vauxhall costs £54,499. Not only is this tens of thousands less than these two rivals, but it’s also only £5,000 or so more than the previous model, which had substantially less power and equipment.” Experiencing the Vauxhall on that rarest of things, a smooth British road, “you enter an unexpected world of dynamic refinement”, says Bremner. “Its chassis is pliant and absorbent where the BMW isn’t, allowing you to proceed in calm at unabated pace amid your growing surprise.” The Vauxhall also has “decisively more grip” than the BMW, “all the more surprising when you consider that it runs narrower rear tyres”. All three cars are “pile-drivers” when it comes to performance, but the Vauxhall’s supercharger “delivers a rippingly strong surge of thrust from little over 1,000rpm and just keeps on going, the whining backing track adding to the excitement”. Even with this power, Bremner notes that it’s “the subtlety of its road manners that scores it so many points in this contest”. “From the off this is a surprisingly easy car to drive, a car that encourages you to drive it hard and one that doesn’t bite back when you do. It’s the fundamentally entertaining character of this car that will win you over. The Vauxhall is a game, while the other two are merely deeply able.” Bremner concludes: “For sheer driver engagement, the Vauxhall shades these two. Add in the extra grip, more comfortable ride and the fact that it offers much the same standard of telematics as the German pair for an all-in price that’s £25k lower and its victory looks startlingly clear.” (Source: Autocar, 9th April)

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