It appears Vauxhall couldn’t keep this particular car away. After departing the United Kingdom market over a year ago, the VXR8 performance sedan is coming back.
Now based on the freshly launched Holden Special Vehicles E3 GTS from the Land Down Under, the VXR8 storms out of the showroom from 49,500 GBP (including the requisite 20-percent value-added-tax), or $77,000 according to today’s currency exchange rates. The VXR8’s beating heart is the Corvette-shared, 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 with 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, all sent to the limited-slip-differential-aided rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
And this Vauxhall isn’t all about brute force. Residing beneath the bodywork is a MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension setup with Magnetic Ride Control, a first for the VXR8 series. MRC, similar to the Corvette ZR1’s system, can adjust the damper settings on the fly to provide a more responsive or subdued ride when needed. Such adjustability allows the Vauxhall to be at home in the city and on the track.
Speaking of control, the VXR8 will have a Launch Control function at its disposal as well. Engaged through the Electronic Stability Control’s Competition Mode, Launch Control will determine the exact amount of torque needed for the best acceleration from a standstill, regardless of road surface conditions. Vauxhall estimates its V-8-powered four-door will get from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and caps the top speed at 155 mph.
As you can see from the photos, the car has quite an extensive body package with what Vauxhall calls a “Shockwave” front grille, LED daytime running lights, aggressive accents, and a “Look at me!” Hazard Yellow paint color. The black and yellow scheme is as subtle as a honey bee buzzing around your ear.
The interior is all business. Leather seats and a new gauge cluster are the norm; other standard features include Bluetooth, USB ports, and iPod support. Drivers will be particularly interested in the Enhanced Driver Interface, which actively streams real-time vehicle information to the VXR8’s five-inch screen display. Collected data includes g forces, horsepower, torque, and lap times. Track day junkies may even download and analyze their driving habits and metrics with the included Motec i2 software.
Only a handful of U.K. dealers will have the VXR8 in stock when it goes on sale in March 2011. While we won’t get to experience the Vauxhall in the United States, we expect Pontiac G8 fans and aficionados to see it in their dreams.