Automotive

Vauxhall lays its muscle cars to rest with the VXR8 GTS-R

The Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R or, by its other name, the HSV GTS-R 
The Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R or, by its other name, the HSV GTS-R 
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Power in the VXR8 comes from a supercharged V8
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Power in the VXR8 comes from a supercharged V8
The VXR8 is an Australian muscle car dressed up in British clothing 
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The VXR8 is an Australian muscle car dressed up in British clothing 
The VXR8 GTS-R is an old-fashioned muscle car
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The VXR8 GTS-R is an old-fashioned muscle car
The Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R or, by its other name, the HSV GTS-R 
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The Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R or, by its other name, the HSV GTS-R 
The VXR8 GTS-R will be sold in strictly limited numbers
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The VXR8 GTS-R will be sold in strictly limited numbers
Could the GTS-R be the last Aussie muscle car to be imported in the UK?
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Could the GTS-R be the last Aussie muscle car to be imported in the UK?
With 600 hp on tap, the VXR8 is anything but slow
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With 600 hp on tap, the VXR8 is anything but slow
There's a six-speed manual gearbox available in the VXR8 GTS-R
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There's a six-speed manual gearbox available in the VXR8 GTS-R
The GTS-R is an Aussie muscle car being sold in British clothing 
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The GTS-R is an Aussie muscle car being sold in British clothing 
Just in case you weren't sure what you're driving... 
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Just in case you weren't sure what you're driving... 
The seats are trimmed in Alcantara and leather in the GTS-R
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The seats are trimmed in Alcantara and leather in the GTS-R
The heart of the GTS-R is a supercharged V8
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The heart of the GTS-R is a supercharged V8
More bespoke badging on the GTS-R 
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More bespoke badging on the GTS-R 
The details on the GTS-R are all beautifully wrought 
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The details on the GTS-R are all beautifully wrought 
The details on the GTS-R are all beautifully wrought 
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The details on the GTS-R are all beautifully wrought 
The, ahem, subtle rear wing on the GTS-R 
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The, ahem, subtle rear wing on the GTS-R 
The forged alloy wheels on the GTS-R are lighter than the standard units
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The forged alloy wheels on the GTS-R are lighter than the standard units
The Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R
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The Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R
The bold rear styling of the GTS-R is in line with the rest of its aesthetic
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The bold rear styling of the GTS-R is in line with the rest of its aesthetic

Ford and Chevy are riding a wave of support for their modern muscle cars in America, but V8 muscle cars are struggling elsewhere. Australia will be saying farewell to GM Holden this year, a move that spells the demise of locally developed rear-drive performance cars Down Under – and in the UK. The Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R will be the last Aussie muscle car sold in the UK, but its 600 hp engine means it won't be going quietly into the night.

The VXR8 GTS-R is based on the Holden Special Vehicles GTS-R, which itself is based on the Holden Commodore. The final Commodore will roll off the production line this October, spelling the death of the HSV V8 and, subsequently, the Vauxhall-badged versions sold in Great Britain. As you'll soon discover, that's a shame.

Power comes from a supercharged LSA V8 making 600 hp (447 kW) of power and 740 Nm of torque, making it the most powerful car in the history of Vauxhall. It's the same engine you'll find in the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, albeit fitted with a unique four-lobe supercharger. Although the basic concept – a big, thirsty V8 – isn't exactly new, the engine in the GTS-R is actually quite clever. It has a standalone water-to-air charge cooler, along with dedicated transmission and differential coolers.

The heart of the GTS-R is a supercharged V8
The heart of the GTS-R is a supercharged V8

Power is put to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox as standard, but we'd be stumping for the optional manual six-speeder. Big, old-fashioned V8 cars are rare enough, but finding one with a stick shift is like catching a unicorn in 2017.

When we say old fashioned, don't think that means the GTS-R doesn't handle. In spite of its weight, the big Australian immigrant knows how to dance in the corners. It has brake-based torque vectoring to cut down on understeer and dinner-plate sized (410 mm front) brakes. There are even magnetic ride control dampers for a ride you can tweak on the fly, just like you can in a Corvette.

Inside, the Holden Commodore cabin has been treated to lashings of leather, shiny aluminum trim and Alcantara. All the technology you'd expect to find in an expensive German sedan is present, from blind-spot warning to a heads-up display with g-force display. A forward-collision warning system is also standard, something Vauxhall claims is a first for its cars in the UK.

Just 15 examples of the GTS-R will be imported to the UK, making this one very rare muscle car. It isn't cheap – pricing starts at £74,500 (US$95,700) – but it makes sense if you think of this car as an investment. If you want to celebrate the end of Australian muscle, there's no better way.

Source: Vauxhall

1 comment
JeffK
Sad to see! Holden built the, unfortunately, short lived Pontiac G-8 which the notoriously BMW centric crew at Car and Driver compared favorably to one of their Bavarian favorites. A G-8 is about the only thing I would consider trading out of my supercharged Grand Prix GTP for.
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