Vauxhall VXR8: the lowdown
Fans of the recently departed Monaro, rejoice! Vauxhall has today announced its replacement, and it's another hairy-chested, Aussie bruiser: this VXR8 four-door. Although lacking the badge pedigree of the Lotus Carlton, comparisons with the fabled 1990s hot saloon aren't wide of the mark. The rear-drive VXR8 uses the fastest Monaro's 6.0-litre V8 and delivers a muscular 414bhp, enough for a rapid 4.9sec dash to 60mph.
It's Australian, you say?
Yep - it's based on the Aussie-built Holden HSV Clubsport R8, which helps explain the Vauxhall's bargain-basement price. Owners of German super-saloons may weep when they see the VXR's £34,995 price tag. Rumbling V8 power is widely, and cheaply, available in Oz, you see. The lump in the VXR8 is essentially the same as in the outgoing Monaro VXR, but fettled to liberate more power and torque. As well as those 414 horses, there's a handy 406lb ft of torque with which to pulverise the rear tyres.
The Monaro was a surprisingly spacious device. This four-door must be pretty handy?
The VXR8 looks like it should be perfect for taking four bodies and their baggage on high-speed trips. As the most expensive Vauxhall on sale, it'll be loaded with goodies, too, such as climate control and leather trim. An automatic gearbox with manual over-ride is a £1400 option - it'll be the first VXR sold in the UK with an auto 'box - and other extras include sat-nav and 20-inch alloy wheels.
Okay, so it's big, it's cheap, it's powerful... will it be as good to drive as the Monaro?
Here's hoping... Vauxhall has offered some great rear-drivers in recent years, and the VXR8 has all the hallmarks of being the next super-saloon. Expect a back-to-basics driving experience, with sliding opposite-lockery on tap once the stability system is (fully) disabled and proper V8 thrust no matter what gear you're in. Vauxhall is claiming big things from the 365mm vented discs, too; apparently, the latest VXR will slither to a halt faster than a BMW M5 or Lambo Murcielago. Of course, for the full verdict we'll have to wait until we've driven Vauxhall's new muscle car for Europe. Keep an eye out for CAR Online's test in the coming months.