It might have only been launched a year ago, but the Australian-built Vauxhall VXR8 has already been upgraded. The big news is the new LS3 engine. Seems the 6.0-litre V8 LS2 was a bit weedy at 411bhp and 405lb ft, so the LS3 takes its place with a newly swollen 6.2 litres of Aussie muscle.
The VXR8 isn't exactly in line with the carbon-cutting zeitgeist, is it?
A 6.2-litre lump that’s shared with a Corvette will never please the greens, but VXR8 owners do get to have their cake and eat it; power rises to 425bhp, while emissions and fuel economy remain unchanged as does, sadly, the torque output. Thank the high-flow cylinder heads, new pistons and a revised valvetrain for the improved efficiency.
Pity the people who bought the early VXR8s!
Thankfully for them, the driving experience remains much the same: the VXR8 still feels like a saloon version of the Nissan 350Z – a bit rough around the edges but still great fun.
Driving them months apart, as we did, it’s hard to pick out the differences. On the road you’ll notice that the mid-range is a little stronger – the factory figures claim 50-70mph in third drops from 2.8 to 2.6sec while the 80-100mph falls from 4.3sec – but the 6.0-litre remains a quick car.
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Has anything else been upgraded on Vauxhall's VXR8?
Heron White paint and 20-inch alloys are now optional and auto models get an oil cooler as standard. Hardly a big deal. But suspension and braking specs remain identical – and the former could do with some attention for UK roads as, while it’s not too harsh, the wheels do feel very busy and the kickback through the steering wheel on B-roads gets chaotic.
Elsewhere, the new, post-transplant VXR8 drives in a very similar fashion to the outgoing 6.0-litre model. Read our original review of the VXR8 here.
Don’t feel too depressed if you’re stuck with an ‘old’ VXR8 – both cars are incredibly similar to drive. However, there are no downsides to these revisions, except the small £485 premium they bring.
Our verdict? It’s well worth holding out for a 6.2 if you can. There are few better, or cheaper, ways of getting BMW M5 performance for nearly half the price.