Car group tests

Lexus GS F vs Vauxhall VXR8 GTS

Lexus’ new V8-engined GS F meets Vauxhall’s VXR8 GTS in a muscular supersaloon head-to-head

Think of a Lexus, and a luxury limousine, glamorous SUV or hi-tech hybrid will no doubt spring to mind. But over the past 25 years, the brand has delivered one or two high-performance heroes, too – and here we test its latest addition, the GS F.

• Best executive cars

Based on the staid and sensible GS executive saloon, the newcomer features a thumping 471bhp 5.0-litre V8 engine, as well as a traditional rear-wheel-drive layout for maximum driving thrills.

Yet this is no old-fashioned muscle car, as it also has a clever electronically controlled differential, an eight-speed transmission and an interior that combines cutting-edge design with unrivalled quality. Better still, at £69,995, the GS F undercuts rivals such as the BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E 63. Yet it’s not the best-value supersaloon – that honour goes to the Vauxhall VXR8 GTS, at just £57,200 when fitted with an automatic gearbox.

Essentially a rebadged Commodore HSV from Australian firm Holden, the supercharged VXR8 packs a 6.2-litre V8 with 577bhp. We hit the road to find out which of our hard-hitting duo wins this heavyweight encounter.

Head-to-head

Engines

Both our contenders use V8 engines, but that’s where the similarities end. The Lexus features a high-revving naturally aspirated V8 that can trace its roots back to the IS F saloon of 2008. By contrast, the VXR8 is powered by a supercharged 6.2-litre ‘small block’ LS3 unit that debuted in the 2008 Chevrolet Corvette.

Data logging

If keeping a close eye on your car’s performance is important, the Vauxhall is ideal. Its Enhanced Driver Interface is one of the best set-ups in the business, as it records everything from lap times to G-force readings. Plus, you can plug in your laptop and download all the data.

Differentials

The Lexus uses a clever three-stage torque-vectoring differential than can shuffle power across the rear axle to improve agility. Vauxhall has fitted the VXR8 with a traditional limited-slip differential, which boosts traction out of corners.

Verdict

First place: Lexus GS F

It costs more to buy and isn’t quite as fast as the VXR8, but the GS F is more engaging to drive and easier to live with. It also looks more grown up and boasts an interior that’s leagues ahead in terms of quality, class and kit. And while the V8 engine lacks outright firepower, it sounds glorious. Factor in an award-winning ownership experience, and the Lexus is a high-performance hit. 

Second place: Vauxhall VXR8 GTS

The VXR8 takes some beating for delivering bang for your buck. Its supercharged V8 engine serves up crushing straight-line performance, and for such a big car it feels remarkably composed in corners. Yet the Vauxhall’s aggressive looks won’t be to all tastes, and the interior looks and feels a little low rent compared to the Lexus’.  Still, it’s a hugely likeable car.

Other options in this category...

BMW M5

Price: £73,970Engine: 4.4-litre V8, 552bhp

When it debuted 30 years ago, the M5 set the supersaloon template. The latest fifth-generation car has a twin-turbo V8, and blends amazing performance, agility and luxury. It’s just a bit too clinical, and lacks the fun of the Mercedes (below).

Mercedes-AMG E 63

Price: £74,725Engine: 5.5-litre V8, 549bhp

Crushing performance, a bombastic soundtrack and agile handling make the E 63 our favourite fast four-door. An £84,720 S model delivers even more power, plus there’s an Estate for the ultimate in pace and space.

Figures

 Lexus GS FVauxhall VXR8 GTS
On-the-road price/total as tested£69,995/£69,995£57,200/£57,200
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£31,428/44.9%N/A
Depreciation£38,567N/A
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£5,094/£10,188£4,147/£8,295
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£3,526/£5,877£3,654/£6,091
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost50/£841/M/£50550/£1,143/M/£505
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£275/£445/£275£249/£249/£348
   
Length/wheelbase4,915/2,850mm4,988/2,915mm
Height/width1,440/1,845mm1,457/1,899mm
EngineV8/4,969ccV8/6,162cc
Peak power 471/7,100 bhp/rpm577/6,150 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 530/4,800 Nm/rpm740/3,850 Nm/rpm
Transmission 8-spd auto/rwd6-spd auto/rwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel66 litres/sealant70 litres/sealant
Boot capacity 520 litres496 litres
Kerbweight/payload1,790/530kg1,850kg/N/A
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.2 metres/0.33Cd11.4 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs 3yrs (60,000)/1yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers10,000 miles (1yr)/5120,000 miles (1yr)/7
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.1st/1st30th/19th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./starsN/AN/A
   
0-60/30-70mph4.6/3.6 secs4.4/2.8 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 2.9/3.6 secs2.1/3.0 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th 4.9/6.5/8.7/13.1 secs4.6/6.7 secs/N/A/N/A
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 168mph/1,750rpm155mph/1,800rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 51.7/29.8/9.4m49.9/33.6/8.9m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph63/47/58/66dB66/57/57/67dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range17.1/3.8/248 miles16.5/3.6/254 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined17.0/34.9/25.2mpg12.7/23.9/18.0mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined3.7/7.7/5.5mpl2.8/5.3/3.9mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket382/260g/km/37%396/373g/km/37%
   
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/camera10/yes/yes/yesSix/yes/yes/yes
Auto gearbox/stability/cruise controlYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless goYes/yes/yesYes/no/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes

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