Vauxhall VXR8 Bathurst S

White-hot special has power to match Lambo!

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

For most drivers, the standard VXR8 offers more than enough performance – this Bathurst S edition is for those who want even more. It delivers an intoxicating experience, with incredible acceleration and a simply awesome V8 soundtrack. The revised chassis copes well with the extra power and the upgraded brakes are superb. For the pace it offers, this car represents decent value for money – yet buyers should bear in mind that it’s very thirsty indeed. It’s not subtle, but it’s certainly fun.

Down under, there’s no more famous circuit than Bathurst. The twisty mountain course hosts one of Australia’s biggest sporting events: a 1,000km race for the V8 Supercar series. So what better name for a limited run of Vauxhall’s brutish VXR8?

There’s a choice of a normally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 or this supercharged version. It’s badged the Bathurst S, and is modified by race specialist Tom Walkinshaw to produce 564bhp and 742Nm of torque – so it’s as powerful as a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, but nearly £100,000 cheaper.

Predictably, it’s fast, with 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds and a 155mph top speed. The manual box gets an uprated clutch and the suspension is stiffer, with adjustable springs and fresh dampers. Revised brakes with six-cylinder front and four-cylinder rear calipers are standard.

The supercharger provides amazing pull from low revs, and you’re pinned to the seat as the engine thrusts to the red line. But the best bit is the noise – a mix of supercharger whine and V8 rumble. Our car’s optional two-stage exhaust had a special ‘loud’ setting for track use, too!

The steering is meaty, if not full of feel, and the VXR8 handles sharply given its size. It rides well, too. In the wet – and even in the dry – all that torque will easily spin the rear wheels. But if you’re careful with the throttle, you can corner at great speed. Not surprisingly, economy is poor (expect 15mpg), and the Bathurst S’s black stripes aren’t subtle. But if you want a large four-door Lamborghini beater, this is it.

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