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Vauxhall VXR8 - best performance cars

If you want serious performance on a budget in the large saloon car class, you’re probably out of luck.

Vauxhall VXR8 GTS - front cornering

If you want serious performance on a budget in the large saloon car class, you’re probably out of luck. The Vauxhall VXR8 is the nearest thing to an affordable super saloon, though (fuel bills aside), and at £55k it’s two thirds of the price of German rivals from BMW and Mercedes-AMG.

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Be in no doubt about the seriousness of its performance, either, as the VXR8’s monster 6.2-litre V8 pumps out a terrifying 576bhp via a six-speed manual gearbox to the car’s rear wheels.

The result is an electrifying 0-62mph time of 4.2 seconds, and thanks to a supercharger there’s masses of muscle available from just 1,500rpm. Extend the engine to over 4,000rpm and exhaust valves open to create the soundtrack of WW3.

The VXR8 handles with aplomb too, boasting bags of grip and a well-controlled body, although it all feels a little lazier than the Mercedes-AMG E63 or BMW M5.

In fact, because the VXR8 is an Australian Holden rebadged just for fun by Vauxhall to grab headlines in the UK, you’d better not expect either the sophistication of design or execution deployed by the Germans. The body looks a bit dated, as does the cabin, while the driving experience is not very relaxing due to the meaty steering, gearshift and clutch – although an automatic option is available that doesn’t blunt performance.

In its favour there’s a raft of safety tech such as forward collision alert, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and head-up display. But the real reason to love the VXR8 is its raw, old-school muscle car character.

Top 10 best performance cars on sale now

  1. Ford Focus RS
  2. Mercedes AMG C63
  3. BMW M2
  4. Volkswagen Golf R
  5. BMW M3
  6. Lexus GS F
  7. Audi RS3 Sportback
  8. Mercedes AMG CLA 45
  9. Vauxhall VXR8
  10. Subaru WRX STi
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