After 117 years of automotive diversity, in our series looking at classic Vauxhalls we reach the company’s 12th decade as Britain’s oldest surviving car and commercial brand, representing the long and varied history of Britain’s car industry.
Now part of Groupe PSA, Vauxhall continues to manufacturer cars and vans in the UK, and the company says that it will be at the forefront of the electric technology that will underpin cars across its range in the coming months and years.
So perhaps, as we find newer and more efficient ways to enjoy our cars, we should end this chapter in a blaze of supercharged, V8 glory that may never return. Vauxhall’s 12th and final instalment is reserved for the epic VXR8 GTS-R, the most powerful production car in its 117-year history.
VAUXHALL VXR8 GTS-R
Vauxhall’s blue-collar VXR8 series hit UK shores in 2007, and evolved through a variety of ever more powerful derivatives, ending with this VXR8 GTS-R model.
Powered by an evolution of the previous GTS’s supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine, it produced 595 PS (up from 576 PS) and 740 Nm (546 lb.ft) of torque, making it Vauxhall’s most powerful car in the company’s 117-year history.
Alas, production of the Holden Commodore model, on which the GTS-R was based, came to an end in Australia in October 2017, when Holden’s manufacturing plant finally closed.
As befits its last-of-line status, the GTS-R is no ordinary VXR8 – and in this form it was exclusive to the UK, too. Sending drive via a limited slip differential to the rear wheels, the GTS-R retained the previous GTS’s clever torque vectoring system, but added an upgraded braking system with six-piston, monoblock calipers and 410 mm (16.14 in) discs up front. In addition, the GTS-R wore all-new 20-inch forged alloy rims of ten-inch width at the rear.
Visually, the GTS-R had a subtle refresh, with a new front fascia, splitter, wings and carbon fibre vents, while at the rear there was a new-look diffuser, spoiler (with carbon fibre upper), lower panel and quad exhaust outlets with diamond-shaped exhaust tips.
Just 15 Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-Rs came to the UK, at an on-the-road price of £74,500.
Body: 4-door saloon
Engine: 8 cylinders, in a vee, supercharged
Engine Capacity: 6,162cc
Top Speed: 155mph (limited)
0 – 60 mph: 5.1 seconds
They tell us:
Vauxhall Motors started making vehicles in the UK in 1903. Today, as the oldest and most familiar of Britain’s automotive manufacturers, its philosophy is to build vehicles that are relevant to all. Vauxhall’s two manufacturing plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton produced 206,000 cars and vans in 2018, and its sales accounted for nine per cent of the UK market.
Vauxhall has been a Groupe PSA brand since 2017. By 2024, each of its models will offer an electrified version, part of the company’s PACE! plan to become sustainably profitable, global and electric. www.vauxhall.co.uk