Vauxhall Vxr8 Saloon
Need finance for your new vehicle?
Review of the Vauxhall VXR8 Saloon
Do you want to be the centre of attention? The new Vauxhall VXR8 Saloon is the black sheep of the Vauxhall family. Muscular, aggressive, super fast and a hurricane of energy,it’s an absolute monster.
A thrillingly British alternative to its German rivals, it might not have the prestige enjoyed by, say, a BMW, but its 6.2-litre V8 engine is more than a match for its rivals’ teutonic power. Add to that precise steering, a gorgeous interior and lots of comfort, and the VXR8 is an interesting proposition.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2017 Vauxhall VXR8 Saloon review.
Overview of the Vauxhall VXR8 Saloon
The car thunders down the road in the spirit of the best sports cars. It’s mean, it’s angry and it’s insanely entertaining. If you want a big, powerful car that’s as fun to drive as an arcade game, this deserves a place on your shortlist.
It’s powered by a meaty, supercharged 6.2-litre V8 petrol engine that produces as much as 576bhp. 0-62 is dispensed in just 4.2 seconds, and to make sure the car feels safe and secure, Vauxhall have fitted it with their biggest ever brakes.[vc_single_image image=”80742″ img_size=”article-image”]That’s enough to give you confidence as you roar your way around bends, something that the precise, well-weighted steering adds to. Moreover, the fierce VXR8 Saloon doesn’t lose its nerve at high revs, and continues to accelerate with blistering pace.
This is thanks to the supercharger, which allows the Vauxhall to accelerate like it’s escaping an erupting volcano at 1,500rpm. The way it performs in corners is excellent, and there is lots of powerful body control and grip on offer.
There are caveats, of course. The steering loses weight as you pick up speed, while the sheer size of the steering wheel will eventually prove to be a strain on your arms. The brakes are also heavy, as is the gear shift. This is a car that will exhaust you.
It can be paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, but we prefer the manual ‘box. The automatic shifts smoothly and responds crisply, but the manual boasts sharper low speed response.
However, neither can be separated when it comes to performance figures or fuel economy.
You can find out more about the history of Vauxhall here.
Vauxhaull VXR8 Saloon Interior, Design and Build
[vc_single_image image=”80745″ img_size=”article-image”]It won’t bother you all the time, but on the days you just want to chill, the apocalyptic shriek of the engine will prove to be a source of annoyance. It’s loud pretty much all the time, even when you’re in sixth gear.
Wind, tyre and road noise in general is also a problem.
In terms of actual quality and style, the Vauxhall lags behind its rivals. Its exterior is certainly eye catching but it’s dated, and the same can be said of the interior. It’s a lot better than last time, though, and there are modern touches, including an Enhanced Driver Interface and a brand new touchscreen infotainment system.Overall, though, the cabin is ergonomically flawed. The steering wheel is too big, while the driving position is set too high.
Still, enthusiasts will love the gimmicks that are included with the Enhanced Driver Interface, such as a data logging facility and a lap timer.
In terms of how practical the Vauxhall VRX8 Saloon is, its size is on its side here. It’s a large car which translates to plenty of interior space. Three adults can sit comfortably in the rear, although anyone sat in the middle will have to make do with the transmission tunnel. Head and legroom is vast, and there are plenty of storage areas, including a big glovebox.
The boot, meanwhile, measure 496-litres. In isolation that’s decent, but it’s smaller than rivals. Visibility is also a bit of an issue.
Equipment and Safety of the Vauxhall VXR8 Saloon
There are two trim levels available, starting with the ClubSport model that gets climate control, USB, daytime running lights, a reversing camera, rear-park assist, four-way adjustable electric seats and 19” alloys as standard.
Step up to the GTS model and you also get front and rear dark exterior accents, Magnetic Ride Control suspension, as well as eight-way electric leather sports seats.
OSV has no worries where safety is concerned. Standard in the car’s safety kit is a windscreen head-up display, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision alert, stability control and airbags.
Costs of the Vauxhall VXR8 Saloon
Prices for the new car start out from £74,500 and rise to £76,200. If you prefer to lease, you can pick up a deal from £1,063 + VAT per month. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, fuel economy is pretty much what you expect – if not worse. Expectations need to be set low, as the VXR8 Saloon can only return 18.5mg at best, and it emits as much as 373/km of CO2.
Insurance is also expensive, while the car goes through tyres faster than most of its rivals, largely due to its rear wheel drive setup.
Are Vauxhall’s reliable? Read more about their reliability in our unbiased summary.
Pros and Cons of the Vauxhall VXR8 Saloon
0-62 is dispensed in just 4.2 seconds.
It’s as fast and furious as a sports car, but its useful saloon body means practicality is good.
Its naturally aspirated V8 engine doesn’t disappear, and emits a cacophonous roar that evokes the best performance cars.
Expensive to run
You won’t return better than 18.5mpg which is miles off its rivals.
Not as cheap as it was
The VXR8 was once seen as a bargain alternative to the likes of a BMW, but not anymore. In fact, it’s now more expensive.
Vauxhall VXR8 Saloon vs BMW M3 Saloon vs Jaguar XE Saloon
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2017 Vauxhall VXR8 Saloon review.
Vauxhall VXR8 Saloon vs BMW M3 Saloon
The new BMW M3 Saloon is an iconic name shrouded in legend, myth and infamy. But is it as good as it’s claimed to be?
It’s every inch the super-saloon. 0-62 is completed in just 4.1 seconds, while power comes from a throaty six-pot twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol engine. It develops 425bhp, which makes it louder, stronger and faster than any previous M3 incarnation.[vc_single_image image=”80746″ img_size=”article-image”]A born hell-raiser, you can raise even more hell by adding a £3,000 Competition Pack. Doing so knocks power up to 444bhp, while 0-62 is achieved in 4.0 seconds flat. For that £3,000, you also get a sports exhaust, lightweight sports seats, and 20” alloys.
In terms of how it rides and drives, an overly stiff suspension setup can thankfully be softened by switching to Comfort mode. However, you can’t change the beefy 19” alloys.
In terms of running costs, the BMW fares a lot better than the Vauxhall. It can return as much as 34mpg on a good day if you pair it up with the automatic transmission, and 31.2mpg if you opt for the manual ‘box. The former emits 194g/km of CO2, while the latter emits 204.
Inside, the fact that this is a sports car doesn’t seem to have crossed BMW’s minds, as the M3 is just as comfortable as one of their regular saloons. The cabin is ergonomic, the seats are comfortable, while sporty touches include M badges, the racy driving position and the hip-hugging seats.
The steering wheel is smaller than the Vauxhall VXR8, and while this might please enthusiasts at first sight, it means that you won’t begin to tire as quickly.
In terms of how practical it is, this might be a performance car but there’s a lot of substance. It’s as quick as a Porsche 911, but it comes with five doors, rear seats that are fit for adults, and a fairly large boot.
Legroom will be an issue in the rear, while a transmission tunnel will dampen the experience for anyone unfortunate enough to be sat in the middle. Those in the front will have no such complaints, as the heated, electrically adjustable seats make it super easy to get comfortable.
The cabin is also packed with lots of storage areas, including cup holders, a glovebox, a lidded centre cubby and big door pockets.
The boot measures 480-litres, which is on par with the Vauxhall. It’s opening is a bit on the small side, while a load lip will frustrate.
Vauxhall – £74,500 – £76,200
BMW – £58,580 – £86,380
Vauxhall VXR8 Saloon vs Jaguar XE Saloon
The new Jaguar XE Saloon looks impeccable. It’s strikingly handsome, great to drive, comfortable – and affordable.
Sharp responses and precise steering make for a fine driving experience, but it’s not all fun and games, as the debonair Jaguar is one of the most comfortable and refined cars of its type on the market. A world away from the monstrous Vauxhall, it has far more manners.[vc_single_image image=”80747″ img_size=”article-image”]The Jaguar XE is also agile, but it does lack the out-and-out sharpness of the BMW in this review.
Drivers get to choose between an 8-speed auto transmission and a 6-speed manual. Both are nice to operate, but OSV prefers the former while allowing you to use the select Drive on the rotary dial for smooth, quick gear-shifting action.
All models come with the JaguarDrive system, a system that lets you flick between four driving modes to get the feel and responses that you want, while four-wheel-drive is optional. It’s hard to recommend, however, as it bumps up running costs and the purchase price while barely altering the way the car drives.
In terms of its engines, there are plenty to choose from, including four petrols. None of these four can be paired up with the manual transmission, while three of them are variations of the 2.0-litre power plant. The largest develops 247bhp, and can get you from a standstill to 62mph in 5.5 seconds.
That isn’t as fast as the Vauxhall or the flagship supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol Jaguar XE Saloon. This unit can launch the car from rest to 62mph in 5.0 seconds dead, before maxing out at 155mph.
There are diesels to choose from, but most buyers might overlook them due to a lack of power. The smallest diesel is a 2.0-litre unit that develops just 161bhp, and takes 8.4 seconds to complete the 0-62 dash. A 178bhp version of the same engine improves that time to 7.8 seconds, while a 237bhp 25d unit does the 0-62 sprint in 6.1 seconds.
Where running costs are concerned, the Jaguar XE Saloon fares well. The 2.0-litre 161bhp diesel might be entry level, but it returns 75mpg. The bigger 178bhp variant is good for returns of 67.3mpg, while even the petrols are reasonably affordable to run. For example, the 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 unit sits at the top of the range but can return 35mpg, which is almost double what the Vauxhall can manage.
Inside, there is a real sense of occasion. It’s not as dramatic as some Jaguars, but there are lots of upholstery options to choose from, a wraparound dash, low-mounted seats and sophisticated blue ambient lighting.
Overall, the cabin displays a mix of sportiness and elegance.
Is the Jaguar XE Saloon practical? Its boot measures 455-litres, which is smaller than the Vauxhall, and it does without a space-saver spare wheel. There isn’t much of a lip, though, while the middle seat can easily be folded if you need to carry longer items.
In terms of interior space, headroom in the rear is poor, a big hump in the floor will make things awkward for middle-seated passengers, but storage areas are good.
Jaguar – £28,295 – £48,095
Verdict of our 2017 Vauxhall VXR8 Saloon Review
If you like your performance cars hassle free, loud and rip-roaring, this offering from Vauxhall is well worth a test drive. It’s got the muscle car image nailed, makes an obscene amount of noise, and drives like it’s got a score to settle.