Vauxhall’s VXR performance sub-brand is celebrating its 10th anniversary by looking back at the multiple performance models it has offered Britain since 2004 and highlighting its recently updated lineup. VXR has sold 20,000 units to date and has built up a loyal following from British car enthusiasts since it first brought the Lotus Elise-based VXR220 and Holden-based Monaro 5.7 VXR to the UK’s shores.
VXR’s range currently consists of the Corsa VXR, the Corsa VXR ClubSport, the Astra VXR, the Insignia VXR and the VXR8 GTS. These models boast a combined power output of 1,600 PS, or 1,577 horsepower, a figure the brand isn’t afraid to boast about.
The performance brand’s first cars, the VXR220 and Monaro VXR, were introduced at the British Motor Show in the summer of 2004 and offered customers two different types of performance. The VXR220 was a small sports car which shared its underpinnings with the Lotus Elise while the Monaro had a huge V8 and was “a true rear-wheel drive car for enthusiasts.”
The brand also applied some of its know how to the Zafira and Meriva MPVs. The VXR Zafira’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine produced 237 horsepower, while the smaller Meriva’s 1.6-liter turbo unit made 180 horsepower. The two cars also had a re-engineered chassis, sporty Recaro seats and even underwent testing at the Nürburgring.
Lately, VXR has turned its attention towards the Astra and Corsa hatchbacks. To help better deal with increased power outputs and high speed cornering, VXR and supplier Drexler developed a special differential for the two cars which apply power only where it is needed in the bends, making it feel as if the car is ”being pulled towards the apex under power.”
The flagship of the VXR range is currently the VXR8 GTS, which is the British twin to the 580 horsepower LSA-powered HSV GTS, the most powerful production car to ever come from Australia. However much like HSV, VXR will almost certainly have to divert its attention away from V8 models going forward as the Commodore nears the end of its life. Because of things like “emissions,” and “greenhouse gasses.”