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Future models - Vauxhall - VXR8

HSV back in business in UK

Pounding V8: The Brits will now receive a rebadged version of HSV's top-tier GTS instead of the Clubsport R8, in return for a £14,525 price hike.

Vauxhall’s Aussie-made VXR8 steps up a grade – and price – as exports resume

Vauxhall logo16 Dec 2010

HOLDEN Special Vehicles has resumed exports to Britain’s Vauxhall after a 10-month hiatus, in preparation for the launch of its latest E Series 3 muscle car under Vauxhall VXR8 badges in March.

Exports were suspended in January after the global financial crisis skittled sales of such vehicles in the UK, although technically, the 6.2-litre V8 VXR8 remained on sale.

The UK-spec VXR8 that was previously based on the entry-level ClubSport has been lifted to GTS standard for 2011, getting the more powerful 325kW powertrain, a pile of extra equipment and a hefty £14,525 ($22,901) price rise.

While part of the price rise can be attributed to the move to the higher grade and latest E Series 3 technology improvements, some of it can be blamed on the escalation of the Australian dollar against the UK pound.

When the E Series Vauxhall VXR8 was launched in Britain in 2007, an Australia dollar could buy 42 UK pence. Now, the $A is worth 63 pence, representing a one-third drop in the value of the pound and a tougher task for Australian exporters such as HSV.

However, offsetting that is the power of the $A against the US dollar, meaning more favourable exchange rates on big-ticket components such as the LS3 Chevrolet Corvette engines and transmissions imported from North America.

In Australia, the 315kW HSV ClubSport E Series 3 sells for $69,600 – $15,800 cheaper than the hard-core GTS.

77 center imageIn the UK, the price for the VXR8 rises from 35,275 ($A55,612) for the ClubSport-based E Series 2 VXR8 to 49,500 ($A78,029) for the GTS-spec E Series 3 model – a difference of 14,525 ($A22,901).

Despite the price rise, Vauxhall says the VXR8 represents great value in the UK, undercutting “full-size super saloons such as the Audi RS6, Jaguar XFR and Mercedes E63 AMG by between £13k and £29k, and even performance saloons from the class below, such as the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG”.

Apart from greater performance from the more powerful 325kW/550Nm LS3 V8, fresh front and rear styling and redesigned E Series 3 interior, the 2011 Vauxhall VXR8 now gets leather trim, Magnetic Ride Control and Launch Control.

Like E Series 3 drivers in Australia, VXR8 buyers also get the new Enhanced Driver Interface (EDI) that provides real-time vehicle dynamics and performance data – including G forces and lap times – on the car’s main five-inch monitor.

Vauxhall is quoting a 0-60mph sprint time of in 4.9 seconds and a governed top speed of 155mph (250km/h).

The latest VXR8 is available only through six specialist VXR dealers in the UK, although 34 Vauxhall dealerships can service them.

HSV has sold more than 900 Holden-based cars in the UK since it entered the market in 2006 with its version of the VZ Monaro that was sold as the Vauxhall Monaro VXR.

The car was a hit with top-rating TV show Top Gear, helping to make the big Aussie V8 sedans something of a cult car in Britain.

HSV has also started exports of small numbers of cars to Singapore via an independent dealer, as well as New Zealand where the E Series 3 was launched in October.

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