2017 Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R first drive: A vehicular middle finger to progress

If modern super-saloons were Wild West film stars, the Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R would be John Wayne. The original, the swaggering, the most universally loved and, let’s face it, the most one-dimensional.

Because even this, the very last of the VXR8s with its monstrous 587bhp supercharged 6.2-litre V8 and meaty six-speed manual, cuts very much the same dash as VXR8s before it, just even more mental.

And it’s a swagger into the sunset this time, since Holden – the Australian manufacturer of the VXR8 – has officially shut up shop. 

2017 Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R
2017 Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R
2017 Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R
2017 Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R

First impressions

We’ll keep this brief. This latest and last version of the VXR8 is unlikely to win any beauty contests, but there is still massive appeal to its brutal, hyper-masculine looks. It’s about as subtle as a knuckle-duster to the face, and there’s nothing else out there with that level of unapologetic bravado – not even the Ford Mustang V8 that’s about as close to the Vauxhall in character as anything else in the UK market. And we like the Vauxhall for that, very much indeed.

2017 Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R

Of course, inside there are GTS-R logos emblazoned about the cabin, which is dominated by broad, deeply bolstered leather sports seats, some rather tacky-looking plastics and a touchscreen infotainment system that is easily the worst you could find in any car costing £75k (yup, that's right, it costs almost £75,000). Mind you, there is also a lovely Alcantara steering wheel, which is a joy to use. 

Frankly, you don’t buy or aspire to a VXR8 of any kind because of it...