So here it is: the UK’s cheapest way into the exclusive 500bhp-plus club; the most powerful car you can buy for less than £60k.

The Vauxhall VXR8 GTS qualifies just as well for either pitch, and by paragraph three of the press release, Vauxhall had gorged itself on both.

Who can blame it? Previous generations of the brand’s low-volume rebadged HSV models have prepped us well for such extravagance, but ‘576bhp for £54,999’ is such an unlikely collision of excess and affordability that it’s worth coming at it from all angles.

Vauxhall has been selling VXR8s in the UK since 2007 when the car effectively replaced the outgoing two-door Monaro. The model was based on the E-series HSV reworking of the Holden VE Commodore, a car underpinned by the GM Zeta platform developed exclusively in Australia.

It initially came with the 6.0-litre V8 LS2 before an upgrade to the 6.2-litre LS3 in 2008. The limited Bathurst edition was the first to introduce a supercharger to the V8 before the GTS was sold from 2011.

So, can the muscular new Vauxhall really rival the likes of the Jaguar XFR-S and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S? Let's find out.

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