As has been typical of all VXR8s, any attempt to link this model to the immediate Vauxhall family tree is pointless.

In Australia, the GEN-F GTS is more obviously a hardcore version of the VF Commodore saloon; in the UK, it’s a standalone item, with improbable measurements that confirm its position as a one-off in GM’s UK passenger car line-up. Only the even more Australian Maloo UTE, with its 537bhp V8 and price tag that puts the pick-up within almost £1000 of the VXR8 can claim any relationship.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Expect the VXR8 GTS to average around 18mpg

Within the bow of this near five-metre car is a 576bhp, 546lb ft supercharged version of GM’s LS3 6.2-litre V8 – the same LSA variant used by the Camaro ZL1 and a cousin of the Corvette ZR1’s 638bhp LS9.

While HSV had the luxury of selecting the LSA engine from GM’s parts bin, it was not simply a case of fitting the supercharged V8 straight into a Commodore’s engine bay and closing the bonnet.

Despite sharing its platform with the Camaro, HSV was forced to mount the motor very low in order to fit the Holden’s specific architecture and then significantly re-engineer the rear sub frame, fit a unique propshaft along with larger diameter half shafts and massively upgrade the rear differential to accommodate the dramatic increases in power and mechanical stress.

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Even then, meeting the V8’s cooling requirements was a challenge. Between the radiator, engine oil cooler, the standalone transmission and differential coolers and the intercooler, the car sports eight heat exchangers, all of which require access to clear airflow.

Space also had to be found for the LSA’s bi-modal air intake system, which feeds air directly to the Eaton four-lobe supercharger. The blower’s displacement (1.9 litres compared to 2.3 litres) is the single biggest difference between the VXR8’s V8 and the 638bhp LS9 used in the Corvette ZR1. The former’s lower operating pressure meant that it was able to do without the expensive titanium connecting rods and forged pistons of the latter.

For immediate context, that means buyers will enjoy a 150bhp and 140lb ft increase over the previous, LS3-engined VXR8. For a wider frame of reference, , it means that the car is more powerful than an Audi RS6 or a Porsche Panamera Turbo.

Unlike those cars, the GTS sends its power exclusively to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox and a mechanical limited-slip differential. If that set-up has you imagining a simplistic old nail, forget it: brake torque vectoring, electric power steering and selectable drive modes are all standard on the new model.

The latest magnetorheological dampers – dubbed Magnetic Ride Control – also appear on what is still a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, with slightly wider 20-inch wheels at each corner. More prudently, the front and rear brake disc diameters increase and forged six-piston calipers are fitted.

The most noticeable update is reserved for the nose, where HSV calculated that a total of 130,000mm2 of open space would be required to satisfy the new engine’s appetite for air. The new twin-nostril grille and huge lower intake are the result.

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