And it’ll get an electrifying reinvention.
The future of Holden’s much-loved performance sub-marque VXR has been less than clear since the GM sale of Vauxhall and Opel to Groupe PSA, with the new owners dropping VXR models from European markets and replacing them with lukewarm ‘GSI’ models instead.
However, rather than trying to cull the brand and dispose of it, PSA is keen to keep it alive and healthy, just with a new-generation of cars and a new-generation of powertrains. Least, that was what was alluded to when an insider spoke about PSA’s plans recently.
“We haven’t lost this sporting brand, and it will remain at the forefront of performance motoring in the mainstream. [VXR] will always be a hardcore offering, with a jump in performance as well as very focused dynamics.” — Source
It was assumed that VXR might’ve gone the way of the dodo after the Vauxhall and Opel marques dropped all but the Corsa VXR from their lineups, with their websites also displaying only VXR models of the past rather than anything new.
What’s clear though is that not only is VXR going to stay, but a Carbuyer report goes on to say that the next VXR is most likely going to arrive in the form of the Astra hatch, but only for the next generation. Built off of Peugeot’s EMP2 platform (like the one beneath the 308), the new Astra should be able to feature electrification off the bat. That ought to lead the way for future VXR models, as tightening emissions regulations means that hybrids are the only way forwards.
The ‘new’ VXR will also benefit from weight reductions thanks to the shared platforms. The evidence of this has already been seen with the Insignia Grand Sport GSi, which despite a power deficit compared to the Commodore-based Insignia VXR8, managed to go round the infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife some 12-seconds faster.
It’ll be interesting to see whether or not ‘VXR’ will live on in Holden products after the current-crop of Vauxhall/Opel-sourced models get phased out. While it’s clear that the British and German brands are now under the ownership of Groupe PSA, the ownership of sub-brands like VXR aren’t quite so clear. Time will tell.