• Feb 11, 2009
Click the Vauxhall Bathurst S for a high res gallery

The Vauxhall VXR8 (a.k.a. Pontiac G8 GXP) is no performance slouch by any measure. However, as we all know, there is no such thing as too much power or torque – there are only transmissions and tires that can't handle the truth. With that in mind, the kids at General Motors' British outpost, Vauxhall, have taken the VXR8 and bolted a big honking Walkinshaw supercharger to the normally demure 431 horsepower LS3 small block. The result is 560 hp and a bump in torque from the original 405 lb-ft to 527 lb-ft. They gave this beastie the name Bathurst S for the Australian city that plays host to the Bathurst 1000, scene of so many Commodore victories over the years.

Since drivers in the rest of the world seem to lack the anti-clutch pedal gene that has seemingly infected over 95 percent of the US driving populace, the 6-speed shift it yourself gearbox remains in place. The Bathurst S also gets an assortment of visual enhancements and an optional two-mode exhaust system that lets the whole world now how loud an engine can be. The $82,400 (£44,985) price tag makes this the least expensive 500 hp car currently available in the UK.


[Source: General Motors]

PRESS RELEASE:

VXR8 BATHURST SMOKES INTO MARKET WITH BLOWER FORCE

* At £44,985, Bathurst S is less expensive than any UK car with 500PS+
* Comprehensive dynamic mods on both Bathurst and Bathurst S
* Optional Bi-Modal Exhaust offers flexibility for road and track

Luton – Few will claim that Vauxhall's storming VXR8 super-saloon is lacking in the power stakes, but just in case there were any doubters, the Bathurst S Edition will put them straight or indeed sideways...

Thanks to the addition of a Walkinshaw Performance 122 Supercharger, the Bathurst S dispenses 560 V8 horsepower, compared with the standard car's 431 horsepower, and produces searing acceleration throughout the rev-range and a spine-tingling, banshee wail when you hit the loud pedal.

The Bathurst S Edition joins the normally aspirated Bathurst Edition at the top of the Vauxhall family tree, with both cars receiving a raft of technical and cosmetic upgrades over the standard VXR8. Only a limited number of Bathurst Editions will be sold through selected Vauxhall retailers.

To exploit the Bathurst's greater power potential, six-pot front and four-pot rear callipers are now standard on both models, along with stiffer, height-adjustable springs and Walkinshaw-developed coil-over dampers. The bespoke damper units have 15 separate valve settings with independent corner adjustment for the owner's preferred setup.

Dynamically, both Bathursts retain the VXR8's much praised ride quality, but body control is enhanced and the handling made more exploitable for the enthusiastic driver.

At the heart of the Bathurst S is Walkinshaw's 122 Supercharger, which not only boosts power by 30 per cent, but escalates torque from an eye-catching 550Nm to an eye-watering 715Nm. Such is the strength of the LS3 V8 engine that extracting bigger figures would have been possible, but retaining the VXR8's driveability and durability was Walkinshaw's priority.

In fact, the 122 Supercharger is so much more than just a bolt-on blower. The comprehensively engineered package also includes a large capacity intercooler, high-flow fuel injectors, a separate cold air intake and Walkinshaw-developed ECU map, while the standard manual gearbox is upgraded with a high-torque capacity clutch.

As with most supercharged cars, the S's power delivery is exceptionally linear, with a huge slug of torque available from very low down in the rev range; but push the engine towards its redline and there's no let up in the car's performance, just a seamless stream of power.

Outside, both Bathurst's are instantly recognisable by their distinctive graphic packs, front fog light covers and 'Bathurst' badges (only the addition of a discreet 'S' badge reveals the supercharged model's extra 129PS), while inside a console-mounted badge showing the car's build number complements the 'Walkinshaw Performance' tread plates found inside each door opening.

Putting icing on the cake for serious drivers is the option of the new Bi-Modal Exhaust, which is available on both Bathurst models. Raising power by up to 10PS, the ingenious system allows drivers to select one of two noise settings: 'Street', with an upper limit of 92dbA, or 'Optimum' , which releases the LS3 V8's full 102dbA. The two-and-a-half inch diameter system is manufactured from stainless steel with unique chrome tail-pipe finishers and costs £1600.

Both Bathurst models retain the VXR8's standard colour palette, and can also be specified with optional 20" alloy rims at £1500. List price for the Bathurst Edition is £37,995 – just £2757 above the standard VXR8 – while the Bathurst S costs £44,995.


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  • 21 Comments
      bornfromjets03
      • 5 Years Ago
      W427 ftw!!


      • 5 Years Ago
      Cool car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow. That is real bargain for so much performance. I like it, except for the fact that (in agreement with other posters) the G8 and Commodore look so much better (on the exterior).
      • 5 Years Ago
      So the CTS-V retails for over 82K in the UK? That's...brutal.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As an FYI, the CTS-V in the UK retails for £47k, or £3k more than the Bathurst S.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That is the forex rate - the price for an American to convert his greenbacks, sail across the pond and buy one.

        It is not the relative cost in real terms (i.e. purchasing power) to a Brit. The cost then equates to some US$60-70K or so.
      • 5 Years Ago
      HA! That is an awesome vehicle.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Anyone know the details on the Walkinshaw 122? Does that stand for 1.22L? I'm assuming a twin screw variant, not roots.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nevermind, I answered my own question. It an Eaton M122, roots and that does stand for 1.22L of volume.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why does EVERY picture have the little bald head dude in it? Totally ruins these for wallpapers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They should all use someone in a full white full body racing suit with a matching white helmet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So basically, they built their own LSA. Nice.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Go easy on the US clutch pedal gags. AMG is not an American brand and the BMW M5 is available with a stick shift in North America but not in Europe.
        • 5 Years Ago
        AMG is a European brand and doesn't offer a single stick-shift (or indeed any non-slushbox), despite being performance cars, despite the SLR being very exotic and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some would say AMG led the charge to slushboxes in high end cars.

        The BMW M5 is there because it's an example of a car that is available with a clutch pedal in the US and not in Europe.

        Both of these indicate that perhaps the anti-clutch pedal gene is not an American thing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Maybe in the specific cases of AMG and BMW, but as a generality, this is absolutely true. I'm going on memory from the last time I saw the stats but In Spain and Italy for example, last time I looked it up between 98-99% of ALL vehicles are sold with stick shifts. This includes minivans, commercial vans, SUV's etc. About the only cars that are automatics are the biggest luxury cars, or cars for the disabled. In northern Europe, automatics have a bigger share, but it is still small- less that 20% everywhere except Britian, where autos had roughly a 22% share.

        In the US, automatics have a 94% share of the market. Most American cars aren't available with manuals at all. Most young Americans have no idea how to drive a stick.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What have AMG and BMW have to do with each other in the same sentence?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Maybe in the specific cases of AMG and BMW, but as a generality, this is absolutely true. I'm going on memory from the last time I saw the stats but In Spain and Italy for example, last time I looked it up between 98-99% of ALL vehicles are sold with stick shifts. This includes minivans, commercial vans, SUV's etc. About the only cars that are automatics are the biggest luxury cars, or cars for the disabled. In northern Europe, automatics have a bigger share, but it is still small- less that 20% everywhere except Britian, where autos had roughly a 22% share.

        In the US, automatics have a 94% share of the market. Most American cars aren't available with manuals at all. Most young Americans have no idea how to drive a stick.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, that is more than a couple
      • 5 Years Ago
      $66k for over 500hp in europe isn't all that bad, hell off the top of my head I can't think of a car that gives you 500hp for that price in america(even the z06 is in the 70k range)
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