Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

PLAIN POWER; STEVE ORME Looks at a World Car That Is Worlds Apart from What We Have Come to Expect from Our Supercars

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

PLAIN POWER; STEVE ORME Looks at a World Car That Is Worlds Apart from What We Have Come to Expect from Our Supercars

Article excerpt

Byline: STEVE ORME

AUSTRALIA has apologised to the Aborigines for the lost generations. Of course in the UK there is nothing new about good old breast-beating atonement and self-rapprochement for the failure of the potato crop on Craggy Island. But in Oz?

Look, this is the hardened society, born of men found in the wrong part of Tolpuddle in 1834, that gave us the rotary clothes line, radios in cars and parts of Kylie .

Perhaps the Australian government would consider apologising for Neighbours, Dame Edna Everage and severe damage to English test cricket.

The vexed question down under was how to communicate this new contrition. As I see it they had a couple of choices: a personal message delivered by Mick Dundee or a case of tinnies in the back of the pick-up. They settled for a statement in parliament.

All of which sounds suspiciously like stereotyping. But it's not as stereotypical as the Vauxhall VXR8.

Australia is a vast continent with a huge interior full of pretty much nothing. And so is the VXR8. There are more extras in the Great Victoria Desert. Camels have more switches.

Then again, the VXR8 is about muscle not cosmetics, heavily hinted at by 19-inch wheels and a surfboard for a rear spoiler.

The R8 is a rebadged Holden Clubsport and sold as a Pontiac in the US. Which is why it shares the Corvette's 6.0L LS2 V8 engine, developing a slightly bonkers 420bhp and 550Nm of torque, able to trot along to 62mph in 4.9 seconds for the standard six-speed manual and topping 170mph. There is an optional six-speed automatic box costing pounds 1,400.

So it's a world car but it is worlds apart from what we have come to expect from our supercars.

For a start there is the price, pounds 36,000, with the semi-sequential gearbox. That is so much less than a BMW M5, I'm afraid. Well OK, it's pounds 23,000 less. …

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