There’s nothing subtle about the Vauxhall VXR8, least of all the way it looks. However, strip away the big body kit, aggressive intakes, fancy alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights, and you’re left with a fairly ordinary saloon.

But this is the essence of a muscle car – hotting up a standard rear-drive saloon with a big engine and wild styling is what it’s all about.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The optional sports exhaust adds bass to the standard car’s muted voice, without becoming too intrusive

Think Ford Mustang and Lotus Carlton, and you’re on the right lines.

The entry-level VXR8 Clubsport is effectively the pre-facelifted version left behind when the GTS model was launched. The look is far more subtle, with a deep front spoiler packed with vents to feed cool air to the radiator, a rear spoiler that seriously compromises visibility and LED rear lights that Vauxhall says are designed to look like fast-jet afterburners.

The Clubsport is available as a special order only, in saloon and estate body styles.

The biggest-selling version is the VXR8 GTS, not least because it’s the only model Vauxhall promotes, but even then you’ll need to dig inside Vauxhall’s VXR microsite to find any information.

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Vauxhall range

Driven this week

The GTS looks even more outrageous, with a different grille and bumper treatment, but to our eyes it’s all a little too much. If the saloon or estate models are just too ordinary, Vauxhall can supply the VXR8 Maloo, a V8-engined pick-up.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Vauxhall range

Driven this week