Even the “refined” tastes of the UK appear poised for the arrival of some Holden horsepower & design as the HSV W427 and its 570-hp fresh from their Melbourne debut are getting rebadged as the Vauxhall VXR8 for the UK market. Powered by the new Corvette ZO6’s LS7 7.0 liter V8 engine the HSV W427 has been stated to have 570 hp, the Holden HSV W427 is aggressively targeted at the BMW M5 and the Audi RS6. Why should they aim for less?
The Holden HSV W427 (not the easiest name to say) is priced in the area between $140,000 to $170,000 Aussie dollars and will have its rebadged Vauxhall version in the UK priced at 55,000 Pounds ($110,000 US). The HSV W427 is certainly a brute force sedan with reclassed styling and refinement for a GM product, but at a price similar to the M5 will the Holden/Vauxall name plate win against a BMW head-to-head. Judging by Automobile Mag’s comparison of a G8 GT to a BMW 550i…. maybe.
The Pontiac G8 GT is based off the same Holden Commodore design as the HSV W427, and with its 361-hp engine it competed nicely against the 550i of BMW at nearly half the price. The only disparity was in the interior where the GM plastics, while much improved from prior attempts, were really no match for the classic elegance of the BMW’s. However, at half the price some disparities can be forgiven. By pricing the Vauxhall VXR8 too close to the BMW M5, and despite the Corvette power, it could be a tough sell in a Euro-first market. As long as they can keep the US executives/designers hands out of the rebadging process the Vauxhall VRX8 will have a better chance.
The bold designs and grunting horsepower aims of the Aussie designers make many Holden designs very appealing to Americans who at one time were used to such. The HSV W427 could find an eager audience in the US under the Pontiac badge if it were not for the price tag. Picking up a Pontiac sedan at the dealership that has a sticker above $100k would just be… odd… despite the powerplant and the improved interior quality.
Thanks in a large part to the Aussie designers, GM sedans, whether badged as a Holden, Pontiac or Vauxhall, are finally coming into a style and quality of design that can compete against the fine European/German sedans. The important part for them is finding a price just beneath the competition so as to tempt a frugal shopper. It will be interesting to see how the Vauxhall fairs against the M5 and Audi RS6 in the UK market.