Vauxhall used to badge its performance cars GSi. There were some quick models with SRi stamped on the tailgate though. Oh yes, and GTE always spelt big fun too while many SXi models came with a mild dynamic flavour. Beyond that, there have been GLS, GLi, CDX and CDi Vauxhall variants to contend with that weren't overly sporty. Some cars were even badged 'Sport'. It was all as clear as a bucket of snow. What Vauxhall needed was a recognisable performance brand that customers could get a solid handle on. Inevitably, it settled on another three-letter combo - VXR.
Rather than sticking with the 'Scrabble bag' method of determining nomenclature, Vauxhall chose to develop VXR as its flagship sporting brand much as Volkswagen has GTI and Honda has Type-R. It forged a perceptual link with its VX Racing motorsport team in the process, underlining the connection between the Vauxhalls people can buy and the ones they saw on the track. First off the production line was the VXR version of the VX220 sportscar. Then came the Monaro VXR, a muscular V8 coupe, and the Astra VXR of 2005. All of these cars offered big power, rapid performance and bundles of fun for the money but were criticised for a certain lack of finesse. The Corsa VXR that arrived in 2007 wasn't lacking in brute force but it was the first VXR Vauxhall that could live with its major rivals in terms of the way it put that power to use.
The Corsa VXR is the hot version of the Corsa supermini that launched in 2006 to critical acclaim. Cabin quality, interior space and ride comfort were key strengths of the basic car but the VXR model took it off in a far more dynamic direction with a comprehensive set of performance and styling modifications. The options available to buyers were limited with the car coming in three-door guise with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, a six-speed manual gearbox and a single trim level. More choice was provided by 888 special edition VX Racing Edition models that were made available early in 2009 with 500 VXR Arctic cars turning up a at dealerships around the same period.