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2003 Vauxhall VX220 Turbo

2003 Vauxhall VX Lightning Concept

2003 Vauxhall VX Lightning Concept

‘Keep it simple, pure, and beautiful.’ The words of GM vice president Bob Lutz when launching the Solstice concept in the US. This was the basic requirement for Vauxhall’s new concept car, the VX Lightning.

Being launched as a centrepiece to the company’s Centenary celebrations, the VX Lightning is a two-seater roadster based on the same technical foundation as the Pontiac concept Solstice, first seen at the 2002 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Vauxhall’s roadster concept, however, has been designed for British tastes, at GM’s UK Advanced Design Studio in the Midlands.

Under the long bonnet of the VX Lightning is a new version of Vauxhall’s all aluminium 2.2 ECOTEC engine, reworked with a supercharger to produce a maximum power of 240hp and 305Nm of torque. A six-speed manual gearbox is mated to the new engine, which drives the rear wheels. The chassis incorporates independent suspension, the front end using a simple and reliable strut configuration with a rack and pinion steering.

At the rear, the independent suspension is all aluminium for weight saving. Overall, the car manages a near perfect 50:50 weight distribution for the best in handling and agility.

Kevin Wale, Vauxhall chairman and managing director says: ‘The VX Lightning says everything about where Vauxhall is heading. The car represents a return to our early performance roots when Vauxhall was famous as the manufacturer of the first true British sports car – while we continue to be both innovative and bold in exterior and interior design. ‘


Designed in the UK, the VX Lightning is a classically proportioned sports car with a long bonnet and short rear overhang.

There are also some subtle echoes of the past, including the rollover hoops sculptured into the rear deck and bodywork which flows down into the cabin.

Fitting for a car with the presence of the VX Lightning, it sits on 19inch alloy wheels at the front (fitted with 245/35 Michelin Pilot tyres) while at the rear massive 20 inch alloys are fitted with 255/35 tyres.

Inside, deeply sculptured seats are finished in black and red leather, while red leather has also been used to trim the sweeping dashboard.

There are currently no plans to build the VX Lightning concept, however Vauxhall will be closely monitoring public reaction to this great new car.

In Detail

engine Modified, Supercharged ECOTEC L850 Inline-4
position Front
displacement 2200 cc / 134.3 in³
power 179.0 kw / 240 bhp
specific output 109.09 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 182.09 bhp per tonne
torque 305.06 nm / 225 ft lbs
body / frame Composite body over Steel Unitbody
driven wheels RWD
front tires Michelin Pilot 245/35R19
rear tires Michelin Pilot 255/35R20
front brakes Discs
f brake size mm / in
rear brakes Discs
r brake size mm / in
front wheels F 48.3 x 21.6 cm / 19.0 x 8.5 in
rear wheels R 50.8 x 22.9 cm / 20 x 9 in
f suspension MacPherson Struts
r suspension Independant
curb weight 1318 kg / 2906 lbs
wheelbase 2415 mm / 95.1 in
front track 1532 mm / 60.3 in
rear track 1537 mm / 60.5 in
length 4100 mm / 161.4 in
width 1808 mm / 71.2 in
height 1140 mm / 44.9 in
transmission GM T56, 6-Speed Manual
gear ratios :1