Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The Vectra VXR's turbocharged 2.8-litre V6 develops 251bhp and 262lb-ft of torque. Maximum pulling power is available from 1800rpm-4500rpm so unless you're travelling at modest speeds in sixth gear, throttle response is virtually instantaneous. A six-speed gearbox is the only one available and the gearchange suffers from a notchy and long-throw action.

It's not much of a complaint, but it does slow things down a tad when you're pressing on. Motorway driving is like any other Vectra - a relaxed affair - but the VXR always feels like it has more in reserve should you need it.

Wide tyres and a sophisticated suspension system ensure the Vectra VXR holds the road very well. At low speeds when turning the steering wheel you can feel the front tyres scrabbling for grip as they struggle to put down all the power when cornering, but it's not as harsh as in some front-wheel drive cars. The Vectra VXR rides quite firmly which is a little unforgiving over small bumps in the road.

A 'sport' button offers a firmer still set-up for hardcore drivers, but for most the standard setting will suit most circumstances. There is hardly any body roll when cornering and the Vectra VXR also keeps its composure well when changing direction suddenly. A hi-tech stability programme also helps steer the car out of skids should it be involved in a sudden manoeuvre to avoid hitting an obstacle.