No one ever accused the Monaro of lacking brawn, but that hasn’t stopped Vauxhall sending its muscle car for a thorough workout. After its strict training programme, the Australian-built super coupe has finally emerged looking meaner than ever. And the stylish twin bonnet scoops, bigger air dam, two big-bore exhausts and new 18-inch wheels aren’t just for show – the latest model has more power, bigger brakes and a heavily-revised chassis too. The heart of the Monaro – its 5.7-litre V8 – has been tweaked with a new induction system, a free-flowing exhaust, reprofiled cams and engine management to give even more power and torque. Besides improving the distinctive exhaust note rumble, the improvements mean the engine now produces a massive 354PS (up from the previous model’s 333PS) while torque rises from 343lb.ft to 353lb.ft (500Nm). Performance figures have yet to be set, but it’s estimated that the new Monaro will comfortably exceed 160mph and should hit 60mph from a standstill in around 5.6 seconds.
To tame the power and further improve the Monaro’s dynamic handling, the chassis has been uprated with sportier suspension settings. Lightweight steering components are now fitted to improve feel and feedback, while relocating the fuel tank has improved overall weight distribution. New 320mm ventilated front discs, borrowed from the latest Corvette C6, make sure the Monaro stops faster than ever too.
Besides the fully-functional bonnet scoops and new air dam, other visual changes include improved head and fog lamps plus a reshaped rear bumper to house huge twin 63mm tailpipes. In addition to looking beefier and sounding great, the new exhaust system has allowed an aerodynamic tray to be fitted underneath the car to improve airflow at high speeds.
Inside the cabin, an extra pair of instruments has been added to a new central binnacle, and the facia panel now has a modern high gloss ‘piano’ black finish.
Despite the improvements, the price of the Monaro has been kept below £30,000, representing exceptional value – some rivals can only offer smaller coupes with puny four-cylinder engines at this price level. Vauxhall’s specialist network of Monaro retailers are accepting orders right now, and the first cars are expected to reach showrooms in early March.