To put that power in perspective, it's up by 113hp over the previous Vauxhall-badged Maloo thanks to a new high-flow exhaust system with bi-modal function. There's also an improved water-to-air charge cooler for the four-lobe Eaton supercharger, and a handy by-product of all this is an increase in torque to 495lb ft.
In a bid to make the most of this considerable power, there's a limited slip differential and revised, stiffer spring and damper rates. The rear suspension has also been strengthened to give better rigidity, which Vauxhall says delivers better braking efficiency.
Completing this final run model is a new splitter on the front bumper and black bonnet vents. Inside, the infotainment screen now operates standard sat-nav and there's Bluetooth included, too. Even so, it's hard to sit in the Maloo's big, comfy chairs and reconcile your surroundings with the £66,500 price tag. It all looks very last generation Insignia.
From the driver's seat, you'll note the rear-view mirror gives an excellent view of the load bay cover. This twin-humped device is said to assist with aerodynamics, but it just obscures your view. Popping it open is easily done from the key fob, but shutting it needs a fair bit of muscle to counter the gas struts and some heft so it latches properly.
Moving off is no bother at low speeds and the gearbox and clutch are light enough to make town driving simple. However, the shift from first to second needs your full attention to avoid a bit of shunt through the driveline that, again, makes you ponder that £66,500 asking price.
Once the opportunity to stretch the V8 comes, the improvements to the engine are quickly and clearly obvious. It picks up from 1,000rpm in any gear in way that only a big capacity motor can. So, you can leave the Maloo in a higher gear and surf along on or you can drop a gear or two to feel the full force of its 544hp.
This is not to say the R8 is a mere dragster. It has decent feel through the steering and it runs into gentle understeer long before the rear tyres start to slide into oversteer. Of course, it's easy to provoke the back end in slower corners to step out, even with the traction control well and truly switched on, and this is a considerable part of the LSA's appeal at every roundabout. When the fun needs to end, the 367mm front and 372mm rear vented disc brakes perform without drama or fade.
Yet, the Maloo doesn't add up to a sports car. It's still very much a 'ute with a great big supercharged V8 motor, and we're pleased it exists in this form because it sticks up two fingers to the current tide of thinking. However, for this sort of money, there are just too many other far more able saloons and estates on offer, or for around half the price you could have a Ford Mustang.
VAUXHALL VXR8 MALOO
Engine: 6,162cc, supercharged V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 557@6,150rpm
Torque (lb ft): 495@4,200rpm
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Weight: 1,869kg (kerb)
MPG: 18.5 (NEDC combined)