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HSV's white knight?

The all-white Astra VXR is called the Nurburgring, after the track where it was developed, and comes with a bunch of body bits including white-painted alloys, dark-tinted windows, carbon fibre effect mirrors and B-Pillars, chequered flag body graphics and an interior upgrade including more carbon fibre pieces and a limited-edition build plate. It has the same mechanical package as the regular VXR, with a 177kW turbo engine, six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive, and is priced at $44,990.

Globally there will be only 835 cars, reflecting the Nurburgring's 8 minute 35 second lap at the track.

Scott Grant says its arrival shows HSV is looking to become more than just V8 Commodores.

“For the last two years we've done roughly 200 VXRs a year. We're just starting to spread our wings and talk to a different type of customer,” he said. “I think we're going to need a bit more of that.”

In 2007, 81 per cent of VXR buyers did not own or had even driven an HSV. And 68 per cent of them were women.

“That hot hatch area is really strong. We want to supplement the loss of demand for some other products, perhaps with four cylinders from overseas, to balance the brand,” he said.