THE Holden VF Commodore range has received a modest makeover for the 2015 model year, with the changes focusing almost entirely on V8 models popular with private buyers.
The Holden Commodore secured close to 60 percent of the Australian large car market in 2013, and is running at a heady 72 percent so far in 2014. This incredible market dominance faces a fresh challenge once Ford's FGX Falcon hits the streets in December, offering savings of up to $10,000 on the current model.
More than one-third of VF Commodores sold since its launch in May 2013 have V8s under the bonnet, which largely explains Holden's top-end focus with the MY15 update.
Hero of the 2015 VF Commodore range is a limited-edition sedan named after five-time Bathurst 1000 winner Craig Lowndes. Just 233 examples of the Holden Commodore Craig Lowndes SS-V Special Edition will be built, 120 of which already have buyers' names against them - including Lowndes himself.
“I was really excited when Holden approached me with the idea of what they wanted to do,” Lowndes told Wheels. “I jumped at it. For me, it’s a great honour to have 20 years in motor racing celebrated with a special edition.”
The Craig Lowndes Special is based on the Commodore SS-V Redline flagship performance sedan, and gains a number of embellishments intended to improve its dynamics and exclusivity. It's available in red or white with a price tag of $57,990 in six-speed manual form, or $60,190 with the six speed automatic.
The Craig Lowndes Special gains suspension tweaks, uprated Brembo brakes and 20-inch black alloy wheels – now with slightly wider rear hoops to better put the 270kW 6.0-litre V8's power to the road. Despite this broader contact patch, Holden is not claiming any improvement in the Redline’s 0-100km/h sprint.
Visual enhancements to the Lowndes Special include blacked-out roof and bonnet panels, and stripes down the side.
Other mechanical changes to the Holden VF Commodore MY15 range are minor. Automatic transmission versions of SS-V Redline and Craig Lowndes models add steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters – a first for an Australian-made car –developed initially for the US-spec, Commodore-based Chevrolet SS sedan.
SS-V Redline models also swap to black alloy wheels in place of the hard-to-clean mirror ball alloys on the previous model.
The only exterior design change is to SS models and above, a near black valance under the rear bumper.
The steering calibration has also been finessed to deliver more feedback on sports models.
Pricing remains unchanged on all carryover models into the 2015 model after an across-the-board hike of $500 in August.
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