V8 play: Holden Commodore VF Series II unveiled

THE HOLDEN lion has got its roar back. This is the last Australian-made Commodore, and it will be more powerful, quicker and more vocal than ever.

The new VF Series II Commodore range, shown for the first time today, focuses on V8 performance models. These are expected to make up half its sales before the Commodore nameplate is glued to the back of the next Opel Insignia from 2017.

The V8 rumours were true – the SS Commodore is now powered by a 6.2-litre LS3 V8, the same engine that’s been spinning the rear tyres of HSV models since 2008.

It sees power upped from 270kW to 304kW. That’s still shy of the Ford Falcon XR8 with 335kW, but more importantly, torque from the SS will match the XR8’s 570Nm.

Holden -Commodore -VF-Series -2-top -side-That will make this the quickest SS Commodore ever: Holden says that 0-100km/h in the six-speed manual is clocked in a scant 4.9sec, with a standing quarter-mile of 13.0sec, while the automatic can do the same in 5.0sec and 13.1sec.

Crucially, the 10kW power deficit of the old automatic SS is gone, with both manual and auto models given the full 304kW/570Nm.

Helping those acceleration figures are revised final drives, which change from 3.45:1 in the manual to 3.72, and from 2.92:1 to 3.45 in the automatic.

“The changes to the VF Series II are few, but significant,” said design director Richard Ferlazzo.

The VF Series II SS-V Redline also has a new front bumper that includes a wider centre air-dam, and brake ducts that filter air through to an aperture in the front wheel arch, similar to the BMW air-breather. There’s also a new version of the aluminium bonnet, which includes two air vents to remove heat.

Across the range, there are no changes to the interior, and no notable changes to the V6-powered Commodore line-up.

Holden -Commodore -VF-Series -2-front -lip -badgeAt the rear, there are clear-lens tail-lights, while Sportwagons now have LED tail-light light guides. The Calais now has individual lettering spread across its boot lid. Exclusive to SS models is an optional black roof, something previously offered only on the special-edition Craig Lowndes SS-V Redline of 2014.

All VF Series IIs optioned with a V8 will get the 6.2-litre engine, including the Calais and Caprice models.

Unique to the SS-V Redline, however, is a bi-modal exhaust, developed by Holden because owners have long complained that the V8 didn’t have the soundtrack to support its punch. It uses twin pipes to channel the exhaust flow, depending on whether you’re after a quiet, late-night suburban mute or a weekend track day roar to shake your neighbour’s windows. This is expected to be the loudest Commodore to storm out of Elizabeth.

Holden benchmarked cars that included the fire breathing AMG V8 models, and developed an under-bonnet sound enhancer for the SS-V that sends noise into the cabin, too. Make no mistake: this will be genuine noise, not an artificial soundtrack as per the BMW M3, for instance. Holden says that drivers also get a flurry of noise when they stomp the loud pedal, so that the fun’s not all for those getting blown away on the pavement.

Holden -Commodore -VF-Series -2-engine-The Redline gets Brembo brakes, previously offered only on the front-end, at the rear as well.

Fuel consumption? If you have to ask… the figures are, in fact, worse than for the previous SS, rising to 12.6L/100km for the manual SS-V Redline and 12.9L/100km for the automatic. “If you’re going to buy a V8, the last thing you think about is fuel economy,” says Holden’s marketing manager, Ben Lasry.

“Our customers resoundingly want more grunt, more noise and a more involving driving experience,” Lasry said. “The sports models continue to represent an ever increasing share of the Commodore total sales … People want a sports sedan.”

The Holden Commodore VF Series II goes on sale in October with pricing yet to be announced.

Holden Commodore VF Series II

  • 6.2-litre V8 replaces 6.0-litre across the range
  • V8 power up from 270/530Nm to 304kW/570Nm;
  •  0-100km/h in 4.9sec for SS-V Redline (manual)
  • New front bumper, tail light clusters
  • SS-V gets bonnet vents; optional black roof; bi-model exhaust; under-bonnet sound enhancer; Brembo brakes on all four wheels; revised final drive
  • Rear stabiliser bar is smaller yet stiffer; damping softer
  • SS-V fuel consumption now 12.6/100km (manual) and 12.9L/100km (auto)
  • Calais: new colour (Empire); lettering across boot lid
  • No changes to V6-powered models
  • No interior changes

Click here to read the full range review of the Holden Commodore

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