ARE YOU sitting down? Welcome to the new face of Holden four-door performance, the Commodore VXR.
With the iconic SS badge retiring with the V8 engine, Holden has applied the VXR badge to its new range-topper, hoping the equity built by recent imported performance Insignias and Astras is enough to entice a new generation of driving enthusiasts to the brand.
Under the bonnet is a 235kW/381Nm 3.6-litre naturallyaspirated V6 backed by a nine-speed torque-converter automatic. All-wheel drive is standard and Holden claims the VXR will sprint to 100km/h in “around six seconds”. Key to the new Commodore’s ability to entertain is its Focus RS-style “Twinster” all-wheel drive system, which does away with a traditional rear differential and instead employs a pair of clutches at the rear axle.
Up to 50 per cent of the drive can be sent rearwards which can then be apportioned side-to-side to improve handling and give the car a more “rear-driven” feeling.
According to Holden’s Lead Dynamics Engineer, Rob Trubiani: “The next-gen Commodore VXR offers a different execution of performance to the outgoing SS but make no mistake, this is a more than worthy successor.”
Enhancing the VXR’s performance credentials are Brembo front brakes and adaptive dampers, which along with the steering, transmission and all-wheel drive system offer three different drive modes. The front suspension uses GM’s Hi-per strut system, which separates the damper from the steering axis to improve front-end geometry and reduce torque steer. Wheels are 20 inches in diameter wearing Bridgestone Potenza tyres in Holden’s computergenerated images.
The images show the VXR’s unique front and rear bumpers and rear lip spoiler, however judging by its mechanically identical Buick Regal GS sister car, bound for the Chinese
and US markets, Holden has used a bit of artistic licence in both the ride height and wheel offset departments.
On the inside there are performance front seats with both heating and cooling functions and a raft of technology that Holden will be pushing hard to back its claim that the Next Generation Commodore is the most advanced ever.
Its eight-inch LCD instrument display will support Android Auto and Apply Carplay, adaptive LED headlights make their Commodore debut and there’s a full suite of active safety equipment, including a 360-degree camera, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane-keep assist, forward collision alert and blind-spot monitoring.
However, while regular buyers crave gadgets, for Holden to capture even a fraction of its traditional enthusiast audience the Commodore VXR will need to be seriously special to drive. We’ll discover just how special towards the end of 2017, while the VXR will launch along with the rest of the new Commodore range in early 2018 with pricing yet to be determined. – SN