HSV super charge

HSV’s VF Series 2 update brings 395kW supercharged boost to Clubsport, Senator and Maloo; GTS to remain 430kW king pdate

TOBY HAGON

OWNING a supercharged HSV will be more affordable than ever as Holden’s performance brand races to keep ahead of Holden’s more potent 6.2-litre V8 Commodore slated to launch in October (full story page 14).

Wheels has learned that HSV’s changes due later this year will see the LSA V8, until now the sole preserve of the 430kW GTS flagship, shoehorned into the Clubsport R8 and Senator sedans, and the Maloo R8 ute.

It will also go into the Clubsport R8 Tourer, making this one of the most powerful wagons in Oz.

But don’t expect these models to enjoy the GTS’s stonking 430kW engine tune; HSV is determined to protect its performance flagship, and will rein in power for the lessers models to about 395kW.

Even so, this is a massive step up from the current LS3 6.2-litre V8, which is offered in engine tunes from 325kW to 340kW depending on model.

As a result, performance is sure to be scintillating.

Not all HSV models will be supercharged. HSV is expected to leave the base model Clubsport and Maloo (and the long-wheelbase Grange) with the naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8. It’s not known if HSV will upgrade these to the Grange’s current 340kW output, which would ensure some distance between HSV models and the fastclosing Commodore SS and SS-V, which are getting the LS3 as part of Holden’s own VF Series II upgrades.

The move to spread the supercharged love across more HSV models is good news for fans.

It also helps the Clayton brand meet its supply quota with Detroit

10 The Clubsport R8 will pick up the supercharged LSA 6.2-litre that until now had been reserved for the GTS

Cost per kW

WHEN the first HSV Clubsport was introduced in July 1990, the VNbased sedan cost $33,620 and was powered by a locally made 5.0-litre V8 that cranked out a then handy 180kW. That’s $187 per kilowatt.

Twenty-five years later, the 325kW Gen F Clubsport gives you more capacity, more gears and almost twice the power for $61,990, which is $191 per kilowatt. If the 395kW version costs the same as the current R8’s $73,290, it would be only $186 per kilowatt.

Bargain. And that’s before inflation!

Spreading the boosted V8 engine to more models in the HSV range makes them among the most powerful and best value cars on the planet

for the former Camaro ZL1 engine.

Early in the GTS development cycle, HSV made a deal with Detroit to buy a certain number of the Chevrolet engines. To meet its commitment it has resorted to selling some on the aftermarket.

As well as sticking with its 430kW tune, the GTS will also keep some of the extra fruit to itself to maintain its top-rung status.

Think torque-vectoring (for better rear-end traction) and its unique performance version of MRC (magnetic ride control).

Visual changes to HSV’s Gen F Series 2 will focus on the front end, with LSA-equipped models picking up revised bumpers with bigger air inlets to cool the supercharged engine. A vented bonnet – last seen on the E3 range – comes straight from Holden’s Elizabeth plant.

The proliferation of supercharged engines across the HSV range makes them stand out as some of the most powerful – and best value – muscle cars on the planet.

Development of the Series 2 has walked a fine line between doing enough to separate HSV’s more affordable models from range-topping V8-engined Holdens

costing just $9500 less than the entry-level Clubsport and not banging bumpers with the $95K GTS hero that has made up about one in three HSV sales.

Pricing is not expected to alter drastically, with the current $66K start for the Clubsport likely to remain while the newly supercharged R8 could rise from $73K to about $80K due to the engine’s higher cost and the need for heavier hardware underneath.

Given minimal changes, there’s not a lot of room to move with the GTS, currently the most expensive Aussie-made car at $94,490 ($96,990 with an automatic).

HSV’s Gen F range, launched in 2013, has posted strong sales ahead of the expected late 2017 closure of Holden’s manufacturing operations, with about 3100 moving out of showrooms last year despite softening large-car sales.

The carmaker already has devotees placing deposits for its final model run.

HSV is expected to launch the supercharged R8 models by the end of the year, but the rest of the range will not arrive in showrooms until next year.