300kW Commodore

6.2-litre V8 headlines Holdenís VF update due in October

JAMES WHITBOURN

ANYONE who thought Australian car manufacturing would go out with a whimper rather than a roar has rocks in their head.

Hot on the heels of Ford Falcon XR8 getting the supercharged 335kW V8 from the now defunct FPV GT comes news that Holden is shoehorning Chevroletís LS3 6.2- litre V8 into the Commodore for its Series II update due next month.

But donít expect an HSV Clubsport-size 317kW serve under the Commodoreís bonnet; Holden still has to leave room for its HSV partner to play.

Instead, the new V8 models in Holdenís range are expected to deliver more than 300kW. Torque is expected to increase by about 20Nm from the current 6.0-litre V8ís 530Nm.

Documents seen by Wheels reveal a series of mechanical and styling changes that will lean heavily on the Commodoreís rich motorsport legacy.

And while they donít confirm the switch to the LS3 in place of the current Gen IV, sources at Holden have said that reworked exhaust emissions and fuel-use ratings mean the VF Series II package does include a significant drivetrain upgrade.

An output figure of 308kW has a nice ring to it as a nod to the 308 cubic-inch (5.0-litre) V8s that once powered Commodores, and wonít encroach on HSV, which itself will introduce a series of power hikes (see report, page 10).

The new V8 must sound hotter, too, forcing Holden to redo its numbers on drive-by noise.

A need for extra stopping power is also flagged by the Chev engineís greater performance. This is likely to translate to a bigger master cylinder and/or larger unbranded calipers and discs. It could also mean a dip into the HSV parts catalogue for a more serious Brembo package for Holdenís ultimate Redline versions, with these stronger stoppers added to the rear wheels instead of being limited to the fronts, as they are on current SS and SS-V models.

Exterior styling tweaks are also coming, with changes to the headlights and sharper-looking LED running lights up front, while tail-lights and reversing lamps feature a different signature.

Pulling all this informatoin together has allowed us to produce an artistís impression of how the Commodore VF Series II will look.

Combined with information from other sources, we can reveal that redesigned front and rear bumpers, bonnet air vents/ scoops and an arch-filling 20-inch staggered wheel and tyre package are also on the cards.

While Holdenís redesign budget would have been relatively small, deftly rendered pen stokes and a focus on high-end versions should lend the ultimate Commodore a striking, aggressive look for its run to the chequered flag.

Handling

GIVEN VF IIís last-of-the-line significance, expect little more than fine-tuning of already polished dynamics. Recalibrated steering, springs, dampers and anti-roll bars combined with ESC tweaks offer more fun within switchable modes.

Styling

IF YOUíRE looking at an Evoke or SV6, donít expect serious sheetmetal changes. As well as new bumper treatment and daytime running lights, at least three new colours join restyled wheels as the Commodore avoids major surgery and instead simply changes its frock.

Engine

ITíS all about the new V8, a 6.2-litre LS3. Brake upgrades, as well as emissions and intake changes, point to the big Chev heart making its way into the VF as it wheelspins its way into Australian motoring history.