HSV’s grand 476kW finale

Corvette ZR1’s 819Nm monster to give Aussie Commodore an explosive send-off e

TOBY HAGON

Style wise

Don’t expect major bodywork updates, just functional modifications to front spoiler, grille, sills, bumpers, diffuser and a rear wing

More bang for your buck Mo y

What’s the next cheapest four-door 476kW+ car? There’s only one and it’s a $625K Ferrari FF. The 430kW Mercedes-AMG E63 S retails at $251K. th car A

Stop motion

ARTIST’S ILLUSTRATION The most powerful Holden ever needse equally potent stoppers. HSV will have to pick between the current AP architecture or a version of the Corvette ZR1’s Brembo monoblocs. dse p e otent

HOLDEN Special Vehicles is readying the fastest, most potent Holden ever – a 476kW AMGbelting super sedan – as a last hurrah for the Holden Commodore before it bows out in 2017.

Wheels has learnt of a secret skunkworks project inside HSV’s Clayton campus tasked with shoehorning the LS9 version of the GTS’s 6.2-litre supercharged V8 under the Commodore’s bonnet.

This engine tune is currently reserved for the Chev Corvette ZR1, which runs a transaxle. HSV would therefore have to adapt the engine to the Commodore’s architecture, which situates the gearbox next to the engine.

In the C6 Corvette ZR1, the LS9 V8 engine makes 476kW and 819Nm – a hefty 46kW and 79Nm more than HSV’s current hero, the 430kW GTS. It propels the considerably lighter Corvette to 100km/h in 3.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 330km/h. The performance numbers wouldn’t be quite as impressive in the bigger, heavier Commodore, but would still easily blow away the GTS’s current performance benchmarks of 4.5 seconds and 280km/h.

Wheels understands that General Motors supports HSV’s desire to build this car, offering a discount on more than 100 of these highoutput LS9 supercharged V8s.

Questions remain over whether the GTS’s existing 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission would be up to such a mammoth task, or wear. Internally, some at Clayton refer to the project as a modern GTS-R, reviving the legendary yellow and black performance hero left) that HSV sold in 1995 and 1996; just 85 were produced – all in Melbourne taxi yellow.

It’s unlikely the 21st century HSV hero would tread the retro naming route, though, instead forging its own high-performance identity to take on the best from whether HSV would also have to source the new Corvette’s 8L90 eight-speed auto, which has a 900Nm operating ceiling.

A manual version is unlikely, especially given the $130K expected pricetag and limited production numbers such a project would justify.

One thing’s for sure, it will make one helluva send-off for Holden’s last Australian V8 sedan.

What’s also uncertain is the name this supercharged brute will The modern version will have more than double the power of that exclusive, collector-friendly car, which used a blueprinted 5.7-litre ‘stroker’ V8 to make a claimed 230kW and 475Nm.

The LS9 engine is based on the LSA engine used in the HSV GTS, sharing its aluminium block and cylinder head. So it would comfortably slot beneath the Commodore’s bonnet using the still easily blow away the GTS’s current performance benchmarks of 4.5 seconds and 280km/h.

Wheels understands that General Motors supports HSV’s desire to build this car, offering a discount on more than 100 of these highoutput LS9 supercharged V8s.

Questions remain over whether the GTS’s existing 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission would be up to such a mammoth task, or wear. Internally, some at Clayton refer to the project as a modern GTS-R, reviving the legendary yellow and black performance hero (left) that HSV sold in 1995 and 1996; just 85 were produced – all in Melbourne taxi yellow.

It’s unlikely the 21st century HSV hero would tread the retro naming route, though, instead forging its own high-performance identity to take on the best from Europe: BMW M5, Mercedes-AMG E63 and Audi RS6.

General eight-speed auto, which has a 900Nm operating ceiling.

A manual version is unlikely, especially given the $130K expected pricetag and limited production numbers such a project would justify.

One thing’s for sure, it will make one helluva send-off for Holden’s last Australian V8 sedan.

What’s also uncertain is the name this supercharged brute The modern version will have more than double the power of that exclusive, collector-friendly car, which used a blueprinted 5.7-litre ‘stroker’ V8 to make a claimed 230kW and 475Nm.

The LS9 engine is based on the LSA engine used in the HSV GTS, sharing its aluminium block and cylinder head. So it would comfortably slot beneath the Commodore’s bonnet using the same engine mounts.

However, it gets a bigger

It would make one helluva send-off for the last Aussie V8 to roll off the line ff f ARTIST’S ILLUSTRATION

Wingin’ it

THE high-r ise spoiler in our artist’s illustration is an attention grabber, but wings like these are with car companies prefer something more subtle.

“Customers a lot more sophistication a big wing on back,” says former Holden director Tony Stolfo. “These days they’re looking for a more integrated solution … with technical excellence. The is in the purity.”

Stolfo names aerodynamics an example, well as the more discreet aero aids favoured by most European manufacturers. e ration bber, h out of favour s s because punters hing ot are expecting lo n cation rather than the design e hese ore h s e performance active as as a e y faf cturers.

supercharger, which is the main component delivering the extra grunt, pumping 21 percent more air into the 6.2-litre V8 engine.

It also gets forged pistons (instead of cast) and lighter valves (titanium on the intake; hollow and sodium-filled on the exhaust). The conrods and crankshaft are also uniquely designed to cope with the extra grunt.

The LS9 runs a dry sump rather than the GTS’s wet sump, but HSV has experience with this – the LS7 7.0-litre V8 in the W427 used the same dry sump. Wheels understands HSV still has some of the dry sump’s plumbing left over from the stilted W427 project.

That means that, while an LS9-powered HSV would not benefit from sitting lower in the engine bay, it would have a more reliable supply of oil, allowing for higher cornering G-forces. It would also allow fitment of grippier semislick tyres and high-retardation carbon-ceramic brakes.

HSV’s current intent to limit production of this ultimate Commodore is partly due to limited engine and component availability. It’s also a cautiousness bred from the experience in 2008 with the W427, when the company overestimated demand for a $150,000 car based on a Commodore. HSV planned to produce 427 examples of the 7.0-litre V8-powered W427 but only 137 were ultimately placed with customers.

Given the success of the GTS – it has accounted for more than 35 percent of Gen F sales – insiders are confident of creating a business case for the LS9-powered flagship.

However, price will be crucial.

HSV has already shown there’s a reluctance to pay $150K for a Holden, whereas closer to $100K is palatable. Somewhere slightly below the W427’s record asking price would seem a logical place to settle for the final ‘GTS-R’.

Arrested development

IF YOU’RE having a slight sense of déjà vu here, that’s totally excusable. We did report on a possible GTS-R program back in March 2010. Proposals for an even hotter version of the GTS were kicked ab out within HSV for some time, with a third-party supplier proposing the upgrades. Stung by the cost of the 7.0-litre W427 project , a more cost-effective solution was sought. Squeezing a few extra kilowatts out of the normally aspirated LS3 engine was ultimately shelved in favour of waiting for thwe 430kW supercharged LSA that appeared in 2013’s Gen-F.