Last of the big bangers
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Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) has released images and details for its final wave of Australian Commodore–based Gen-F machines from the Clayton outfit — labelled the Gen-F2s.
Eight models were unveiled earlier this week, with each one packing a number of upgrades over its current-model counterparts.
The Clubsport R8, Tourer R8, Maloo R8, and Senator Signature all gain a number of performance additives. Brake torque vectoring technology, Electronic Data Interface (EDI) data recording, and superchargers to pair with the 6.2-litre LSA V8 engines all become standard options. Their Bi Modal exhaust set-up has also received a tweak, to help deliver more scream and shout lower in the rev range.
They also receive a boost in power, with HSV squeezing 410kW out of the LSA unit for the aforementioned models, with an increase to 430kW on the menu for the final run of GTS models.
These changes are bolstered by subtle aesthetic upgrades, including revised wheel packages, and a new label — 30 Years — which gives a nod to this year's 30-year anniversary of HSV.
However, the biggest story from the announcement has been the return of the GTSR nameplate, through a new premium HSV range. Three GTSR models; a sedan, a Maloo ute, and the range-topping W1; will replace the outgoing GTS towards the end of 2017's opening quarter.
Upgrades to the GTSRs are vast. All models feature a wider track to accommodate wider tyres, wheels, and guards.
And HSV also managed to further bump up the power of the LSA engine for the GTSR, with it now hitting 435kW. Larger 410mm brake rotors help give it the stopping power it needs.
Revised bodywork all round also makes it one of the angrier looking characters in HSV’s fleet. And though they won't make use of the same banana yellow and tri-spoke wheel of their forerunner from the mid-90s, they will come with lashings of carbon fibre and some eye-popping colour options — underlined by the bright neon green named Spitfire, and Light my Fire gold.
At the top of the new GTSR range lies the W1, which looks set to become one of the most lauded cars in Australian motoring history.
The key to its success is the engine under its bonnet and the subsequent performance figures.
It ditches the LSA unit, to instead make use of a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1–sourced 6.2-litre LS9 V8.
The LS9 has 474kW and 810Nm of torque, making it the most powerful Australian production car developed.
Although HSV didn't release any performance times, 0-100km/h is expected to be in the low four-second mark, and, in his interview with Driven, HSV's New Zealand regional manager Andrew Lamb confirmed the W1 had lapped Winton Motor Raceway four seconds quicker than the outgoing GTS.
“That, to me, tells a bigger story than 0-100 times. It’s about driving dynamics, it’s about handling, it’s about mid-corner grip. I think that’s one of the biggest measures,” Lamb said.
Aiding its track ability is SupaShock suspension derived from the Australian Supercars Championship, and Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R tyres — both a first for HSV.
“I think we’ve paid good homage to the past, but with a modern interpretation ... We haven’t just bought some bits and plonked them in, we’ve actually designed and taken what works and what suits our car and customers, and developed our own [technology] for what doesn’t,” said Lamb.
“There’s a huge amount of work to hand-build these W1s at our plant, it’s a big exercise.
“Normally we can turn out a number of GTSs or GTSRs a day, but at Claytons it will take two and a half days to build one W1.”
Just 20 W1s will arrive on New Zealand shores, all of which have been spoken for prior to the announcement.
Pricing on the 30 Years HSV range starts at $98,990 for the Maloo.
The Clubsport R8 sedan, Tourer R8, and Senator will set you back $102,990, $106,990, and $115,990 respectively, while the last GTS is priced at $119,490.
Meanwhile the GTSR pricing starts at $117,990 for the Maloo. The GTSR sedan manual follows at $130,990, with the W1 topping the charts at $189,990. Swapping to an automatic on the Clubsport R8, Maloo, Maloo GTSR, or GTSR sedan is a $2,500 option.
Production on the 30 Years vehicles has already started, with deliveries expected to follow in March. GTSR production is scheduled to begin in April, with deliveries to follow in May.
With production of the Australian VF Commodore ending later this year, attention now turns to the future of the HSV brand. Lamb confirmed to Driven that HSV has more automotive plans in store for coming years, but wouldn't delve into details.
“We’ve got a number of products under development, which will be confirmed in due course,” he said.
“There’s a lot of rumours and stories about our agreement with Holden. I suppose the most obvious thing I can say to counter the negativity in some of those areas is that we have just signed a 15-year release on a new facility that’s about a kilometre away from where we are in south-east Melbourne.
“It’s several times the size of where we are now; it gives us the ability to have three separate production lines.
“The brand pillars are design, performance, and technology. And that doesn’t change.”