Tuning firm reveals performance pack for Holden ZB Commodore ... sort of
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The new German-built Holden ZB Commodore is now over a year old. And the inevitable question now is what Holden's plans are to keep the platform fresh.
This is normally the part where a company will crank out some kind of nifty performance variant to stimulate the market. We haven't heard a peep from Holden in this regard (apart from the Black Edition that was shown off in March), but from Germany there's this.
Irmscher will be a familiar name to some in New Zealand, but perhaps for reasons that are hard to pick. Arguably, their name is best known here for the prolific number of 'tuned' Isuzu Bighorns that used to populate the land in the late '80s and early '90s.
But, they've made plenty of other special edition models over the years. Most of these are from within the General Motors family; other Isuzus, and countless different Opels including the cult-classic Manta, and numerous jazzed up Astras and Vectras.
Now, a similar treatment has been revealed for the Commodore VXR's Euro cousin; the Opel Insignia GSi.
Not a lot has been altered with the exterior. New turbine 20-inch wheels look quite swish (there's a black, older style alternative also available to buyers), and the more nondescript grill — headed by a strip of stainless steel — gives it an injection of class. Buyers can option that strip to be made out of carbon fibre, too.
No cabin snaps are available just yet, but Irmscher says that the model will come with improved leather seats as well as Irmscher detailing throughout.
But, more importantly, there are also a few performance tweaks abound.
Ride-height has been lowered by a generous 30mm, helping lower the centre of gravity and reducing body-roll. There's a power bump too, but only on the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine.
Yes, while the European GSi and the Australasian VXR share a lot of traits — like Brembo brakes, all-wheel drive, and the platform's edgier body-kit — they don't actually share the same engine. We get the naturally aspirated 3.6-litre V6 making 235kW/381Nm, while they get a 2.0-litre four popper making 191kW/350Nm (we get that engine too, but only in the LT and RS trims).
Nevertheless, Irmscher claim to have breathed on this engine, too. The German firm state that power has increased by 20hp, or approximately 15kW. We've driven the 2.0-litre Commodore around Pukekohe Raceway, and an extra 15kW would well and truly bridge the gap between it and the V6.
While it's unlikely that this is going to be the avenue that will bring the Irmscher name back to New Zealand, it's good to know that hot versions of GM's underrated sedan/lift-back platform are being thought up. Hopefully we'll get our turn soon, too.