A V8 that shakes you: Holden's Commodore SS-V Redline tested
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Hopping into the 2017 Holden Commodore SS-V Redline you press the start button, and the brute power of the beast shakes you to the core.
With its bimodel exhaust system engaged, the throbbing and popping from the 6.2-litre V-8 begins immediately as one of the last Australian-built Commodores announces it means business.
It is a throaty soundtrack no matter whether you are inside the car, or standing outside. The symphony is amplified inside the cabin by a device transmitting the sound directly from under the bonnet.
For a Commodore novice, the SS-V Redline experience is tinged with regret because in more than four decades of driving, until last week, I hadn't driven a Commodore.
So my first drive in a Commodore is in one of the last to be built across the Tasman.
The SS-V Redline is the top-of-the-range Commodore sedan, kitted out for serious driving performance.
Not that creature comforts are neglected, with 8-way power-adjusted leather seats, full-colour multi-function display on the dashboard and even a heads-up display on the windscreen in front of the driver.
This is not the car for those wanting to travel discreetly or under the radar; especially in spitfire green, a colour that originated during the war when Spitfires were painted green so they wouldn't be bombed while parked on the grass.
Auckland | Wairau Valley
$156.90 p/w $627.60 p/m
It stands out in any car park, and the bold colour is nicely offset with a glossy black and chrome grille, black Redline bumper bar, two black louvres on the bonnet, shiny black 19-inch alloy wheels, and a black spoiler on the boot lid.
Then there are the red Brembo brake callipers both front and rear.
It makes for a visually stunning package.
This last-generation Commodore is based on the VF model introduced in June 2013. Holden has honed the model in that time. The result is an exceptionally well-balanced driving package.
The Redline sedan Driven tested had the six-speed automatic transmission, with active select option available by flicking the gear lever to the left. There is also what Holden describes as "ultra sport" suspension, that helps keep the Commodore flat through even tight corners.
The ride is reassuringly firm, but not uncomfortably so.
There was no hint of fatigue even after two two-hour plus non-stop motorway journeys. When idling the V8 rumbles away, gently rocking the Commodore and offering the enticing prospects of motoring joy to come.
The 6.2 litre engine puts out 304kW of power and 570Nm of torque, and it feels great powering that much grunt on the road.
The automatic model tested has a claimed fuel usage of 12.6 litres per 100km, although if you are going to fret about fuel usage then an old school V8-powered Commodore is not the vehicle for you.
Certainly I failed to achieve anything close to that figure during a week driving the car.
This is no supercar, and remember there are plenty of HSV Commodores available with even more oomph, but then I don't pretend to be a Shane Van Gisbergen.
The SS-V Redline still feels like a car ready for serious action.
There is plenty of room for five people to travel comfortably, with the reassurance of a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
It is seriously quick, with tests indicating the SS-V Redline will go from 0 to 100km/h in around 5 seconds. There is plenty of pop and crackle on the way to the open road speed limit, but the car feels assured as it reaches that speed.
The car is agile when it needs to be on bends and displays all of the handling characteristics that has helped establish the Commodore as an Australasian icon.
It is only when we were doing a photo shoot in a confined area during foul weather that two of the model's disadvantages emerged -- the model has a large turning circle, so a lot of toing and froing is required when turning in a tight situation.
And the rear view camera can become somewhat indistinct during cloudy wet weather. Contemporary cameras offer more clarity and less likelihood of 'white-out' restrictive viewing.
The Commodore also has unusually small rear vision mirrors when compared with newer models, although they do an adequate job.
The Commodore SS-V Redline sedan has a recommended retail price of $78,390 and for that you get an exceptionally comfortable sports sedan with solid old-school rear wheel drive road manners.
The latest driver aids are thrown in along with plenty of room for five adults to travel in comfort.
Holden Commodore SS-V Redline
Pro: More than ample grunt and driver comfort
Con: Some old-school traits