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Car reviews - Holden - Commodore - Sportwagon SSV Redline

The Car

8 Jul 2011

GM HOLDEN has announced an optional ‘Redline Edition’ handling package for its flagship V-Series V8 models, as part of the facelifted VE Series II Commodore range that will be released later this month with no change to pricing.

Priced at $2500, the Redline Edition package is available with sports-luxury V-Series versions of the V8 Commodore SS sedan, wagon and ute, and the V8 Calais sedan and wagon.

The Redline pack will comprise a new, more sporting ‘FE3’ suspension set-up on the sedans, with all models gaining more powerful four-piston Brembo front brakes and exclusive forged and polished 19-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels with low-profile tyres.

Redline sedans will also come with chromed window surrounds, while a tyre inflation kit will be mandatory fitment on the SS-V Redline Ute.

The upgraded Brembo front brake package comprises two-piece aluminium callipers and 355mm inner-vented rotors, while the sedan-only FE3 ‘Super Sports Performance’ suspension tune includes high-performance dampers and stiffer anti-roll bars.

Holden, which has also announced there will be no price increases for the new-look VE Series II Commodore range, says the Redline Edition option pack is designed for driving enthusiasts looking to buy one of its 6.0-litre V8-powered V-Series models, all of which will now run on E85 ethanol fuel.

Holden’s executive director of sales, marketing and aftersales, John Elsworth, said the interest of performance enthusiasts went beyond straight-line power and torque.

“They’re looking for a satisfying overall driving experience with superior chassis dynamics,” he said. “With the Redline Edition, we set out to improve that experience for them, to provide the ultimate sports ride by introducing features we know they’ll value the most – track-inspired handling for great road connection and control combined with awesome stopping power.”

As we reported last week, all VEII V-Series models except the ute will come standard with a rear-view camera as part of the new ‘Holden iQ’ touch-screen multi-media system, which also comprises full-colour satellite-navigation mapping.

The Redline treatment will be available in the new VEII exterior paint colours of Alto grey, Hazard yellow and Sizzle red metallic, plus the carryover colours Heron white, Karma blue, Nitrate silver metallic and Phantom black metallic.

As we’ve reported, the VE Series II Commodore range, which will continue to open at $39,990 for the Omega automatic sedan, comes in four additional paint colours (also including a new beige hue), as well as a new squarer front-end incorporating revised headlight shapes, more prominent grille and bumper treatments, and an ‘aero lip’ detail on the sedan’s bootlid and redesigned alloy wheels on some models.

Inside, there are three distinct ‘centre stacks’, mouldings, decorations and illumination colours depending on base, sports and luxury grades, a more ‘pilot orientated’ driving position, fresh features and options, a restyled heater/ventilation/air-conditioning control centre, and an emphasis on quality and craftsmanship.

Mechanically, apart from the optional Redline pack, the VEII range brings flex-fuel E85 ethanol capability for models fitted with the 3.0-litre SIDI petrol V6 and 6.0-litre Gen IV V8, reducing CO2 emissions by up to a claimed 40 per cent.

A raft of detail aerodynamic updates, plus a clutched air-conditioning compressor and a slightly lower engine idle speed on the 3.6-litre SIDI V6 combine to lower the fuel consumption of sedan models.

The 3.0-litre V6’s combined fuel consumption average is now down by two per cent to 9.1L/100km (formerly 9.3), while the 3.6L SIDI V6 improves by three per cent to 9.6L/100km (from 9.9) and the 6.0-litre V8’s thirst drops by six per cent to 13.1L/100km, from 13.9.

LPG models miss out on fuel economy improvements.

Gone from the Omega ute is the old 180kW/330Nm 3.6-litre Alloytec V6 with four-speed automatic transmission, replaced by the more advanced 3.0-litre SIDI V6 with six-speed auto, both of which delivered a 12 per cent fuel efficiency improvement in the rest of the VE Commodore range from September 2009.

Again, the Holden iQ infotainment system forms part of the redesigned dashboard on all VEII models, and as well as featuring full Bluetooth, USB and iPod/MP3 integration can store CDs on an internal flash drive (except on Omega).

V-Series variants add new high-clarity full-colour navigation mapping with real-time traffic information, voice control and (except on the ute) a rear-view camera.

In summary, the entry-level VEII Commodore Omega gains a 6.5-inch centre screen and 16-inch alloy wheels, while – as with previous models – the mid-level Berlina adds a chrome crossbar, its own foglight surrounds, 17-inch alloys and different interior trim.

The Calais scores a heavy chrome bonnet base, more brightwork throughout the body and 18-inch alloys, with the Calais V riding on 19-inch alloys.

The more sporting SV6 and SS variants continue to offer more deeply bolstered seats, circular air-vents, a ‘sports’ instrumentation pack and racier cabin detailing, with the SS-V featuring the Calais headlight treatment and its own 19-inch wheel design.

As also revealed last week, the long-running Statesman nameplate has been discontinued from the Holden line-up as part of this month’s WM Series II facelift.

Instead, the long-wheelbase Commodore-based range will be opened by the Caprice V6, which replaces the outgoing Statesman V6 as the base model, and will be priced at $61,990 – $2000 less than the cheapest Statesman in the current range and a sizeable $9500 under the existing Caprice V6.

While short-wheelbase Commodore pricing remains unchanged, Holden also has slashed $5500 from the price of the Caprice V8 flagship, which will now cost $69,990 – $2000 more than the outgoing Statesman V8.

The Caprice V6’s 3.6-litre direct-injection SIDI V6 will offer 210kW and fuel economy of 9.9L/100km – a four per cent saving over its MY10 equivalent.

The Caprice V8 V-Series will employ a 260kW version of Holden’s Chevrolet-sourced 6.0-litre V8 with Active Fuel Management (AFM) cylinder-deactivation. That’s down 10kW on the existing V8 engines, but the new E85-compatible V8 is also more efficient, with average economy two per cent better at 12.3L/100km.

The long-wheelbase WMII Caprice comes with the same exterior, interior, equipment and colour option upgrades as the short-wheelbase VEII Commodore range, while the V8 V-Series adds a sunroof, Nappa leather upholstery, dual-screen rear DVD player, Bose audio system and Holden’s tri-zone climate-control system.

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