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Holden to switch Gen III for Gen IV V8

SSecret's out: Commodore SS and other V8-powered Holden models are tipped to adopt a 6.0-litre V8 from late this year.

SS buyers beware: Holden is expected to offer a 6.0-litre Gen IV V8 by year's end

25 Nov 2005

HOLDEN has refused to comment on media reports that it will replace its 5.7-litre Gen III V8 with an all-new 6.0-litre V8 by the end of this year.

But GoAuto has learned some Holden dealers are currently taking orders for models fitted with the all-new Gen IV V8 and that stocks of the upgraded models vehicle will be in dealerships by the end of next month.

"If we have anything to say about future products we’ll announce that in due course, not because there’s been speculation about powertrains," Holden spokesman Jason Laird told GoAuto.

"You can ask as much as you like but we’re not saying anything. We don’t respond to speculation," he said.

Holden’s current General Motors-built V8 - codenamed LS1 and employed by Commodore SV8 sedan, Commodore SS sedan and ute, Crewman SS, Adventra CX8/LX8, Berlina V8, Calais V8, Statesman V8, Caprice and Monaro models – does not comply with next year’s strict new exhaust emissions regulations.

Australia's new Step 2 emissions standard, based on Euro 3 regulations already in place in Europe, comes into force on January 1, 2006.

13 center imageJust as Ford was forced to upgrade its six-cylinder and V8 engines by then - as part of the revised BF Falcon and SY Territory ranges released in October - the new law means that Holdens powered by the current Gen III V8 must be built this year. Gen III-engined vehicles may still be sold in 2006 provided they carry a 2005 build plate.

Rather than committing resources to upgrade the Gen III to meet the 2006 rules, it’s believed Holden will switch to GM’s all-new Gen IV 6.0-litre V8, codenamed L76 (pictured left).

Originally expected to debut in the all-new VE Commodore around August next year, the Step 2-compliant Gen IV is not the 297kW 6.0-litre LS2 V8 that powers both the US-market Corvette and local Holden Special Vehicles models, which will continue to offer the flagship GM V8 exclusively.

Instead, the fourth-generation small-block GM V8 is an all-new design, built for mainstream applications including the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and the new Cadillac Escalade.

Another all-aluminium design, the L76 features variable valve timing, a revised cylinder block design with external knock sensors and "Displacement On Demand" cylinder shutdown technology to reduce fuel consumption.

Information recently revealed by GM claims that along with five per cent more power than the Gen III’s 250kW peak output, the Gen IV delivers fuel economy improvements of up to seven per cent over the Gen III. It’s also said to offer improved low-rpm torque, as well as being quieter and smoother.

The 6.0-litre version of the L76 is claimed to produce a best-in-class 264kW. The 5.4-litre V8 available in BF Falcon, Fairmont Ghia and Fairlane produces 230kW, while Ford’s XR8 offers 260kW and FPV’s HSV-rivalling models deliver 290kW.

The L76 is also produced in range-topping 6.2-litre guise, which develops 298kW – 1kW more than HSV models’ LS2 V8.

Including cast-iron and aluminium versions, GM says the Gen IV will also be built in 4.8 and 5.3-litre forms – all of which are also compatible with a six-speed automatic.

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