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Revealed: Holden’s new Commodore VXR

SS replacement: Holden says the driving finesse of the next-generation, all-wheel-drive V6 Commodore VXR will make it a worthy successor to the locally built V8 Commodore SS.

Sports flagship V6 Commodore VXR outed by Holden ahead of 2018 launch

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Holden logo20 Jul 2017

By RON HAMMERTON

HOLDEN’S next-generation Commodore flagship, the V6-powered, all-wheel-drive (AWD), liftback VXR, has been revealed in images distributed by General Motors’ Australian arm about six months out from the imported 2018 range’s showroom debut.

Riding on a chassis honed by Holden engineers over 100,000km of test driving in Australia, the German-sourced Commodore VXR gets a pumped-up sports body treatment that sets it apart from standard Commodore variants unveiled up to eight months ago.

Bolder front and rear bumpers, big-bore twin exhaust pipes, rear lip spoiler, unique side skirts and bigger 20-inch alloy wheels are among the VXR exterior highlights.

The front is dominated by two large metallic-look “vents” on each side at the front, along with slimline LED headlights that Holden says boast anti-glare matrix technology.

The look will be shared by sports variants of sister models, the European Opel Insignia GSi, British Vauxhall Insignia GSi and North American Buick Regal GS.

As expected, the Holden VXR gets a 235kW/381Nm version of GM’s ubiquitous normally aspirated 3.6-litre V6, hooked up to a new nine-speed automatic transmission and advanced all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring and twin-clutch differential.

While the raw power and torque of the Commodore VXR falls well short of the figures produced by the current Commodore sports flagship, the 304kW/570Nm 6.2-litre V8 SS, Holden is counting on the sophistication of the new package to win a new legion of fans.

Holden lead dynamics engineer Rob Trubiani said the next-generation Commodore VXR offered a different execution of performance to the outgoing SS, “but make no mistake, this is more than a worthy successor”.

“We’ve been involved in the development of this car from the beginning and I personally have spent significant time behind the wheel overseas and at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground,” he said.

“The V6 engine with the adaptive AWD and nine-speed transmission make the VXR a quick and smooth car to drive, even in wet conditions. Importantly we also have Brembo front brakes and Continuous Damping Control (CDC) and drivers are able to switch between three driving modes for distinctly different drive experiences.

“We can’t wait to get the car in the hands of our customers next year but for now, we’ve still got some work to do and will continue to work with the team in Europe, who are currently completing chassis development at Nurburgring in Germany.”

Holden was instrumental in the inclusion of the V6 version of the new model which is based on Opel’s Insignia.

In Europe, the Insignia will get only four-cylinder power, including an up-coming high-performance turbo four-cylinder for the OPC, although American reports suggest the Buick Regal version for North America will also get the option of V6 power.

As we have reported, 3.6 litres will be as big as it gets in the next Commodore, with no V8 on the cards, nor a V6 turbo.

The V6 VRX will sit atop a powertrain range that includes a pair of 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engines – a petrol and a diesel – driving the front wheels.

Apart from its bigger engine and all-wheel-drive powertrain, the VXR will get Brembo brakes and three-mode driving control system that adjusts CDC suspension, as well as the steering, transmission shifts and adaptive AWD system.

The VXR will get leather-upholstered, heated and ventilated front sports seats along with a long list of advanced safety technologies, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert and 360-degree cameras.

At launch, the VXR will be offered only in the five-door liftback body style that replaces the familiar Commodore four-door sedan, with the Sportwagon variation getting only four-cylinder power.

However, the Sportwagon’s raised Tourer crossover sibling will be underpinned by the same 3.6-litre V6 engine as the VXR.

Holden says the VXR will be released for sale at the same time as the other variants in early 2018, about three or four months after the company closes local Commodore production for good.

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