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ZB Commodore: Holden details ‘fastest’ entry model

Four square: The ZB is the first Commodore series in more than 30 years to be offered with a four-cylinder engine.

Holden’s new 2.0L turbo-petrol 4-cyl Commodore faster, more powerful than base VF

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Holden logo24 Aug 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

HOLDEN’S new-generation ZB Commodore range will be offered with the quickest base model engine in the nameplate’s near-40-year history when the German-built liftback and wagon range hits Australian showrooms in late February next year.

In the lead-up to the all-important Australian launch, Holden opened the gates of its Lang Lang proving ground south-east of Melbourne this week and gave local journalists some time behind the wheel of a selection of pre-production Commodores on dedicated test tracks and surrounding public roads.

This followed the first drive of early prototypes in October last year, two months before the Opel-sourced model was shown in production guise.

Holden has now revealed more details of the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit, as well as the hotly anticipated V6 that will be offered in Australia, the US and China – but not Europe.

The four-cylinder engine will pump out 191kW of power and 350Nm of torque, and is paired with a new GM-developed nine-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels only.

Despite Opel offering an all-wheel-drive version of the 2.0-litre variant in Europe, Holden decided not to offer it in Australia.

A Holden engineer told GoAuto that AWD could be looked at down the track, but it was not currently under consideration.

The four-cylinder petrol Commodore can cover the 0-100km/h sprint in “approximately” seven seconds, according to Holden, and while the car-maker is holding off on providing precise figures, the engineering team also quoted a combined-cycle fuel economy figure of less than 8.0 litres per 100km.

The four-pot petrol variant – the first Commodore to use a four-cylinder since the VH from 1981-1984 – is faster than the current VFII Commodore’s base V6, and Holden says it weighs 138kg less than equivalent V6-powered ZB variants.

Rivals such as Ford’s turbo-petrol EcoBoost-powered Mondeo pumps out 177kW/345Nm in its highest tune and hits 100km/h in 7.7 seconds, Hyundai’s turbocharged Sonata offers up 180kW/350Nm and a 7.0s 0-100km/h time, while Volkswagen’s flagship 206TSI 206kW/350Nm Passat covers 0-100km/h in an impressive 5.5 seconds.

The 3.0-litre V6 in base Evoke versions of the VF Commodore delivers 185kW/290Nm and completes 0-100km/h in 8.1 seconds, while the more potent 210kW/350Nm unit in the SV6 and Calais – which is an earlier iteration of the V6 in the ZB – has can reach 100km/h from standstill at various points ranging from 6.6s to 7.1s depending on the variant and body style.

Holden’s lead development engineer for Commodore, David Johnson, talked up the 2.0-litre engine and the in-house-developed automatic transmission.

“We are really excited about this car because it is by far the best entry-level powertrain we have ever had in a Commodore,” Mr Johnson said at Lang Lang this week. “It’s responsive, it’s nimble and it is a beautiful car to drive.

“The nine-speed transmission is smooth, it’s got quick shifts and it is in the right gear all of the time. There is no busyness and messing around. It uses all of the latest GM technology to minimise the busy shifting.”

The 2.0-litre petrol unit is set to power versions of the forthcoming Equinox mid-size SUV, albeit with a 188kW/353Nm tune, while the V6 will show up in next year’s Acadia seven-seat large SUV that will take on the likes of the Toyota Kluger and Mazda CX-9.

Holden has not revealed any more information about the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine that will also be offered and there were no oil-burners available as part of this week’s drive program.

The company did, however, reveal that the non-VXR all-wheel-drive 230kW/370Nm V6-powered Commodore variants will complete the 0-100km/h dash in the low-6.0s bracket and consume less than 9.0L/100km on the combined cycle.

It is unclear if the VXR performance variant – which receives an extra 5kW and 11Nm – has the same 0-100km/h time as other V6 Commodores.

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