Make / Model Search

Future models - Holden - Commodore

Opel rules out turbo Commodore

Blown chance: The new-generation Holden Commodore will have to make do with naturally aspirated engines as the platform was never designed to accommodate forced-induction powertrains.

Despite no high-performance engines, Opel insists new Commodore built for the driver

13 Mar 2017


OPEL has revealed that it ruled out forced induction early in the development of the new-generation Insignia/Commodore, prioritising other areas such as weight loss over outright performance.

The decision has meant that the top-performing version of the new front/all-wheel-drive Commodore – to be fully imported from early next year after Australian production of the current unique rear-wheel-drive model ends in October – will be limited from launch to a naturally aspirated 3.6-litre V6 producing 230kW of power and 370Nm of torque.

This is a far cry from the current flagship Commodore SS fitted with a 304kW/570Nm 6.2-litre LS3 V8.

Opel vice-president of design Mark Adams told Australian journalists at the Geneva motor show last week that the decision to forgo a forced-fed powertrain was made early in development “because you have to bake that into the architecture”.

“What you can’t do is messing around with the architecture when you are designing the final car because then you are in trouble,” he said.

“We have to make those judgement calls early in the process, and then you can still tweak engines to a certain degree and make them fit – V6 is a good example. But at same time you have got to know where you draw the line. You can’t just make those things go on forever.”

Insignia chief engineer Andreas Zipser said a turbocharged V6 was not “considered in the program”, despite the fact Holden engineers and the requirements of the Australian market “was definitely one of the drivers” of the development of the V6 engine.

He said the choice for developing a naturally aspirated V6, instead of a higher-power turbocharged powertrain, was due to the overall weight and balance of the car.

“We customised the vehicle with the weight reduction for performance, because at the end of the day … whether it be bi-turbo or single-turbo or whatever, at the end of the day what counts is the engine performance and the driving behaviour,” Mr Zipser said.

“I would say looking towards the overall package of the car, one of the big advantages of the car is that it is getting very light, so meaning this for me, this interpretation of the next-generation Commodore, that we are reducing drastically in weight.”

Mr Adams echoed a similar sentiment and said weight reduction was prioritised over outright power.

“One of the other things we have tried to do with the car as you’ve heard, is the significant weight reduction,” he said. “So there comes a point when you start tipping the balance, tipping the scales too far the other way. And that is all a trade-off decision.

“If we add everything in, and you say, ‘Ah, yeah, now we have got all the specifications we need’, then the overall car becomes too heavy, less agile, less balance.”

Mr Zipser also emphasised that the Insignia/Commodore had been developed from the ground-up to be engaging to drive.

“This is a car that is a driver’s car, you will really feel engaged in the car,” he said. “With this car, we will really have the opportunity to have a great point to the Australian market.

“Everything is in (the car) that makes, at this point in time, a nice car in the D-segment (mid-size) or luxury segment, where we are fighting against.”

While rear-drive was not a possibility in developing the next Commodore, the new-generation model is lowered by 30mm compared with the current Insignia and features a more dynamic seating position, according to Mr Zipser.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram
Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here