Make / Model Search

New models - Holden - Commodore

AFM for V8, not V6

Each way bet: Holden's popular Commodore Omega gets a less powerful, more efficient V6 - but there's no sign of the Active Fuel Management system V8 autos gain from January.

Holden heralds fuel-saving tech for V8 autos, and slips less powerful V6 into market

10 Oct 2008

GM HOLDEN has taken the unusual step of announcing it will introduce General Motors’ fuel-saving Active Fuel Management (AFM) technology on automatic versions of its locally-built V8 models from January next year - in more than three months' time - but it won’t say when its volume-selling V6 models will employ the cylinder deactivation system.

The company used last week’s Australian International Motor Show (AIMS) to reveal that AFM V8-powered versions of the Commodore, Ute, Sportwagon, Statesman and Caprice will join the LPG Commodore and its derivatives, plus diesel-powered passenger cars including the Astra, Epica and (2WD) Captiva, in a new range of “EcoLine” vehicles from Holden in early 2009.

Chairman and managing director Mark Reuss said AFM will be first introduced across the range of eight-cylinder automatics because the Commodore V8’s six-speed auto was already the most fuel-efficient transmission in Holden’s line-up, but he indicated it was unlikely to become available on manual versions.

“AFM has been developed for six-speeds because it’s our most fuel-efficient transmission and if you look at the way AFM works, cylinder deactivation is dependent on throttle position, gear selection and the like. Nobody else offers it with a manual transmission,” he said.

Mr Reuss was less forthcoming when asked when Commodore buyers could expect to see the fuel economy feature on V6 models.

“GM on a technology basis is working on AFM in different cylinder variants, but I’m not going to get into any of our future product plans on anything but V8 today,” he said.

13 center imageLeft: Holden V6 engine production.

AFM is similar in concept to Chrysler’s Multi-Displacement System (MDS), which debuted the technology here in mainstream models in 2005 via the Chrysler 300C V8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.7, as well as Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system – seen in Australia on the Accord V6 – and Daimler AG’s Active Cylinder Control (ACC).

The Commodore’s AFM-equipped 6.0-litre V8 operates automatically on four cylinders in certain driving conditions until more power is required and is claimed to reduce fuel consumption by up to 1L/100km, but the downside is a three per cent loss of peak power output – about 10kW – compared to the regular V8.

GM offers the AFM system, previously known as Displacement On Demand, on a range of V8 engines in the US, where the Chevrolet Impala’s aged HV-series 3.9-litre V6 also employs it, but says no such technology is currently available on any versions of its Melbourne-built global V6.

Holden has not abandoned its fuel economy push with the Commodore’s 3.6-litre global V6, however, announcing the immediate fitment of the “premium” version of its Alloytec V6 as standard across the Commodore range.

Announced deep within Holden’s AIMS press release, the move sees Omega and Berlina versions of the VE Commodore sedan and Sportwagon, as well as the base Holden Ute, lower their official ADR 81/02 average fuel consumption figure by between 0.2 and 0.4L/100km.

However, while the VE sedan’s official fuel consumption is reduced from 10.8 to 10.6L/100km (its average CO2 emissions similarly drop, from 256 to 252g/km), the entry-level Commodore still falls short of its key rivals in terms of fuel efficiency.

Ford’s entry-level FG Falcon XT returns 10.5L/100km with its standard five-speed automatic and 10.1L/100km with its optional six-speed ZF auto. Toyota’s Aurion V6 returns a class-leading 9.9L/100km at base level.

Meantime, the base Sportwagon models reduce their official fuel consumption figures from 11.1 to 10.7L/100km (CO2 emissions drop from 261 to 256g/km), while V6-powered Holden Utes drop a similar amount - from 11.3 to 10.9L/100km (CO2: 259 v 268g/km).

Crucially, the entry-level Holden V6 now scores the variable exhaust valve timing system of the “High Output” V6 that powers models from the Calais upwards, but it remains mated to GM’s aged four-speed automatic transmission in the Omega and Berlina (and base Ute), which also miss out on premium models’ dual exhaust system.

As such, the “recalibrated” base V6 does not share the 195kW/340Nm performance outputs of the V6 found in premium models, nor even the 180kW and 330Nm peaks of the models they replace.

In fact, with 175kW available at 6500rpm (500rpm higher than before) and 325Nm of torque on tap from 2400rpm (200rpm lower than currently), Holden’s new entry-level V6 offers 5kW and 5Nm less than it did previously.

Now on par with the Commodore’s LPG Alloytec V6, Holden’s revised base petrol V6 is now at a greater performance disadvantage when compared with the Falcon’s 190kW/383Nm 4.0-litre straight six and the Aurion’s 200kW/336Nm 3.5-litre V6, despite remaining less fuel-efficient.

Holden says it remains committed to improving the environmental performance of its volume-selling V6 and is known to be developing a dedicated LPG system to replace its current dual-fuel system. It is expected to match the Duratec V6 LPG engine that will power Ford’s Falcon from mid-2010 by featuring the latest direct liquid injection system.

Holden has also flagged its intention to make available ethanol-compatible versions of the Commodore, as it has with Saab, and Mr Reuss described that vehicle’s hardware as the final piece in its E85 puzzle.

Asked whether Holden would consider investing locally in the same type of ethanol production that is currently being developed in the US, where GM has fostered the manufacture of bio-fuels from household garbage, Mr Reuss said: “Absolutely.

“I would be thoroughly excited if we saw the biotechnology from waste that’s being developed in the US right now cross the ocean into an Australian company and have that capability here.

“I would say we’re not actively looking (to invest) because we’re watching the pilot plant in the US now to see how it goes. (But) We want to play an active role in the establishment of bio-fuels and bio-fuel standards in Australia,” he said.

Read more:

Sydney show: Holden’s pole Volt position

Second car for Holden plant?

The Road to Recovery podcast series

All new models

Commodore pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

GoAuto can help you buy a new Commodore

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Holden models

All new models

Commodore pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here