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Driven: Strong start for VF SS-V Redline

Flying: Range-topping Redline is quick on the track and not hanging around in the show-room either, with sales set to double the VE version.

Holden’s track-honed VF Commodore Redline SS-V hero already has a waiting list


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19 Jul 2013

HOLDEN’S newly-launched VF Commodore SS-V Redline sedan, wagon and ute performance flagship may be launching two months after its more humble siblings, but early signs show people have been willing to wait.

And, says Holden, the enthusiasts who have flocked to dealers to express their interest in the thoroughly updated Aussie sedan may have to wait a little longer still, if the early-production waiting lists are anything to go by.

Despite costing $6000 more than the 270kW/530Nm SS-V with which it shares its engine, Holden says the Redline may account for up to half of SS-V sales overall - about double what the VE version managed.

Manual versions of the Redline Ute and Sedan will cost $48,990 and $51,490 (plus on-road costs) respectively. The optional six-speed automatic adds a further $2200, while the auto-only Sportwagon version costs $55,690.

In addition to the SS-V, the just-arrived Redline gets 19-inch forged aluminium wheels, specially developed Bridgestone tyres, thicker stabilizer bars with uprated damper and spring combination, a modified brake system for stiffer pedal feel, a head-up display, a unique ‘Competitive’ traction control setting and a launch control system.

“People are waiting for the SS V Redlines,” says GM Holden large car and SUV marketing manager Kristian Acquilina. Indeed, the waiting list for some variants is understood to be almost out to 2014.

“We were going hard after the top end of our model range (SS V, Calais, Calais V) with the pricing strategy and that seems to be working very well. People are responding to that,” said Mr Acquilina.

“We’ve got a bit of a waiting list now on Calais V and SS V. For example Redline was about 25/30% of out VE SS V sales it’s more than 50% now.”

Despite significant improvements to safety and comfort, the new VF Commodore range also launched with price cuts of between $5000 and $9800 over the previous VE range. The early demand for high-end variants, not necessarily reflected in the VF’s first month of sales figures, carries over to the rest of the line-up too, said Mr Acquilina.

“We were really only in a position to start volume sales of the car in the last week of June. Since then we have seen a lot of activity in showrooms. It’s been a great response from the public we’ve sold 2100 Commodores in the month of June but we took many more orders.” he said.

“We have built up quite an order bank. In fact in the coming months the volumes we show in our sales won’t be necessarily a reflection of demand but more of a reflection of supply.

“We have seen customers who are loyal to Commodore. We have seen people who are thinking of leaving Commodore – we’ve retained them. We’ve seen people come from small cars and SUVs and we’ve seen people come out of luxury brands who would have never previously considered a Commodore on the basis of how the product stacks up.”

This sort of trend is exactly what Holden wanted from the better-equipped and cheaper VF range, something reflected in its ‘hearts and minds’ advertising campaign.

Holden has dropped its occasionally coy attitude towards performance data by revealing that the SS-V Redline will crack 100km/h in around 5.5 seconds thanks to a power to weight ratio of 155kW per tonne.

The upgraded tyre and suspension combination helps the Redline achieve up to 0.9g in corners.

For the first time ever Holden has fitted a dual width front/rear tyre combination with the front 19-inch wheels wearing 245/40 Bridgestone rubber while rear wheel are shod with wider 275/35 tyres – a feature previously only seen on HSV models.

While the specially developed tyre is reported to offer increased track manners and reduced stopping distances, Holden claims the rate of wear has not increased.

Chassis modifications were required to accommodate the larger 63mm diameter stabiliser bar, lightweight forged aluminium suspension components and larger bore damper struts with changes resulting in reduced body roll and un-sprung weight.

Traction control has also been altered for the Redline with a new ‘Competitive’ mode, which increases steering feel and allows some rear wheel slip in fast cornering for a more rewarding drive.

Experienced track drivers can still enjoy the limits of grip but traction control will step in of required. The selection of Competitive mode also permits ‘launch control’ which holds the engine revs at peak torque until the clutch is released for maximum acceleration from stationary.

However, six-speed auto versions will not get the launch control feature.

A variety of vehicle information can be displayed on a new colour head-up display allowing the driver to monitor various functions without looking away from the road.

The HUD system can be set to display track relevant information such as selected gear, lateral acceleration and engine speed with an incorporated shift-light or road related information such as navigation commands, vehicle speed and audio system functions.

Leather-appointed sports seats and steering wheel are shared with the SS-V range with sedan and Sportwagon variants fitted with eight-way electrically adjustable drivers seat.

Sedan versions of the Redline have a Bose 220 watt sound system with eight speakers and sub-woofer as standard.

Passive entry, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, keyless start and smart remote engine start (automatic transmission only), which allows air-conditioning or heating to be switched on before getting in the vehicle, are all standard on Redline models.

Holden Comodore SS-V Redline pricing*
Sedan (a)$53,690
Sportwagon (a)$55,690
Ute (a)$50,690
*Excludes on-road costs.

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