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First look: HSV goes high-tech with E Series 2

Power plus: HSV's new GTS packs 325kW of power, becoming the performance flagship of the revised E Series 2 range.

Wild HSV E Series 2 line-up emerges with neat new driver aids and a 325kW GTS

9 Sep 2009

HSV has whipped the covers off its highly anticipated E Series 2 model range, within 24 hours of the launch of Holden’s high-tech MY10 Commodore line-up.

While there’s no sign of the ‘SIDI’ Commodore’s Australian-first direct-injection system for the all-V8 HSV range, the facelifted sedan, ute and wagon entourage from Clayton slams down, as expected, a new look and cutting-edge new driver-aid technologies.

Of course, as part of the “multi-million-dollar” E2 upgrade, which HSV says began soon after the release of the VE Commodore-based E Series range in August 2006, there is also a peak power increase for the flagship GTS, as well as fuel minor consumption reductions on other models of up to 4.5 per cent.

While the upgraded GTS engine will deliver a higher than expected output of 325kW, other models retain the existing 317kW/550Nm version of the 6.2-litre LS3 V8.

Today’s E2 reveal follows a slow-release campaign that will culminate in the official launch on September 22 and has comprised two official teaser videos and the promise of “several Australian production car firsts”.

20 center image Left: GTS, Clubsport R8, Senator Signature, Grange, Clubsport R8 Tourer, and Maloo R8 .

Heralding a significant new design theme for HSV is the adoption of Audi-style LED daytime running lights as standard across the range and a dramatic new frontal “shockwave” graphic that varies according to model.

While the latest HSV line-up therefore features more differentiation than ever over the Commodore models upon which they are based, the GTS now justifies its position at the top of the HSV tree by offering more performance than its stablemates.

Apart from extra peak power, the top-shelf E2 GTS also features a high-flow intermediate exhaust system with bi-modal mufflers, a recalibrated Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system with firmer springs and 8.5-inch front wheels as standard, For the privilege, the GTS and Senator Signature sedans increase in price by $700, although prices for the entry-level ClubSport R8 sedan, Clubsport R8 Tourer wagon and Maloo R8 ute remain unchanged.

“To be able to deliver a sophisticated, striking modern day interpretation of the GTS performance saloon – at an accessible price – is a tribute to our entire team,” said HSV managing director Phil Harding as part of the E2 release at 9.09am on September 9, 2009.

“We decided to make a major investment in new product, features and performance, in a time of unprecedented economic turmoil. The new E2 range is yet another opportunity to demonstrate the engineering and design excellence of HSV,” he said.

Leading a list of new “driver enhancements” functions is the standard fitment of ‘Intelligent Launch Control’ in all manual-transmission models, which HSV says delivers maximum acceleration performance from a standing start.

There is also a ‘Competition Mode’ for the standard electronic stability control (ESC) system in all models, which is claimed to allow more “enthusiastic” driving while maintaining a high level of safety back-up from the stability, traction and anti-lock braking systems.

Finally, ‘Extended Cruise Control’ adds a speed-limiter function that is common in many European models and prevents E2 vehicles from exceeding a set cruise control speed such as during downhill driving.

HSV chief engineer Joel Stoddart said the E2 range’s daytime running lamps (DRLs) not only look good but also improve visibility and therefore safety.

“The introduction of DRLs not only make the car stand out more than ever on the road, but are also a safety feature,” he said. “According to the latest research out of Europe DRLs have led to a greater than 25 per cent reduction in road accidents.” HSV says a major goal of the E2 development program was fuel consumption reduction, and the result is a ClubSport R8 manual that is more efficient than the 100kg-lighter, LS1 V8-engined VY Series II ClubSport.

The ClubSport R8 automatic achieves the highest efficiency gain, with its combined average fuel consumption of 13.9L/100km being 4.5 per cent better than before.

HSV design chief Julian Quincey said E2 sketch work began in early 2007, just months after the E Series range began recording record sales figures for HSV.

“Our customers were telling HSV they loved the differentiation the new model delivered, giving us the starting point for designing the next generation,” he said.

“We needed a new identity that would both excite the passionate HSV buyer and equally one that could be picked out by the non car enthusiast. This meant that our overall front and rear graphics had to be substantially changed from the original E series and ideally also look lower, wider and more sporty,” said Mr Quincey.

The result was the fitment on all models except the luxury-themed Senator Signature and Grange of twin bonnet intakes similar to those first seen on HSV’s former Coupe and the US-only Pontiac G8 models.

The ‘performance hood’ integrates with HSV’s trademark twin-nostril grille and a ‘shockwave’ graphic that is also echoed by the GTS and ClubSport’s angled-spoke wheel designs. Stainless steel dual exhaust outlet surrounds complete the dynamic new E2 look.

“We felt that such a strong visual cue was crucial to the new car’s identity and visibility,” said Mr Quincey. “I am proud of the entire new package, but particularly just how striking the front of the car appears.” Further improving the freshened HSV line-up’s visual appeal and safety credentials is a new range of options under the revived ‘SV Enhanced’ banner, customers of which will also receive a new exterior vehicle badge.

E2 GTS options include larger front brake discs with six-piston front brake callipers painted in HSV Enhanced yellow and a unique accent finish for the standard 20-inch wheels. Four-piston front and rear brake callipers remain standard across the range, while the GTS’s standard bi-model exhaust is an option for all R8 models plus the Senator Signature and Grange flagship.

All three R8 models plus the Senator Signature and Grange are also available with 20-inch wheels and leather interior trim (Nappa leather is standard in the latter two models, which also come with Premium MRC suspension), while a ClubSport R8 customers can also tick a new ‘Performance Suspension’ box.

Sports cloth seats continue to be standard for models other than the short-wheelbase GTS and Senator Signature and the long-wheelbase Grange, while new Sports 19-inch alloy wheels are fitted to all models but the Senator Signature (which scores Luxury 19s) and the GTS, which comes with Performance 20-inch alloys and Performance leather trim.

The updated E2 Maloo R8 also picks up the MY10 Holden Ute’s six-airbag package, including twin front, front-side and side curtain airbags, while HSV’s two-door model also now features two additional eight-inch rear speakers for the 170-Watt sound system.

HSV sales manager Darren Bowler said price increases of less than one per cent represented unprecedented performance-car value.

“To launch a new range of cars, with a stunning new look and significant driver enhancements with no or little increase in price is great news for HSV customers,” he said.

“To have dozens of customers putting deposits on HSV E2 product – sight unseen –demonstrates how strong our brand is, even in the midst of an economic downturn.”
2009 HSV E Series 2 pricing:
ClubSport R8 sedan: $65,990
Maloo R8: $62,990
Clubsport R8 Tourer: $66,990
GTS: $80,990
Senator Signature (a): $82,990
Grange (a): $87,990

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