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New models - HSV - ClubSport

First drive: HSV pours on the power

Quick off the mark: The GTS is claimed to be good for supercar-like 5.1-second 0-100km/h sprinting and a quarter-mile pass in 13.3 seconds.

A peak power increase and better torque delivery feature in HSV's Y Series range

HSV logo9 Oct 2002

DESPITE the changes to the looks, the HSV Y Series' biggest news for some will be its extra power.

Now producing 260kW at 5600rpm and improved torque delivery - but the same 475Nm torque peak at 4000rpm because the Turbo-Hydramatic 4L60E four-speed GM auto has a 480Nm torque limit - HSV's standard 5.7-litre Chevrolet V8 is said to be the product of a 12-month drivetrain recalibration program.

Aimed at having "smoothed and refined" the alloy pushrod engine's power delivery, the same changes are also said to make GTS models' 300kW C4B V8 more driveable.

The standard engine's 5kW peak power increase and better torque delivery drive through either the same six-speed manual transmission or an updated and recalibrated version of HSV's four-speed auto.

Performance figures remain unchanged. The entry level ClubSport, in 1660kg manual guise, sprints to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds and to 400 metres in 13.8 seconds - the same figures quoted for the best selling 1696kg R8 version, both Maloos and both Senators, which top out weight-wise with the 1744kg Senator Signature (auto with sunroof). The 1710kg GTS is said to be good for 5.1-second 0-100km/h sprinting and a quarter-mile pass in 13.3 seconds.

A development of Holden's revised Control-Link IRS fitted to VXII Commodores, Y Series' updated Touring 2 standard suspension has been designed to be more compliant.

Featuring digressive-rate shock absorbers - which work in the reverse of progressive rate dampers by becoming more compliant as piston speeds rise - the new suspension specification is said to combine with Holden's revised steering gear ratio to provide sharper turn-in response and better high speed ride quality.

The previously optional PBR-made Performance brakes package, comprising grooved 330mm front and 315mm rear discs but with red painted, HSV embossed two-piston Commodore callipers, is now standard equipment on ClubSport, Maloo and Senator.

R8 models and Signature now get the Premium braking system, with cross drilled 343mm front and 315mm rear discs with four-piston callipers at both ends. GTS gets its two-door namesake's brilliant six-piston AP Racing brake package.

Y Series cabins feature a new leather-bound four-spoke steering wheel, white instruments, HSV graphics and a Multi Function Display.

All VY HSVs get automatic climate control and race-look alloy pedals, with manual cars integrating the audible shift light from GTS, and all but ClubSport and Maloo models getting a prominent new centre sports binnacle comprising oil pressure and voltage gauges.

Standard audio is a six-speaker, six-CD in-dash Blaupunkt sound system, with a 200-watt eight-speaker item gracing GTS, R8 sedan and Senator models. Models upstream of R8 also get dual-zone climate control and Bosch rear proximity sensors.

Again, both R8 models also get Performance seats instead of lesser models' HSV Contoured Sports seats, which also offer a choice of centre insert material colours and add anchracite leather bolsters and colour-coded leather door inserts.

Senator models add light shale leather trim with a brushed alloy dash surround and eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, HSV floor mats and alloy sill panels. The exclusive GTS seats are wrapped in Scottish Bridge-of-Weir chain-mail leather, in addition to a carbonfibre-look dash surround.

DRIVE IMPRESSIONS:

THE Y Series HSV driving experience has not been altered as much as its appearance - both inside and out - with different dash highlights and seat leathers and fabrics integrating well with Commodore's more Euro-look interior to provide a more refined and cohesive driving environment.

Biggest change in the actual driving, however, is Holden's vastly improved new steering system, which is carried over unchanged from Commodore and addresses one of HSV' biggest shortcomings by transforming the Y Series cars' handling.

Offering much crisper and more responsive turn-in with less of the vagueness both on-centre and mid-corner, the more direct and precise new steering is a more appropriate set-up for HSV's performance sports sedans, which are now a little more rewarding to drive.

In addition, substantially revised suspension damping all round seems to have reduced understeer, or front-end push, during ambitious cornering, and there's now a little more feel for where the front wheels are pointing.

We doubt many will discren the extra 5kW of maximum power at a peaky 5600rpm - and as such ouright acceleration times remain the same - but the difference in power delivery is more noticeable. A much smoother transition from idle and less of the coughing and spluttering is now associated with rapid throttle inputs.

Combined with both the standard 260kW V8 and the flagship 300kW engine's more civilised nature, both bent eights now make more torque slightly earlier in the powerband thanks to careful recalibration mainly via leaning out both engines' air/fuel ratio.

HSV admits the tune of its earlier V8 engines was "way too conservative" and the latest changes make then both more refined and responsive, particularly from low revs in the upper gears. But the tall overall gearing still accentuates the somewhat peaky nature of the 5.7-litre Chev engine.

The GTS range-topper continues with lower gearing, combining with its outstanding power output to make it a rapid four-door with super-car style performance. And its availability with a better-shifting but still rather clunky four-speed auto will give it wider appeal. HSV expects that of the 100 GTS models it will build, 60 per cent will be autos.

Otherwise, the addition of HSV-watermarked VDO oil pressure and voltage meters makes the interior more exclusive, the fitment of standard climate control in entry level ClubSport and Maloo ute models is welcome and the standard braking upgrade across the range is not before time.

Base cars now get red-painted and HSV-embossed Commodore calipers with different pads as standard, which is a step closer to providing entry level HSVs with braking capability suited to their performance.

While pricing has gone up across the board, we think the better integrated, higher quality and more greatly differentiated bodykits - along with improved driveability, better handling and a classier interior - are probably worth it.

For more on HSV plans for the new Y Series range go to the New Models home page and select our story: "HSV's Y Series fronts with focus on refinement"

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