Meet the car shaping up to be the fastest, most powerful ever produced in Australia.
Holden Special Vehicles’ top secret new Commodore has been sprung testing, revealing a less radical design aimed at spreading the appeal of the high-performance Holden.
EXCLUSIVE: New HSV spotted
The new VF-Commodore-based HSV ClubSport/Senator Signature spied testing in Melbourne. Source: Picture: Andrew McIntosh, social media strategist and small business coach.
Expected on sale mid-year, two of the VF Commodore-based V8-powered HSV sedans have been caught in a Melbourne car park by eagle-eyed Drive reader, social media strategist and business coach Andrew McIntosh.
Each had front and rear disguises and the interiors were largely covered but there is enough detail of the crucial new model – which is expected to get a supercharged V8 engine for the first time in an HSV with more power than the 375kW HSV W427 - to give some of the secrets away.
As our pictures reveal the new HSV VF model will stick more closely to the Holden VF Commodore design it’s based on.
Other key changes for the HSV VF ClubSport/Senator Signature/GTS/Tourer include:
- New front bumper and grille inserts
- Unique lower bumper and fog lights/LED daytime running lights
- Unique rear bumper
- Larger quad exhaust outlets
- Unique tail lights with circular inner elements and deeper outer casing
- Unique 20-inch alloy wheels
- 20-inch Continental tyres replace the Bridgestones that have graced HSV for years.
- Larger brakes for reduced stopping distances
- Unique HSV seats with embossed lion/helmet racing logo
- More powerful V8 engines
- Supercharged V8 on some models
- More technology, including keyless entry by grabbing the doorhandle
The most obvious change is that the HSV VF will drop the bonnet vents that helped define the E-Series, as the VE-based HSV was called. It will share its aluminium bonnet from the upcoming VF Commodore. The side vents – available in silver or black finishes – will also be the same as those fitted to the Holden.
It’s understood the harder-to-work-with aluminium panels that help reduce the Commodore’s weight by about 50kg limited HSV’s designers.
While the development cars had no rear wings there were covered mounting holes where a suitably large rear wing is expected to be fitted.
In some ways the new VF HSV models will compete with the sportier SS and SS-V versions of the Commodore, with Holden already looking at more radical styling packages.
The new HSV VF models will get unique front and rear bumpers as well as unique grille inserts.
The two cars sprung by Drive – one silver and one blue – appear to be slightly different specification levels. The sedan range is expected to continue with the ClubSport, Senator Signature and flagship GTS while there will also be a wagon, or Tourer, as well as a Maloo ute and a long wheelbase, luxury-focused Grange.
The blue car has less disguise and reveals a chequered flag-inspired grille as well as unique tail lights with circular inserts.
As with the previous generation HSV E-Series – as it was known – the new car will get a unique tail light design; as our shots show the outer elements sit lower than the inner, boot-mounted lights that help stretch the visual width of the Commodore’s rear-end.
The HSV VF will also get a unique rear bumper with a race-car-inspired lower diffuser designed to maintain the aggressive stance.
Wheels are expected to remain at 20 inches in diameter – the same diameter as the largest used on the Holden VF Commodore SS-V – however these development cars were shod in Continental tyres.
Continental is a new “Silver Sponsor” of HSV’s race team, the Holden Racing Team, suggesting ties have been severed with long time partner Bridgestone.
Under the bonnet of the new HSV VF expect a supercharged V8 engine for at least some models, ramping the power up on the current 325kW maximum output.
However, HSV is also expected to continue with a version of the current 6.2-litre V8.
In line with its strategy for almost a decade additional technology is expected to help further separate the HSV VF models from the Commodores they may in some ways compete with.
Our pictures appear to show buttons on the door handles of the silver car, suggesting a smart entry keyless system – allowing owners to grab a doorhandle and open the door without pressing any buttons on the key – could be coming.
HSV will also likely pick up the full suite of high-tech features being reserved for top-end VF Commodores.
That will include forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and a head-up display that projects the speedo and other information on a virtual space in the driver’s line of sight on the edge of the bonnet.
The upcoming export program for the VF Commodore – where it will be sold in America as a Chevrolet SS – could also unlock some new performance goodies for HSV, including, possibly, more powerful and fade-resistant ceramic brakes.
It’s unknown what HSV will call its new VF Commodore-based range. While E-Series gave something of a European flavour (the E denoting the E in the VE Commodore it was based on) it’s unlikely HSV will be rushing to call it the F-Series, which is the name of the world’s best selling ute by rival Ford.