The bad news first: there’s no twin-turbo V6 on the agenda. Not for a generation at least. But a reworked 230kW/330Nm naturally-aspirated V6 with cylinder deactivation, AWD and coupled to a nine-speed auto is on the menu. And given Holden is claiming a 200-300kg weight reduction for the new car, performance shouldn’t disappoint. We’re told a 0-100km/h sprint of under six seconds.
Four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo petrol and turbo-diesel engine options for the mass market models should also mean that the new car will offer the most fuel efficient and spritely base model offerings in the near-40 year history of the nameplate.
Indeed, it seems Holden is serious about making this car a success. Sure, insiders acknowledge there will be no V8 and that a portion of existing Commodore fans will likely reject the new car and perhaps even leave the Holden fold, but they counter with the potential to grow the Commodore’s audience via a more European, more premium and better equipped offering. One that’s made in Germany.
If those Holden execs are true to their word, this will be a more premium, integrated offering than any Commodore yet. It hasn’t been given a model designation – at least not publicly – but what we can confirm is that the new Commodore shares its architecture, mechanicals and many, many aspects with the all-new Opel Insignia which will be unveiled in December and debuted formally at next March’s Geneva motor show. Insignia goes on sale in Europe mid next year; Commodore here in February 2018.
The V6 AWD range-topping car was injected into the global program by Holden for Australian customers, say insiders. Holden may have previously spruiked that nearly 40 per cent of its buyers are opting for V8s, but now they are saying that over 60 per cent were happy with V6s. Spin? They deflect with comments related to the performance of the new car.
While the cooking model Commodores are undergoing chassis work at the Nurburgring (with Australian engineers included), the V6 range-toppers will feature a distinct Aussie flavour. That car will feature adaptive AWD with torque vectoring and twin-clutch rear differential, and the other revelation is it will also get Australian calibrated steering and new adaptive suspension – a [non-HSV] Commodore first.
Holden is using the term Sportback for the five-door liftback that will effectively replace the VF sedan. There’s serious luggage space and a split-fold rear seat delivers additional versatility. The confirmation of a new Sportswagon will please ‘touring’ and ‘estate’ fans no end.
In five-door liftback form, the new car is shorter than the VF Commodore it will replace at the end of next year when Holden pulls up stumps at its Elizabeth South Australian production facility. But Holden also wants you to know it’s still longer than the VT series of the local car. We’ve detailed the dimensions that we can share in a separate story.
While under the terms of the sneak peek agreement with Holden, we can’t go into full details. But we can vouch for the fact the new Commodore will also boast a significant improvement in interior quality and equipment. The human machine interface (HMI) includes eight-inch configurable LCD instruments, colour multi-function head-up display and a new large-screen central infotainment system that incorporates both Apple Car Play and Android Auto integration.
Safety equipment both active and passive takes a leap forward with claimed segment and Holden firsts.
Holden says it has been embedded in the new E2 program (the platform upon which Commodore and Insignia) for five years. That’s well before the decision was made to kill the local rear-drive product.
That hints at the potential this new front and AWD car was once earmarked for local production.
What might have been…