“It made sense for us to bring it into line with existing models like the Astra,” said director of communications Sean Poppitt.
While some had predicted an OPC badge for the 230kW/370Nm flagship model, others had predicted that Holden would go for the continuity approach and retain the SS title. Instead, Holden has aligned the Commodore with its European operations without making explicit its Opel origins.
A press release from Holden also confirmed many of the specifications that Wheels published in our Summer edition of 2016. The 3.6-litre V6 powerplant’s peak power and torque outputs have been an open secret for some time, as has the choice of a nine-speed automatic transmission and a torque vectoring all-wheel drive chassis.
Details such as Brembo brakes, 20-inch alloy wheels and Sachs’ Continuous Damping Control (CDC) dampers were also a reasonably easy prediction. LED matrix headlights as well as heated and ventilated leather sports front seats also feature. The rear spoiler is a refreshingly extrovert touch and integrates neatly with the cutline that arcs across the top of the rear lights.
The SS badge first appeared on the Commodore with the VH in 1982 and has been the hero V8 Holden ever since (HSV is a different company), but prior to that, it first featured on the 1972 HQ SS, the badge gaining popularity with the launch of the 1976 LX Torana SS. This was one of only two occasions that the SS badge appeared on something without a V8 in the snout (the other being the VT SS with the supercharged L67 V6). From the VH Commodore onwards, the SS badge was a permanent feature.
The clean break with tradition underscores the latest Commodore’s revised role in the Holden line up. Poppitt acknowledges that the days of monster hot Commodore sales are over and are unlikely to return. “We don’t have the same sales expectations [for the new car] as the current one,” he admitted.
“The next-gen Commodore VXR offers a different execution of performance to the outgoing SS but make no mistake, this is a more than worthy successor,” said Holden’s Lead Dynamics Engineer, Rob Trubiani.
“We can’t wait to get the car in the hands of our customers next year but for now, we’ve still got some work to do and will continue to work with the team in Europe, who are currently completing chassis development at Nürburgring in Germany.”
Holden is slating ‘early 2018’ for the VXR’s arrival in dealers, launching alongside the rest of the NG Commodore range that will include sedan, Sportwagon and Sports Tourer body styles.