Atmospheric V6, All-Wheel Drive, Automatic.
The next flagship Holden Commodore will be called the VXR, it has now been confirmed, along with the reveal of what the V6-powered, all-paw driven lift back will look like, thanks to a General Motors’ image spill.
Due to the 2018 Commodore being derived from the Opel Insignia, and it not being the only GM product based upon that, there are multiple derivates of the range-topping performance variant, such as the Vauxhall Insignia GSI in the UK (just like in Germany) and Buick Regal GS in North America. So far as we know, it will not be available as a Sportwagon.
Stylistically, the VXR will differ from the standard Commodore through its more athletic exterior treatment, highlighted by its 20-inch alloy wheels, front and rear sports fascias, and unique VXR rear lip spoiler. Inside, the standard front seats have been replaced with heated and ventilated leather sport semi-buckets. Interestingly, there’s little else to indicate the car’s more sporting pretensions, with GM refraining from the norm of having exposed or matte carbon fibre inserts and/or contrasting stitchwork in an aggressive red or bright blue.
When the new Commodore range does arrive in roughly 6 months time, Holden are confident that buyers will be impressed behind the wheel, riding on a chassis that’s the result of a local development program with over 100,00km in testing and tuning under its belt.
“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 renowned Lead Dynamics Engineer, Rob Trubiani. “We’ve been involved in the development of this car from the beginning and I personally have spent significant time behind the wheel overseas and at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground.”
The VXR will come standard with the Continuous Damping Control (CDC) system, which actively alters the steering, transmission, suspension, and adaptive AWD system with torque vectoring, depending on driver input and driving mode selection.
It’s powered by a naturally-aspirated 3.6-litre V6 engine that generates 235kW and 381Nm, an output that’s well shy of the outgoing SS’ 304kW. Granted, that 6.2-litre LS3 V8 is a much heavier motor, and the new car’s construction alone is considerably lighter than the VF it will replace. Power for the 2018 car will be routed through that aforementioned adaptive AWD system via a 9-speed automatic with paddle shifters, though no manual option has been mentioned as of yet.
Neither Holden nor any of its fellow GM subsidiaries have released acceleration times, either, even speculatively. We wonder how it would compare against the new Kia Stinger which will be arriving on Australian shores a little earlier than the new Commodore and with rear-wheel drive only, making it not at potent in a 0-100km/h dash as its all-wheel driven counterpart (available elsewhere).
While the twin-turbo engine in the top-spec Stinger GT generates far more torque at 510Nm as well as 37 more Kilowatts, its possible struggle for grip off the line could open the door for the incoming AWD Commodore VXR to pick up a lead, at least in the earlier stages of the sprint.
Holden is also promising an impressive list of convenience and safety equipment to come standard with VXR, as it should being the most expensive Commodore. In addition to the pair of next-generation Adaptive LED Matrix headlights and 360-degree camera, included are Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Blind Spot Monitoring.
“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,” Trubiani added.