Clubsport challenge to Redline too fleeting to faze

Holden NZ is unfussed by the possibility of a limited-count HSV Clubsport nabbing sales from its own hotrod.


CALL it the runout rumble – in giving its naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 one last hurrah Holden Special Vehicles is effectively calling out the most powerful Commodore Holden has on sale here.

However, Holden New Zealand has reacted calmly to news today that HSV is set to re-issue a Clubsport with a more powerful version of the same LS3 that goes into the SS-V Redline and sell it for just a few thousand dollars more than the Holden hitmaker.

Though the maker did not want to speak directly to the HSV decision, it seems it has identified that the threat will be fleeting as the Clubsport will only be available for a short time and in a modest count – just 26 cars – because this is effectively a clearance special.

While HSV says these cars are a final fling, it doesn’t particularly spell out why. The reason they have to be built before November 1 is because that’s when a new emissions standard that their engine does not comply with comes into force in Australia.

Holden’s version of the LS3 has been tuned to meet the Euro 5 rating and so can continue to be sold.

Holden New Zealand spokesman Edward Finn confirmed the Redline has been a brilliant success.

“Year to date we have sold almost 200 units, which is more than 100 percent up over the same time last year.

“We’re enjoying a particularly strong and enthusiastic response to this model and anticipate that this will continue.”

The  6.2-litre V8 was removed from everything but the long-wheelbase Grange last year when HSV diverted production to Clubsport and Maloo models with the Chevrolet-supplied LSA supercharged engine that is not available to Holden.

Its absence has probably made it all the easier for the Redline to establish itself as one of the key contributors to keeping Commodore on the boil through to the end of 2017, when Holden curtails car-making in Australia.

Nonetheless, the ClubSport R8 SV Black and Clubsport R8 SV Track models seem set to rock the boat.

The HSV engine is again pushing out 340kW, which is 36kW above the output that Holden determined was adequate for its own muscle model. Both are rated to deliver 570Nm torque.

Also recommended retail prices have been set at just $NZ81,490 for the manual Clubsport Black sedan and $5000 more for the Track. Also, HSV has a Maloo R8 SV Black automatic Maloo utility for $78,990.

The Redline in manual and auto, meantime, has a list price of $75,990 while the SS-V Redline utility is $64,490.

Just 18 ClubSport R8 SV Blacks from a build run of 350 units, two Maloo R8 SV Blacks (from 100) and six ClubSport R8 Track Editions (also out of a count of 150) have been allocated to New Zealand. HSV NZ reckons most, if not all, might be sold before they land.

The Black nameplate already has resonance here, having made a previous appearance in the range in 2011. The descriptive reflects that it has blacked-out aesthetic tweaks: Satin Black Rapier 20-inch wheels, blacked out door surrounds, bonnet and boot badges, lower door accents and matching dark chrome exhaust tips, while the standard AP Racing four-pot callipers are also painted black.

The black extras are complemented by black fender vents, mirror caps and a Satin Graphite boot spoiler for the ClubSport, while the black theme continues on the inside with leather sports seats, SV Black badging and the individual build number.

HSV says the Track was inspired by the brand's racing heritage, which is reflected in 20-inch Blade forged wheels housing mighty six-piston AP Racing brake callipers in yellow. Until now, the biggest brake in HSV's repertoire has been reserved for the GTS flagship.

The Track Edition also gets a more performance-focused suspension set up, with upgraded spring rates and firmer dampers for reduced body roll and improved corner entry response, says HSV.

Styling mods for the Track Edition align with the SV Black, with a selection of blacked-out exterior modifications that extend to a black leather sports interior. A key difference in the Track Edition's cabin is its suede steering wheel.

Unique exterior badging and sill plates, as well as the individual build number displayed on the centre console.

In Australia the LS3 specials is capped by an SV version of the Grange limousine as a tribute to 20 years of the model, which will come to an end in October this year. Fifty examples of a farewell edition are to be created however no mention has been made about their availability to Kiwis.