Partially complete engineering mules previewed ahead of 2018 launch of first-ever foreign Commodore.
Holden has shown off a pair of pre-production versions of the next generation Commodore at its Lang Lang proving grounds in Victoria.
The 65 per cent complete mules are essentially re-engineered versions of the yet-to-be-released Opel Insignia. Both the Insignia and the Commodore will be built in the same plant in Russelsheim, Germany.
The fifth-generation Commodore marks a radical departure from the soon to be discontinued VF generation.
Gone is both the V8 engine and the locally made V6, the traditional sedan bodyshape and rear-wheel-drive, to be replaced by an all-wheel-drive V6 flagship, four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines and an array of front-wheel-drive base models, as well as a liftback-style silhouette that Holden is dubbing the Sportback.
“The next-generation Commodore will reset benchmarks in its class, as has every Commodore since 1978.”
A Sportwagon is also expected to join the ranks in 2018.
“The V6 engine with the all-wheel-drive system is a combination that the Holden team drove into the global vehicle program because we know our customers and this performance option is important to them,” said Jeremy Tassone, Holden’s Engineering Group Manager for Vehicle Development.
“While it may not be built here, we’ll deliver a Commodore that our customers will love in 2018.”
Holden anticipates that the smaller next-gen Commodore – the fifth generation of one of Australia’s most well-known cars, and the first ever to be made offshore – will be up to 300kg lighter on average than the current car, thanks in part to the use of GM’s global E2 platform.
The range-topping car will feature a new nine-speed automatic transmission, the same rear suspension and drive architecture as the Ford Focus RS (a twin-clutch torque vectoring system known as the Twinster) and a 230kW, 370Nm V6 engine of unknown capacity.
Given the output figures, it’s likely to be a 3.0-litre single-turbo petrol unit. Reports suggest that a mooted twin-turbo V6 won’t actually fit in the right-hand-drive car’s engine bay.
The top spec car will also feature adaptive suspension, matrix headlights and an app-based multimedia system that will incorporate Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
Lower grade Commodores will be powered by either a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol or – in another first for the Commodore – a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine.
Holden is currently engineering the next-gen Commodore – known currently as the NG – for Australian tastes, which will include a complete suspension rework, traction and stability control calibration and local environmental testing.
Visually, the Commodores look nothing like the current VF II cars, which will cease production towards the end of 2017.
Large front and rear overhangs and a very pronounced coupe-like roofline will add to the challenge for Holden to sell a car that is much loved for its uniquely Australian and overtly sporting styling cues.
The company struggles mightily to sell any sedan that isn’t a Commodore; its Malibu model accounts for barely 50 sales a month against the Commodore’s 2300 a month tally.
The passenger car segment is also in a steady decline; by the time the new Commodore is launched locally, SUVs will outsell sedans in showrooms, putting further pressure on a car that looks vastly different to the much-loved and relatively successful VF.
Holden, however, believes the new car will be a success.
“The next-generation Commodore will reset benchmarks in its class, as has every Commodore since 1978,” said Holden’s Executive Director of Sales, Peter Keley. “What Commodore will also continue to do is carry the family in space and comfort.
“This next-generation vehicle is changing and bringing incredible technology and refinement with it, but will continue to offer customers that quintessential Commodore experience they have loved for nearly four decades.”
Online Source: Cars Guide.