Enhancements to the VE are likely to be mainly under the surface...improvements designed to lift fuel economy and further develop the company's ‘Ecoline’ strategy.
The Holden VE II ? or VF ? will be the VE Commodore's first facelift since its introduction in 2006.
The new car is hiding more under the skin than on top.
A new, high-tech direct-injection V6 could be destined for the big sedan late this year when the car gets a refresh. The VF Commodore is likely to get a range of improvements designed to lift fuel economy and further develop the company's ‘Ecoline’ strategy.
Visually the car may also borrow some design elements from Holden's Coupe 60 concept car, like the repeaters in the rear view mirrors, deeper grille and restyled lower bumper air intake to give a smoother look to the front end.
The interior is also likely to get a styling make-over to better compete against the FG Falcon's stylish interior.
GM-Holden is not revealing details yet but the company has a choice of two DI engines of either 3.0-litre or 3.6-litre capacity that substantially reduce emissions and improve fuel economy.
The 3.0-litre delivers 190kW/298Nm, which is 15kW more than the current 3.6-litre Commodore engine but 27Nm less torque.
The bigger 3.6-litre DI engine delivers 225kW/369Nm and is available in GM's Cadillac models.
However in an effort to respond to changing consumer tastes, GM-Holden may also choose to downsize the Commodore V6 by introducing a smaller capacity 2.8-litre version of the Alloytec engine that could be badged ‘Ecoline’, part of Holden's solution to tackling fuel efficiency.
The entry engine could be available as a ‘fleet’ model on the base Omega to help bolster Commodore sales.
A 2.8-litre V6 with variable valve timing is available in some General Motors vehicles and generates 151kW at 6800 revs and 246Nm at 6300 revs.
More economical V6s are just some of the initiatives GM-Holden chief, Mark Reuss, is instituting to lure buyers back to the Commodore and ensure the car rebuilds its credentials from the current car slump.
These include E85 ethanol engines, dedicated LPG cars and frugal turbo-diesels.
The DI engines could be mated to six-speed automatic gearboxes to deliver sub-10.0 litre/100km fuel economy.
GM's direct injection technology not only improves fuel economy but quietness.
Rubber isolators are used with the fuel rail to eliminate metal-to-metal contact that would otherwise transmit noise and vibration from the high-pressure fuel system.
Along with direct injection, the 3.0-litre gets variable valve timing to improve power and economy.
GM-Holden is confident the new engine technologies for the V6 can deliver fuel economy comparable to some of the larger capacity Japanese four-cylinder engines.
The facelifted Commodore may also have gone on a diet to help improve economy.
GM-Holden's high-feature Alloytec V6 is truly a world-class engine...
Apart from powering a family of Commodores, versions of the company's Fishermens Bend engine finds their way into various Cadillac, Saab and Alfa Romeo models.
The Saab engine is a single turbo 2.8-litre variant developing 188kW/350Nm. A 294kW twin-turbo version was developed for the Saab Aero-X concept car.
Alfa Romeo's 190kW/322Nm 3.2-litre version of the Holden V6 is heavily modified and uses direct injection and lean-burn technology.