The last of the locally built Holden Commodores is going out with a mechanically augmented V8 roar.
The same 6.2-litre V8 fitted to the Chevrolet Corvette will be found under the bonnet of more than half of the updated VF Series II cars as nostalgic Aussies and automotive speculators rush to buy the last home-grown V8.
That demand will continue until at least the Christmas shutdown, according to Holden sales director Peter Keley.
He says existing V8 Commodore owners wanted "more of everything" from the final Commodore — and the engineers delivered. The sound of the engine has been boosted inside the cabin by fitting a "mechanical sound enhancer" while still keeping the exterior noise under the legal threshold.
The V8 exhaust is a bi-modal job, with an internal flap that opens at higher revs to liberate more of the roar.
Aggressive black bonnet scoops on SSV models aren't there just for looks. Designed in Monash University's wind tunnel, they channel air into the engine bay - just as the bumper vents direct airflow to the front brakes and out of the wheel arch.
Bernhard lobbied to head Holden at a time when it is ending production. He viewed it as rational and respectful to have a local overseeing the workforce wind-up.
Top-spec Redline models gain Brembo front and rear brakes to help restrain the performance — the big sedan will hit 100km/h just 4.9 seconds after launch.
The cosmetic changes to the VF II's look are minor, running to front and rear bumper tweaks with lamp updates and new alloy wheel designs.
Pricing for the (unchanged) entry-model Evoke stays at $35,490. The V8 option is from $44,490 for an SS with a six-speed manual and tops out at $58,190 for the SSV Redline Sportwagon with six-speed auto.
Holden MD Mark Bernhard — the first Australian to head Holden in 25 years — says the in-house expertise that made the likes of the VF helped secure the jobs of 300 local designers and engineers beyond 2017.
The team will be responsible for design and development of new global models, refining those vehicles to match local expectations of how a Holden should perform.
Bernhard lobbied to head the Australian arm at a time when it is ending production. He viewed it as rational and respectful to have a local overseeing the workforce wind-up.
He also sees a business opportunity as Holden becomes an importer. "We've got 24 models coming in the next five years. Dealers have committed $200 million to upgrade facilities," he said. "We're looking to grow both with the Commodore, which is the best-value performance five-seat sedan in the world."