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Power rivals go head to head

The HSV Maloo R8 Ute will be powered by the new LS3 engine.

Holden's performance arm is upgrading its engines this month, weeks before rival Ford Performance Vehicles releases its new range. HSV is updating the current 307kW LS2 to the LS3 V8, which pumps out 317kW.

The upgrade should see HSV maintain its power advantage because FPV is reportedly set to offer a 315kW V8. HSV says the timing simply coincides with its supply of the LS2 running out.

“Our customers want the latest and greatest technology in their cars,” HSV managing director Scott Grant says. “The General Motors LS3 engine continues the HSV tradition of scouring the world for technological advancements to enhance the driving experience.”

At the unveiling of the new FPV range in February, company boss Rod Barrett said the Blue Oval performance brand would not engage in a power war with its Holden rival.

FPV will rely on an upgraded version of the 5.4-litre Boss V8 for the short term, but promises more upgrades, including a reborn GT-HO.

The new HSV engine comes at a price. The ClubSport R8 now starts at $64,550, up $1660, the Maloo R8 goes from $59,990 to $61,550, the GTS is up $1000 to $76,990 and the Senator Signature cops a $1200 increase to take it to $79,190.

The Grange has been bumped up $1700 to start at $84,690. The LS3 unit is 6.2-litres and produces 550Nm of torque at 4600rpm, the same as the LS2. It is built in North America by General Motors Powertrains.

Despite the size increase, HSV is reporting a slight drop in fuel economy for the new models.

As well as the local line-up, the engine will feature in HSV's export models, the Vauxhall VXR8 sold in Britain and the Middle East-bound CSV R8. The same engine is fitted to the Chevrolet Corvette in the US.

HSV says that automatic gearboxes will also get an oil cooler as standard. As an option for ClubSport, Senator and Grange buyers, new 20-inch alloy wheels will be available at $2500.