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Holden Monaro Coupe 4 2004 review

Or more precisely, there is no chance of anyone having the thing confiscated for breaking traction on the road.

The more you try to load the Coupe 4 up around challenging corners, the more it tells you that it's pointless trying to invoke any kind of tail wagging.

Let alone spinning wheels for a spirited squirt off the line.

Quite remarkably this all-paw Monaro sticks and sticks, the 62:38 rear-to-front split giving it a rather large hoof print on the road and the Cross-Trac constant all-wheel-drive giving it grip like no other HSV.

What it lacks in advertised grunt – 270kW, only 10kW more than the standard CV8 – it more than makes up for in the raucous ruffle thumping away behind the quad tailpipes.

And beyond the sonorous charm it sits, squats and attacks with relish while maintaining supreme balance, no matter how much you tear into the right pedal.

Where it makes up for a power deficiency over other rear-drive HSVs is that it is not compromised on the dirt or in wet conditions.

Put the boot in no problems and you can put extra power down earlier around a corner than if all the power and torque are fed through the rear.

As with most performance cars, everything is relative, and the brakes are more than up to the task.

These 336mm grooved and ventilated discs grabbed by twin-piston calipers up front and 316mm at the back are fine.

Although at some point, after braking later and harder and given the 1830kg bulk of the Coupe 4, the anchors become less effective.

The car is heavy, it feels porky and it is a little docile on turn-in.

The ride is rigid, not helped by the super-low-profile 35-series tyres.

These tyres have differing widths, with 245/35 19-inch Pirellis hanging off the front axle and 255/35 Italian rubber holding station at the back.

An extra 120kg over a rear-drive HSV GTO Coupe is added to the frame with the quad-drive system.

There are elements of the Coupe 4 that are absolutely stunning, and there are those that leave you scratching your head.

Like the clunky old four-speed automatic transmission.

While the car is a dream to drive in heavy traffic you are really screaming for a manual when you want to have a bit of fun on a quiet piece of spaghetti bitumen out of town.

Gosh, even an Active Select (tiptronic-style) tranny like the one Holden debuted in its VZ range would be a heap more fun than the old tyrant of a slushbox.

The cabin is tastefully kitted out in leather and suede, the seats among the most comfortable yet supportive in the business for lateral and side loads.

This pilot Coupe 4 has been around and done tough, torturous time on the road, 17,000km ticking over halfway through this 490km test.

It had, on previous duties, for anyone from newspapers to magazines, been through mud and slush and been pulled out of bogs.

The tranny was becoming a bit clunky and jerky finding gears at times.

A few of the shutlines were also awry around the front bumper and boot areas.

As you would expect the Coupe 4 is thirstier than a shearer during a beer strike.

It was gulping about 14.5 litres/100km on the highway but anywhere between 18 and 20 litres/100km around town. And no, it doesn't break into the 5sec-100km/h range. Given the extra weight and kilowatts it does the standing-start sprint in about 6.7sec.

It is about the slowest of the HSV range but definitely not the worst.

And while it goes against what the majority of HSV owners want: rear-drive, power oversteer fun, the more kilometres driven in the Coupe 4 the more appealing it becomes.

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CV8 5.7L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $21,950 – 24,990 2004 Holden Monaro 2004 CV8 Pricing and Specs
CV8-R 5.7L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $14,410 – 18,920 2004 Holden Monaro 2004 CV8-R Pricing and Specs
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