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HSV Clubsport vs Holden Commodore SS

Joshua Dowling

30 Oct 2015 • 4 min read

Big bent-eights continue to tempt Aussie enthusiasts. Joshua Dowling rates the muscle for the money.

value

HSV Clubsport LSA

$83,490

The Clubsport R8 price has risen by up to $9500 with the fitment of the supercharged V8 "LSA" engine and the heavy duty hardware (transmission, differential, axles) that goes with it. It has six-speed auto, four-piston caliper brakes front and rear, 20-inch alloys with Continental tyres and, shared with the SS-V Redline, forward crash alert and head-up display.

Holden VF II Commodore SS-V Redline

$56,190

Holden has pinched the 6.2-litre LS3 V8 used to date by HSV. But the price has crept up a few thousand dollars due to the extra goodies, including staggered wheels (the rear tyres are wider than the front, for better grip), Brembo brakes front and rear, new front bumper and tail-lights, and some other treats under the skin. Transmission is also six-speed auto.

design

HSV Clubsport LSA

The changes to the Series II update are subtle: the fog lights have been replaced by plastic garnish that looks like a brake cooling duct (but doesn't actually let any air through) and there are new side skirts and trim on the lower edge of the bumpers. New wheels also give it a freshen-up. The Clubsport LSA gets a dual-mode exhaust but it's not as loud as the Holden version.

Holden VF II Commodore SS-V Redline

Holden has introduced a mechanical sound enhancer under the bonnet to pipe the V8's induction growl directly into the cockpit in front of the driver. The dual-mode exhaust note is also funnelled into the rear of the cabin. After years of Holden V8s being too quiet, this one finally sounds like a V8 Supercar.

technology

HSV Clubsport LSA

Engine

The supercharged 6.2-litre V8 (400kW/671Nm) is a detuned version of the engine fitted to the flagship HSV GTS (430kW/740Nm). For the 0-100km/h sprint, HSV claims a 0.2-second difference between the two cars (4.4 and 4.6 seconds respectively). We've clocked 4.6 for the GTS and 4.8 for the Clubsport.

Holden VF II Commodore SS-V Redline

Engine

The V8 has less power than in HSV tune (304kW v 340kW) because the Holden version of the same engine is restricted by a standard exhaust — HSV Clubsports were fitted with extractors. Why didn't Holden stretch the output to 308kW, a nod to the last Holden-made V8? The 304kW number was the best they could get out of it.

safety

HSV Clubsport LSA

Six airbags, five-star safety rating. There is a rear-view camera with guiding lines that turn with the steering wheel, so you can see where you'll end up. There are also parking sensors front and rear. The brakes have four-piston calipers and the discs are significantly bigger than the SS-V Redline's Brembo package.

Holden VF II Commodore SS-V Redline

Similar deal to the HSV: six airbags, five safety stars and rear-view camera with guiding lines that turn with the steering. There are also parking sensors front and rear. The fitment of Brembo brakes front and rear (previous models had them on the front only) definitely help the Redline pull up more sharply.

driving

HSV Clubsport LSA

The Clubsport LSA glides over bumps like a luxury car, though the steering can feel a touch vague in the straight-ahead position at freeway speeds. All is forgiven when you floor the throttle and the LSA comes alive. It sounds a little muted but there is no denying this thing has epic grunt.

Holden VF II Commodore SS-V Redline

This may come as a shock but the SS-V Redline sounds faster than the Clubsport LSA. However, the stopwatch tells a different story. In real world driving, we got a 0-100km/h time of 5.2 seconds (Holden claims 4.9) or almost half a second slower than the HSV. But it doesn't feel like it. The electric power steering seems to better suit the Holden's Bridgestone tyres, compared to the HSV's Continentals. It has a more direct feel. Overall, a brilliant package.

Verdict

HSV Clubsport LSA

Holden VF II Commodore SS-V Redline

Each is at the top of the game. The SS-V Redline's $27,300 price advantage over the Clubsport LSA is too big a gap to ignore.

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