In the second half of last year Holden Special Vehicles radically overhauled its engine lineup by detuning the GTS’ supercharged LS9 V8 and plonking it into all Clubsport R8, Maloo R8 and Senator variants, meanwhile quietly dropping the entry-level Clubsport and Maloo in the process.
The Caprice-based HSV Grange remained as the sole offering still powered by the naturally-aspirated 6.2 litre LS3 motor (which now sees service in the Holden Commodore SS), but now - for a brief period at least - the LS3 is making a wider comeback to the HSV lineup.
The arrival of Euro V emissions regulations on November 1 will effectively signal the end of the road for the LS3 for HSV, with the cost of making that engine compliant considered too high - especially as the Commodore itself is set to cease production in 2017.
But until November, HSV’s limited run of LS3-powered cars will provide aficionados of fast Aussie sedans one last chance to snare a naturally-aspirated, big-engined Commodore - and at a price less than that of the current range of supercharged LSA models.
Clubsport R8 SV Black and Maloo R8 SV Black
First off the rank in June will be the Clubsport R8 SV Black and Maloo R8 SV Black.
Featuring the bumpers and side skirts of the Clubsport R8 LSA with additional black trim for a more unique look, the SV Black will be the first model to bring back the LS3 V8 in 340kW/570Nm form.
Priced at $65,990 for the Clubsport sedan or $62,990 for the Maloo ute (a six-speed automatic adds $2500 to the sticker price), just 368 Clubsport R8 SV Blacks (including 18 for New Zealand) and 102 Maloo R8 SV Blacks (just two for NZ) will be built.
Both sedan and ute also come with a set of AP Racing forged 4-piston brake calipers in a gloss black finish, a quartet of satin black 20-inch alloys, the less aggressively bolstered seats from the Commodore SS V Redline, shadow chrome exhaust tips, SV Black badging and a numbered build plate.
It also picks up the “mechanical sound enhancer” - a tube that pipes intake noise into the cabin that was developed by Holden - as standard.
That’s on top of standard R8 features like a bi-modal exhaust, sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, 9-speaker BOSE audio (Clubsport only) and hard tonneau cover and HSV sail plane (Maloo only).
The Grange finally scores the LS3 in 340kW form with the SV special edition, and also picks up a set of 20-inch gloss black “Rapier” wheels, AP Racing four-piston calipers, a blacked-out grille and lower air intake and black accent stripe along the lower edges of its doors.
To reflect the significantly lower demand for the Caprice-based Grange, just 50 Grange SVs will be built when production begins in September. The cost? $86,990 - the same price as before.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a Grange though, get in quick - the Grange SV will be the last Grange ever, with no plans to shoehorn the LSA engine into HSV’s fast limo.
Clubsport R8 Track Edition
HSV has saved the best for last, with the Clubsport R8 Track Edition becoming available in September with a number of high-performance modifications designed to make it the fastest non-supercharged R8 ever.
Priced at $68,990, just 156 Track Editions will be built (six of them for NZ). That’s $14,500 less than a Clubsport R8 LSA, but with 20-inch alloy wheels, the monstrous six-piston AP Racing brakes from the GTS and a retuned suspension (stiffer 6kg/mm springs with revised damper valving to suit), the Track Edition should live up to the sporty promise of its name.
Power and torque remain at 340kW and 570Nm, but HSV hopes the sharper chassis and brakes of the R8 Track Edition - as well as its sharper pricetag - will resonate with track day enthusiasts.
Additional special equipment includes a suede-wrapped sports steering wheel, sports bucket seats, shadow chrome exhaust tips, unique badging and numbered build plate.