Holden Special Vehicles has confirmed it will supercharge the majority of its range, with a detuned version of the GTS flagship's 6.2 litre supercharged LSA V8 now available in the Clubsport R8, Clubsport Tourer R8, Maloo R8 and Senator Signature.
With the Commodore-based HSV line-up now updated to "Gen-F2" standard, the broader application of the 6.2 litre LSA engine is undoubtedly the headline change.
Cranking out a mighty 430kW and 740Nm in the GTS, the LSA makes 400kW and 671Nm in the R8 and Senator. HSV is confident the power boost will be "well received". We're inclined to believe them.
All of that extra oomph comes at a premium over the current naturally-aspirated R8 range, but that's only part of the Gen-F2 update menu.
In line with Holden's changes for the updated Commodore VFII, the HSV Gen-F2 range gets two new colour options, bonnet vents, a redesigned centre console and LED tail lamps for the Clubsport R8 Tourer
HSV-specific changes include new front and rear fascias, new side-skirts, and a new 20-inch alloy wheel design for both the GTS and Maloo/Clubsport models - ten spokes for the Senator and GTS, and a split five-spoke design for the R8s.
The auxiliary gauges at the base of the centre stack have also been deleted to improve storage space, and the EDI performance data display has been made optional on all models bar the GTS.
The base Clubsport and Maloo are gone, but the Clubsport R8 and Maloo R8 models powered by the existing 6.2 litre non-supercharged LS3 will be available early next year. Outputs will stay at 340kW and 570Nm for those models, with pricing to be revealed closer to launch.
The Caprice-based Grange is the only other model to continue using the naturally-aspirated LS3, and will not be available with the LSA powerplant.
R8 LSA And Senator LSA In Detail
Though it shares its engine with the chest-thumping GTS, the Clubsport R8 LSA, Clubsport R8 Tourer LSA, Maloo R8 LSA and Senator Signature LSA differ greatly in other aspects of their mechanical fit-out.
The engine is internally identical to the GTS, but a unique airbox and engine tune means power is substantially lower.
Nevertheless, the LSA in detuned form still boasts a high-flow exhaust with bi-modal mufflers and a liquid-to-air intercooler.
As with the GTS, these models take power to the rear wheels via a 9.9-inch differential with limited-slip differential, with separate coolers for the gearbox and diff.
However, unlike the GTS the R8s and Senator don't score a torque-vectoring rear brake setup or Magnetic Ride Control adjustable dampers.
The rear suspension hardware differs greatly as a result, and spring and damper settings have been fettled to accommodate the LSA's weight and performance and ratchet up its roadholding
Besides the suspension upgrades, the LSA-equipped R8 and Senator models also gain unique four-piston braking hardware and a specific stability control calibration.
The manual transmission used is the familiar TR6060 MG9 with a twin-plate clutch, with the 6L90E six-speed being the self-shifting option. The Grange and Clubsport R8 Tourer LSA will only be offered as automatics.
So how fast is it? HSV claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.6 seconds for the R8 Clubsport LSA, regardless of which gearbox option is chosen. That's just 0.2 seconds behind the mighty GTS.
What drove the adoption of the LSA for HSV's "regular" R8 models? According to the company, it was a mixture of a desire to innovate and the economics of which engine could provide more power for less.
"We've got to continually push boundaries, it's that simple," said HSV General Manager of Marketing Damon Paull.
"It was a natural progression... [and the] LS3 was pretty much maxed out already."
Asked whether a more highly-evolved version of the naturally-aspirated LS3 could have been used instead, HSV's Director of Engineering Joel Stoddart said it came down to cost.
"By the time it [LS3] had bi-modal intakes and exhausts, without what we call 'open-heart' surgery - opening up the engine and changing hardware, which drives a tremendous amount of development costs - it made more sense to use the LSA instead," he said.
Order books are open for the 2016 HSV Gen-F2 range with retail pricing listed below. Dealer deliveries are expected to commence on October 12.
Pricing has jumped significantly for most models (most notably the R8 Tourer) to reflect the additional equipment and LSA engine of the Gen-F2 range. The GTS undergoes a slight price rise of $1500.
Pricing for the LS3-equipped Clubsport R8 and Maloo R8 will be released closer to the arrival of those models in the first quarter of 2016.
- Maloo R8 LSA manual: $76,990
- Maloo R8 LSA automatic: $79,490
- Clubsport R8 LSA manual: $80,990
- Clubsport R8 LSA automatic: $83,490
- Clubsport R8 Tourer LSA (auto only): $85,990
- Grange LS3 (auto only): $86,990
- Senator Signature LSA manual or auto: $92,990
- GTS manual: $95,990
- GTS automatic: $98,490
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