Holden’s farewell editions
you see here are the limited edition versions of the last high-performance rear-wheel drive Commodore models Holden will ever build in Australia. With GM-Holden set to pull down the shutters on its Australian manufacturing facilities on October 20 this year, the just-released MY17 Commodore range models represent the end of the line for local Holden production – literally as well as figuratively.
If there is good news in any of this, it is that Holden has at least chosen not to go out with a whimper. Three all-new, high-performance, limited-edition models top the 2017 Commodore range: the Motorsport Edition, Director and Magnum Limited Edition.
The Motorsport Edition sedan and the Magnum Ute are based on the SS-V Redline; the Director is derived from the Calais V. The SS-V model has been dropped from the range, with the equipment levels in the 2017 SS approximating those of the former SS-V.
All models retain the 6.2-litre LS3 V8, which remains unchanged from VFII spec, producing 304kW and 570Nm.
Like Ford with its final Falcon iteration, Holden allowed itself very little budget to develop its swansong Commodore models. Nonetheless, the folk at Holden have dug deep to deliver three magnificent high-performance models that represent a fitting farewell to an Aussie icon.
The changes are mostly under the skin. In what amounted to a skunkworks within Holden, a group of engineers came up with their own method of delivering meaningful improvements to the new performance versions’ dynamics and track capabilities. Despite almost no budget to work with, they’ve managed to achieve their objectives literally by foraging through the GM parts catalogue.
The Motorsport Edition and the Director each get the Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) adaptive suspension previously only available on HSV versions of the Commodore. The magnetic particle-filled shock absorber concept allows for shock adjustment changes (by altering the magnetic field inside the damper and thereby changing the damper’s fluid viscosity). The system employs suspension position sensors at each wheel to read road conditions and adjust dampers up to 100 times a second. But the MRC on the three new models is additionally controlled by a dashboard dial to allow drivers to switch between different suspension tunes. It has Tour, Sports and Performance settings, which are calibrations devised by Holden’s engineers (rather than adopting the HSV system as is).
The Motorsport Edition also gets firmer rear subframe bushes.
The Magnum Ute doesn’t come with any of these goodies, but instead gets sedan-tune FE3 rear suspension spring, shock and sway bar package for improved ride and handling.
All three models boast a new engine/ transmission cooling package developed especially for track work. The package meets ‘GM level 3’ track performance which is already