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Holden has con­firmed the ‘VXR’ nomen­cla­ture will re­place ‘SS’ for the 2018 ZB Com­modore. We also have the lat­est on its plans for Oc­to­ber 20 when the roller­shut­ter comes down for the fi­nal time. Plus, we take a new Tick­ford-en­hanced Foed Mus­tang 360 for a spin.

Holden will adopt its sis­ter brand’s VXR high-per­for­mance nomen­cla­ture for the hottest vari­ant of the forth­com­ing Opelderived Com­modore. The high-per­for­mance hero of the nextgen Com­modore line-up will fea­ture a 3.6-litre V6 with 235kW, 381Nm sent to the wheels via a nine-speed au­to­matic and torque-vec­tor­ing all-wheel drive.

Brembo brakes and con­tin­u­ous damp­ing con­trol adap­tive dampers, mean­while, will give it a sporty streak, and switch­able drive mode sys­tem unique to the VXR will al­low ad­just­ment of the CDC damper rate, steer­ing weight, trans­mis­sion re­sponse and the be­hav­iour of the AWD sys­tem.

Front and rear sports fas­cias, a rear spoiler and pre­mium VXR sill plates set the VXR apart, along with unique 20-inch al­loy wheels.

“The next-gen Com­modore VXR of­fers a dif­fer­ent ex­e­cu­tion of per­for­mance to the out­go­ing SS but make no mis­take, this is a more than wor­thy suc­ces­sor,” said Holden lead dy­nam­ics en­gi­neer Rob Tru­biani. “We’ve been in­volved in the de­vel­op­ment of this car from the be­gin­ning and I per­son­ally have spent sig­nif­i­cant time be­hind the wheel over­seas and at Holden’s Lang Lang prov­ing ground.

“We can’t wait to get the car in the hands of our cus­tomers next year but for now, we’ve still got some work to do and will con­tinue to work with the team in Europe, who are cur­rently com­plet­ing chas­sis de­vel­op­ment at Nür­bur­gring in Ger­many,” he said.

With Holden on the record that the Com­modore VXR will not be its per­for­mance flag­ship, ru­mour per­sists that the Chevro­let C8 Corvette and/or Ca­maro will pro­vide the halo in Aus­tralia. The VXR will ar­rive with the Com­modore sedan, Sport­wagon and Tourer vari­ants in early 2018.

VB, WB and now… ZB

Holden has re­vealed that the next-gen­er­a­tion Com­modore, un­til now known as NG for ‘new gen’, will go un­der the model code ZB. How­ever, the nods to the VB Com­modore and the out­go­ing VFII’s ‘Zeta’ ar­chi­tec­ture are en­tirely un­in­ten­tional, as is the ref­er­ence to Ford Aus­tralia’s XR-Fal­con­based 1968-69 ZB Fair­lane. The des­ig­na­tion in­stead is sim­ply adapted from the Euro­pean Opel In­signia donor model’s ‘Z-B’ code.

SS badge re­tired

The adop­tion of Opel’s VXR des­ig­na­tion for the hi-po Com­modore ver­sion sig­nals the re­tire­ment of the SS badge, which has been ap­plied to hot Hold­ens for 45 years. The 1972 HQ SS four-door was a Monaro pre­cur­sor and in­tro­duced Aus­tralians to the ‘Sports Sedan’ or ‘Su­per Sports’ badge, which also adorned Peter Brock’s Bathurst-win­ning A9X To­ranas. Skip­ping the VB and VC Com­modores, SS was first ap­plied to the VH in both Holden and HDT forms a decade later, and has been a Com­modore main­stay for the 35 years since.

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