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.