Local engineering has gone a long way to overcoming what is an oldfashioned lump of V8 under the hood. The 325kW and 550Nm is more than drivers will ever need on the road. Adding to the image is the latest LPG injection system, without the gas. The natural fuel is injected into the cylinders in liquid form. HSV calls it Liquid Propane Injection; owners who tick the option will call it a bragging point.
There’s no discernible loss of power, and big fuel savings, as the LPI provides the go up to 5300 revs, after which the premium unleaded petrol takes over.
Toss in a blind spot alert system, self-levelling xenon headlights, a bimodal exhaust system and a magnetic ride control suspension kit that noticeably changes the vehicle’s attitude around corners and the Grange starts to look like a smart package indeed.
The Grange is visually the most refined of the HSV range and a definite improvement over the previous model. The front end is either overtly masculine or a a touch too much boy racer, depending on who you’re talking to. The daytime running lights help soften the effect and from side or rear-on it looks more luxurious than ‘‘look-at-me’’.
HSV’s chief of design and styling is, not surprisingly, a fan.
‘‘We have made the Grange a more dynamic looking car, and the update delivers greater on-road presence,’’ he says.
‘‘It definitely still retains the classy appearance and proportions that you expect from a luxury performance car; however, we have added a few more masculine-looking details like the DRLs and the shockwave-inspired exhaust tips.’’
The driver-aid acronyms – ABS with EBA and BFD, ESC and STC – are all standard kit on the Grange. The difference is in the calibration, with the HSV allowing a bit of leeway before the electronics intervene. It’s enough to be fun without getting into trouble.
The self-levelling xenon headlights cast a massive spread of light even at 110km/h and the four-piston brakes aren’t likely to fade this side of a racetrack.
It isn’t hard to find a comfortable driving position in the long-wheelbase HSV and the leather-trimmed seats do a reasonable job of holding you in place as the pace picks up. The flatbottomed steering wheel helps here, too, but the sporty styled wheel isn’t matched with a quick enough rack, meaning drivers can’t turn through a 90-degree corner without shuffling their hands, which defeats the purpose.
A reversing camera with overlaid guidelines complements the standard parking sensors and makes manoeuvr- ing the big car a relative breeze, but it’s on the open road where the Grange justifies its existence.
Overtaking is simply a press of the pedal away and switching the suspension from luxury to sports mode gives you confidence to tackle the most chopped-up roads. It’s not going to outrun or outhandle a Porsche, but try fitting five people into a 911.
The only criticism is that unlike its Euro rivals, the auto headlights don’t activate when the car is unlocked.
A worthy local contender in the luxury performance market that can only be rivalled by the FPV in the value-formoney stakes.