HSV’s 400kW monster for families on the move
MEET the fastest and most powerful family wagon ever made in Australia: the HSV Clubsport LSA.
Those last three letters may not mean much to the uninitiated, but LSA is the model code for the supercharged 6.2-litre V8 previously found in high performance Cadillacs and Camaros in the US — and the flagship HSV GTS in Australia for the past two years.
Talk about going out with a bang. Holden has come a long way from the limited edition “Vacationer” models of the Commodore wagons from the 1980s, complete with sun blinds.
Better late than never, the supercharged 6.2-litre V8 engine has been added to the Clubsport sedan and wagon and Maloo ute as the car maker empties the big guns before the end of local production.
It is now less than two years before the Holden car factory in the Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth falls silent, and the shutdown will mark the end of an era for its performance car partner, Holden Special Vehicles.
While HSV — a separate entity to Holden — plans to live on, it will no longer be working its magic on locally-made cars.
Instead of making design and engineering changes to homegrown models — and then adding the finishing touches after the cars have been trucked from Adelaide to HSV’s production facility in Melbourne — HSV will turn its hand to imported vehicles.
What the HSVs of the future will look like, no one is saying.
But it’s a fair bet nothing will be as exciting as HSV’s current line-up, given General Motors has confirmed there will be no V8 sedan in Holden’s future.
The Clubsport LSA has a slightly detuned version of the 430kW/740Nm supercharged V8 found in the HSV GTS.
The result in the Clubsport and Maloo is a still healthy 400kW of power and 671Nm of torque.
HSV reckons GTS buyers (the GTS didn’t get more power with this model update) still have something special because it won’t be easy for Clubsport and Maloo customers to take their car to an aftermarket tuner and find more power.
In the Clubsport and Maloo, HSV engineers removed the GTS sedan’s unique “two-mode” air intake that enables it to suck in as much air as possible.
We ran 0-100km/h acceleration tests using our satellite-based timing equipment to find out the difference.
After about five attempts in each we eked out a 4.8-second time in both cars.
By way of comparison, we’ve previously done a 4.6-second time in a HSV GTS and a 5.2 in the new Commodore SS.
For the record, HSV claims 4.4s for the GTS and 4.6 for the Clubsport LSA and Maloo LSA.
While the supercharged V8 gets the headlines, the Clubsport LSA and Maloo LSA also get the heavy duty hardware from the GTS to handle the extra grunt, including stronger gearboxes, tail-shafts, differential and axles.
HSV says currency pressure and extra hardware are behind the price rises of up to $9500 for the Maloo, Clubsport and Senator, to $76,990, $80,990 and $92,990 respectively.
The GTS has risen by $1500 to $95,900, meaning there is a $15,000 gap to the Clubsport. Auto adds $2500 to all models, except the $85,990 Clubsport LSA wagon which is auto only. ON THE ROAD There is no doubt the Clubsport LSA is the fastest wagon Australia has ever built, but you can feel the computer wizardry starve it of power below 4000rpm, at which point the engine comes alive.
It takes next to no time to hit the rev limiter at 6200rpm (the same as the GTS). Once the LSA is on the boil it feels like nothing will stop it. Fortunately it’s equipped with the biggest brakes ever fitted to a Clubsport.
The other impressive thing about the Clubsport is the ride comfort over bumps — quite an engineering feat.
But one thing that’s too subtle is the sound. HSV may have the biggest gun in town, but the latest Holden Commodore SS-V Redline sounds tougher and more powerful, even if it isn’t.
And that will leave Holden enthusiasts with a dilemma: buy the $55,000 Holden that sounds like a V8, or buy the $85,000 supercharged beast that’s too quiet most of the time.
Is it worth the extra money to get to the speed limit 0.4seconds quicker than the latest Commodore SS? That’s the $30,000 question.