Won­der wagon

HSV’s 400kW mon­ster for fam­i­lies on the move

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Prestige - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDITOR

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.

Con­tin­ued in­side

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.

Joshua Dowl­ing

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