Back by pop­u­lar de­mand

There’s much re­joic­ing with the re­vival of the en­try level Clubs­port, writes Peter Barn­well

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - COVER STORY -

THANK­FULLY, HSV saw the er­ror of its ways mid­way through last year and re-in­tro­duced the en­try level ClubS­port, or Club­bie as it’s more af­fec­tion­ately known.

LEG­ENDARY

Cashed-up bo­gans love this car, which has al­most leg­endary sta­tus in cer­tain quar­ters. Sure, the R8 and GTS are ‘‘bet­ter’’ but the Club­bie is the ‘‘every­man’’ hot Holden, as is the Maloo ute, which also made a come­back last year.

HSV had been in­ex­orably edg­ing up­scale with its range nudg­ing the hun­dred grand mark.

That’s a far cry from the orig­i­nal HSVs 25 years ago, which were es­sen­tially Com­modores with more pow­er­ful en­gines, big­ger wheels and stiffer sus­pen­sion.

FEATURES

Stan­dard features on the Club­bie (and Maloo) in­clude HSV’s 6.2 litre, pushrod over­head valve, LS3, Gen­er­a­tion 4, V8 which de­liv­ers 317kW of power and 550 Nm of torque. A six-speed man­ual is stan­dard with op­tional six-speed auto an ex­tra two grand.

The ClubS­port ef­fec­tively in­cludes all the ma­jor features of last year’s R8 with the ex­cep­tion of HSV’s En­hanced Driver In­ter­face (EDI), which will be avail­able as a fac­to­ry­fit­ted op­tion. The new ClubS­port also picks up HSV’s 20-inch Pen­tagon al­loy wheels to com­ple­ment an al­ready im­pres­sive list of stan­dard features; sport/tour­ing sus­pen­sion, ESC with com­pe­ti­tion mode, fourpis­ton brake package, sat­nav, rear park as­sist and re­vers­ing cam­era.

FUN

The au­to­matic car we drove was op­tioned-up with a bi­modal ex­haust sys­tem and the EDI sys­tem to add an ex­tra el­e­ment of fun to driv­ing this big, boofy V8 sedan.

It also had the op­tional 20-inch forged al­loy wheels and other cool kit like dual zone cli­mate con­trol, en­hanced Blue­tooth and a four-way ad­justable elec­tric driver’s seat.

DRIV­ING

At 1800kg, this is a big, weighty car but one that’s still ca­pa­ble of putting away a 0-100kmh sprint in around 5.0 sec­onds. En­gage the com­pe­ti­tion mode and you can really feel the Club­bie’s power push­ing you into your seat.

It rum­bles, squats in the rear end, lifts its nose and bel­lows en route to stop­ping the clocks in a more than re­spectable time for such a big beast.

But, in this case, it’s spoiled a tad by the over­soft sus­pen­sion and steer­ing that could of­fer a bit more feel. We reckon the op­tional six­pis­ton brakes should be stan­dard; though the four pots fit­ted do a pretty good job on the road. Un­leash the Club­bie on a track day and you’ll find the end of the brakes be­fore fin­ish­ing the first lap.

Though the bi­modal ex­haust sounds good at idle, it’s too quiet on the move, un­like most of the Euro­pean V8 sports sedans that get bet­ter the harder you drive them.

You can punt the Club­bie fairly hard on a wind­ing road, lim­ited by its weight and, in this case, the soft­ish sus­pen­sion.

FUEL

It con­sumes an alarming amount of fuel hov­er­ing in the mid to high teens per 100km and it’s pre­mium too. Still, most of th­ese cars would be funded through com­pa­nies, so what’s it mat­ter. We like the look of it in­side and out and the stan­dard equip­ment is gen­er­ous. Great seats, plenty of info feed­ing back to the driver and the EDI is ex­cel­lent.

We would go for the auto ev­ery day be­cause it de­liv­ers rapid-fire changes up and down the range but misses out on pad­dle shift.

VER­DICT

This model is due to be re­placed later this year when the ‘‘F’’ range of HSV cars lands, pos­si­bly with a 400kW­plus su­per­charged 6.2-litre V8. Now that would be some­thing else again.

Leg­endary sta­tus: HSV has rein­tro­duced the ClubS­port and Maloo ute to its lineup, both fea­tur­ing a 6.2-litre 317kW V8 and a raft of im­pres­sive features.

Brains and brawn: The ClubS­port has come a long way from the HSVs of 25 years ago.

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