Back by popular demand
There’s much rejoicing with the revival of the entry level Clubsport, writes Peter Barnwell
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.