The Holden VF Commodore SS V-Series shown this week has a 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine beneath its bright-orange aluminium bonnet, 0.2L larger than the engine in the outgoing VE Commodore SS and the same engine used in current HSV models.
The switch to a larger capacity V8 for the regular Holden range also leaves HSV with supercharging as the only option for its range of high-performance VF Commodores.
Engine details were revealed by Chevrolet at the US launch of the Chevrolet SS, which will run down the same production line as its Holden Commodore SS near-twin in Adelaide from later this year.
The 6.2-litre ‘LS3’ V8 engine (pictured above) is expected to produce 309kW of power and 563Nm of torque in Chevrolet SS guise, according to Chevrolet. That’s fractionally less power than what HSV is currently offering in its VE Commodore-based range – 325kW – but the Chevrolet SS/VF Commodore SS will offer 13Nm more torque.
While Holden has offered Active Fuel Management (AFM) – or cylinder shut-down capability – with its 6.0-litre V8 engine since 2009, HSV has never offered the fuel-saving technology with its 6.2-litre V8.
General Motors, however, has since upgraded the 6.2-litre V8 with ‘flex fuel’ E85 ethanol compatability and AFM, rebadging the motor from LS3 to L99 in the process. In addition to shutting off four of the eight cylinders on light loads, the L99 also gets camshaft phasing technology.
It is the upgraded L99 engine that Holden will likely use to maximise efficiency, and fulfill its promise to make the VF Commodore more economical than the outgoing VE generation. Currently, the 6.0-litre V8 SS has a claimed fuel consumption of 12.2L/100km, where the 6.2-litre non-AFM-equipped HSV is rated at 13.5L/100km.
Thanks to an expected weight loss program of up to 100kg with the VF Commodore range, the 6.2-litre VF SS should drop its economy rating to under 12L/100km, despite the increased capacity.
The news that the Chevrolet SS/VF Commodore SS will use a 6.2-litre V8 all but confirms the rumour that HSV will use a supercharged V8 engine of the same capacity.
Badged LSA, the GM 6.2-litre V8 (pictured top) gets an Eaton four-lobe-rotor supercharger to produce 432kW of power and 754Nm of torque in the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, and only slightly less in the Chevrolet CTS-V. It is unlikely, though, that HSV will stump up for the ‘hero’ specification of that engine, called the LS9, which is the most powerful GM production engine ever.
Together with the Holden VF Commodore weight loss program, the newly supercharged range of HSV models should be the fastest-ever Holden production cars, even with the lower outputs of the LSA supercharged V8 engine. A sub-4.5 second 0-100km/h would be required to make the HSV faster than its supercharged V8 arch rival from Ford, the FPV GT RSPEC.
In the ongoing power war with FPV, the HSV range has been bested in the past two years, with the supercharged range of Ford Falcon models producing up to 335kW and 570Nm – 10kW and 25Nm more than the HSV Clubsport, Senator and GTS.
Come the HSV VF Commodore, the FPV power advantage will be gone.