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by Jez Spinks

Holden SS V Redline Ute Nurburgring 1

Holden has officially confirmed a Holden VF Commodore Ute has made a lap record attempt at Germany’s famous Nurburgring circuit – nearly two months after CarAdvice reported it.

Sources had revealed a time around the 21km-long circuit of “about 8min 20sec” and Holden says the Ute’s exact time was 8min 19.47sec.

The local car maker has used the run primarily as the basis for a new advertising campaign, though while is says it is setting rather than breaking a world record for a commercial and utility vehicle it makes the SS V Redline Ute “faster than many exotic sports cars costing several times more than the Ute” around the Nurburgring.

VF ute nurburg original story.jpg

CarAdvice’s May 3rd story on the VF Commodore Ute’s record run at the Nurburgring.

The 260kW V8-powered Holden Commodore SS V Redline Ute was piloted by Holden vehicle dynamics engineer Robert Trubiani – one of GM’s most experienced employees when it comes to the Nurburgring with 150 laps to his credit during three visits.

The SS V Redline Ute completed 35 laps totalling more than 720km over seven days.

Holden SS V Redline Ute Nurburgring 2

“We came up with a plan to tackle the Nürburgring and break the world record for a commercial or utility vehicle but when we did our research it seemed one didn’t exist, so we decided to set a record instead,” said Trubiani.

“Without a lap record to break, we sat down and calculated what we thought the Ute could do and targeted around 8min 30sec. Initial practice sessions at the track confirmed that was a stretch target so that’s what we aimed for. To slash 11 seconds from that time with an 8m 19.47sec lap was incredible. There may not have been a utility-vehicle record before but I’m proud to say the VF SS V Redline Ute is now the Nürburgring benchmark.”

The Holden Commodore SS V Ute starts from $42,490, rising to $50,690 for the Redline auto version.

  • Observer

    So instead of testing there, they go and try setting a benchmark?
    That’ll increase sales for sure.

    • Phil

      It’s hardly relevant to Australian and South African road conditions, where most of them are sold, why would you test there? It’s a commercial vehicle, not a hot hatch with a crippling ride.

      • JoeR_AUS

        Tough Crowd

        rather read about turning circles and boot space!

        • Harry

          They seem very close-minded. It’s obviously a marketing stunt.

      • Fairlane

        You would test there because its the worlds most famous premier test track,good for credibility during marketing,who cares were its sold.

        • Phil

          it’s not a test facility, it’s a race circuit that opens to the public as a toll road. Holden have Lang Lang, plus access to other GM test facilities like Milford, Yuma, Dudenhofen and Millbrook that are genuine test facilities. That is, they are designed to give relevant engineering data.

          Good on them for using it for marketing, but don’t kid yourself that they need to use it as a test facility.

          • JoeR_AUS

            Its a test track in such as manufactures use it to get a bench mark and improve on it, where their own facilities are irrelevant to the public.

          • Sydlocal

            I’m with JoeR. If it isn’t a test facility of some description then why do so many manufacturers have engineering workshops close by etc? I would also think the rise and fall of the track/ different cambers/bumps/bends etc would also give some relevant engineering data.

      • t3

        It’s hardly a “commercial vehicle”, the payload at 500kgs is the same as a normal 4 door sedan. That payload figure also counts passengers, so seat two fat aussie blokes in it and you basically can’t put any weight in the back at all.
        There’s also no tray option and the towing capacity is no better than the sedan.

        • Phil

          By your reckoning, the Renault Kangoo, Citroen Berlingo, VW Caddy and Ford Transit Connect aren’t commercial vehicles either, seeing as they are only half tonners as well, have no tray option and don’t tow any more than their sedan counterparts. Be sure to tell them, won’t you 😉

          • rq

            Enclosed vans for couriers have different uses compared to Utes. Except this “ute” is not aimed at Ute buyers anyway, it’s clearly aimed at sports car buyers. A big V8 ute that can’t even carry half as much as a small 4 cylinder engined ute?

          • Tim

            What’s wrong with having a sports car that I can also use as my work vehicle? I think it’s a great niche type vehicle in a traditionally bland segment.

  • davie

    If GM did this stunt at bathurst – it would be perceived as a bogan act and everyone would criticise them.

    Good on them for trying the Nurburgring. Gives them marketing points for presenting the commodore is a ‘world’ car. Exactly the same reason why they show the USA Chev SS ‘commodore’ in the current Aussie TV adds.

  • JoeR_AUS

    try youtube at holden vf ute Nurburgring

  • peddy.d

    In other VF related news, apparently Holden has told dealers that they can’t advertise their cars on carsales anymore. I popped into my holden dealer to see if they indeed had any VF’s to look at they said they did, when i said i saw none on carsales and thought they weren’t in stock yet they said they’ve been banned from doing so. Looks like they trying to stop dealers from undercutting eachother, so 1 for the dealers and 0 for the buyer.

    • matt

      just found 19….??? $39,165 D/a for an evoke.

  • zahmad

    Didn’t Wheels Mag do a feature where they were present at the test?

  • rat

    wow way to go it is the same as a 1998 m3 e36 6cyl

    • e3

      Which isn’t really “wow” considering this is a brand new design against a 20 year old one and has almost triple the engine capacity and half the seating capacity (and not really any improvement in payload despite claims of being a “commercial vehicle).

      • Karl Sass

        Nice way to miss the point there e3.

        • tioya

          What point? That it is as fast as a 15-20 year old car with almost half the engine capacity (not 3x)?

          • Karl Sass

            The M3 is one of the best handling cars in the world and this is a commercial vehicle. The M3 was over 130k brand new in 1998, this UTE is 50k today. It’s not even a HSV, just an SS. If you take your silly argument and apply it to other cars, the M3 is rubbish because an even older Lamborghini is faster. It’s a silly point to make. There’s a lot more to a vehicle then engine size and age.

          • Daniel D

            Its very sad Karl that you had to explain that to them, but indeed you had to.

          • Karl Sass

            Thank you for your sympathy lol

          • gdd

            It is sad that you are stuck in the 1990s.

          • e3

            What was considered “best handling” in the 90s is not what is considered “best handling” in 2013.

            Do you think that just because the 1990s model M3 was known as one of the best handling cars AT THE TIME, it somehow remains the best handling car some 20 years later despite all the advances made during those 20 years?
            As with most designs, they generally IMPROVE over time regardless of the pricing placement. Have a look at safety for example: The W126 Mercedes S class was THE safest car in the world. Plus it cost
            about $200,000. But that was in the late 80s, today it has fewer safety features
            than even a $9,990 Chinese hatchback and would be lucky to get 3 stars
            in crash testing. That’s progress for you and no one should be dumb enough to benchmark the level of safety in a 20-30 year old against a brand new one because the old one happened to be the safest AT THE TIME – and this is because what was safe at that time, is not considered safe anymore just like what was “best handling ” at the time, is not “best handling” anymore.

            Which pre 90s Lamborgini is quicker around the Nurburgring in standard form? Go on, find some sources. You are liviing in a fantasy world if you think a Countach or Muira can lap quicker than a E36 M3.
            The first gen Diablo might be able to however it’s hardly the age we’re looking for considering we’re looking at 15-20 years in difference.

          • nota

            “What was considered “best handling” in the 90s is not what is considered “best handling” in 2013.”

            If Teknikens Vard magazine’s famous ‘Elk Test aka Moose Test’ is considered a measure of handling (and why not, eg transient response) then I have news for you, because a Citroen Xantia Activa they tested back in 1999 still holds in 2013 their outright fastest time for this manoeuvre. Indeed their remains a notable speed gap to the 2nd fastest car (Porsche GT2).

            Quite impressive for a model released 19 years ago (Activa) especially considering its thin and ancient 1990-spec tyres (205/60-15).

            To reference, google “moose test wikipedia” then see ‘External links’ for ‘Moose test – list of fastest and slowest cars’. At top of list, double-click ‘Hastighet (km/h)’ for clarity.

    • JoeR_AUS

      Well 2.5s slower than the Ute and a good 1998 M3 would still cost more today than a new Ute.

      • gadfg

        $50,690 for the SS-V redline used here. The same money on a M3 will get you a 2005 model. You’d have to be completely bonkers to pay that much for a 1998 M3. Those are ‘asking’ around the $20K mark so unless the “new Ute’ you were talking about was actually a Great Wall, a 1998 M3 will not cost more than a new Ute.

        • JoeR_AUS

          LOL, 20k will get you a 200,000 km M3, well past its prime and you better be on first name basis with your mechanic….

          A good M3 2005 and later with under 60,000km will set you back at least 55k but if your fussy you will need closer to 80k

          • sfh


            In fact the cheapest one on Carsales at the moment has 113K on the clock and is asking $22K. There are 3 1999 models with between 90K and 110K on the clock asking around $25K.
            There is most definitely no 1998 model for anywhere near what this Ute costs.
            There is a late 2005 M3 (first reg 2006) with 66K on the clock for $48K! Another with 67K on the clock for $49K and another with just 58K on the clock for $55K.
            There are definitely no 2005 models anywhere near $80K. Pfffff need to spend closer to $80K? What have you been smoking? The CURRENT/outgoing) model E90/E92 M3 starts from $60K nowdays! You can get a 2008 E90 sedan with 55K on the clock for $67K and there is a large selection including coupes on offer for under $80K You can get into a 2008 C63 for $80K for crying out loud.

          • JoeR_AUS


            There were 3 M3 for under 20k with 198km or more and only 1 with 157km all well past their prime. I did not look at the ones that were higher, as they were over 20k.

            66km is not under 60km, therefore 55k is exactly what I wrote.

            If you filter M3 on under 60km from 2005: You will get 76 hits and only 4 under 79k, the 67k M3 is in WA, so unless you live there a flight, shipping or drive and re-rego it will be over 70k.

            If you shop around you can get a demo VE Ute Redline with less than 2k for around 40k but you wont find them on Carsales, try Suttons.

          • hrthtr

            You said a 1998 M3! Now you’re defining them by the mileage. Very funny, about as intelligent as MisterZed.

            Demo VE redline ute? This is a VF ute. VF UTE! But even so, where is the 1998 M3 that costs more than your $40K VE demo ute?

            You said a 1998 M3 cost more than this ute. So where are they? Where are the 1998 M3 that cost $40-$50K?
            They are around the $20K mark as I said. You were wrong, admit it.

          • JoeR_AUS

            I wrote quote “a good 1998 M3″ everyone misses the “good” and focus on the 1998.

            Now I would not consider 200,000km as good or even one with 100,000km as good, maybe average thats why the second post I wrote a good 2005 M3 and later with under 60k….

            However, for me, not you, a M3 would need to be under 60,000km which pushes it above a new VF ute. I threw the VE model in as a cheaper option.

          • afhadf

            There are no 1998 models on carsales with 200,000kms. There are only 3 listed as 1998 models, and the highest mileage of the 3 is 110,600kms for which the owner is asking $23K.

            I’ve been to a few concours and the winners are in no way at all determined by having under 60,000kms. Since when do you determine a car is “good” by merely looking at the odometer and do cars suddenly shet themselves at 60K (well the M3 SMGs probably do). I remember a Mercedes with 295,000kms winning a concours (think it was a W140 S class).

            Anyway, the fact that the 1998 model has mystically changed into a 2005 clearly shows you were wrong. No one pays the price of this ute to get a 1998 M3 in ANY condition.

          • JoeR_AUS

            do you guys having trouble reading? quote “There were 3 M3 for under 20k with 198km or more and only 1 with 157km all well past their prime” where is the 1998 in that? I only mention 1998 in connection to “Rat” and his reference to the Nurburgring time.

            Concourse condition M3 would not cost you 20k, any year. Also concourse condition has no relevance to how it would go on the track.

            I am wrong if you like but the reference was to the 1998 M3 time around Nurburgring! Now if you believe you can buy a M3 for around 20k and it will go like the one did at Nurburgring did when brand new and in its prime you would have to be joking, right?

          • gwwerg

            Those 3 include two 1994 models and one 1996 model. Yea, that’s relevant when we were looking for 1998 year models.
            It’s not that hard to maintain cars in as new condition, no reason why a 1998 model car kept in as new condition wouldn’t perform as new, particularly if you put on 2013 spec tyres not 1990s spec tyres. Or do cars suddenly get slower when they pass the 60,000km mark?
            They are NOT worth much more than around $20K even in concors condition. The trade in value is only $13K. They certainly do not cost as much as this new Ute. Those sellers asking $23K or so for their 1998 models will not get it unless they are in pristine condition with full service records – and even then they’ll probably have to take 20% off the price – maybe 40% if they do indeed have a few faults.

          • JoeR_AUS

            you obviously have not been to the race track, 1998 car is 15 years old, brakes, bushes, shocks, etc, etc unless you find one that has everything recently changed. The low mileage helps to the extent that things are not worn but they still age and they do not improve with age. Again, the performance of a old car will be nowhere near a new one eg go drive a new Commodore 160,000km in a year and then line it up against a brand new one on the track. The full service record is only the basics.

          • JoeR_AUS

            Ok M3 fans

            How much for a 1 owner 1994 M3-R ?

  • Elitist

    Hearing an Aussie talk just made this track seem uncool.

    • Underling

      Gee you most really hate Mt Panorama then

    • Karl Sass

      How sad.

    • guest

      Must have been uncool back in the old days too, when an Aussie voice was heard in those times – he was trying to master an evil handling Porsche 917 that the works drivers wouldn’t dare touch. He and the co-driver limped the bad handling machine home to a quite result. A testament to their bravery.

      Typical internet troll comment. Little depth, no knowledge, just a deliberate wind up.

  • JJ

    I don’t see the issue with where it’s tested either way… it’s a Holden Commodore.

    There won’t be a good result.

    • MD

      Obviously meaning then it is an excellent result JJ?? Otherwise your comment is typical of illogical bias & jealousy…

  • dr sheldon cooper

    Sell the Ute in America. They invented the El Camino, they will LOVE it…and the exports will save Australian jobs at Holden.

    • Shak

      GM have been trying for a while to get the Ute over there. The main problem is that they cant get it past the “chicken tax” which is essentially a 25% tarrif on imported commercial utes designed to protect the massively profitable US trucks market. This means the Ute would actually cost more than a fully loaded SS Sedan over in the US.

      • LC

        This is a recreational vehicle, not a commercial vehicle, and that’s how Holden’s been marketing the ute since the VE was launched. It has a payload capacity of 500kg and a towing capacity of 2.1 tonnes, which pales in comparison to even the locally offered 4cyl pickups. You can’t haul more with this than you could with the sedan.

        It’s not even in the same league as local pickups, let alone the American trucks. It can’t tow nearly as much they can by 1 tonne, it can’t haul as much as the smallest ones there can by more than 500kgs, and it uses more fuel than all but the biggest trucks ie: F450, Silverado 3500HD, Ram 3500HD. And the latter is built in Mexico, and they get around it somehow! Buyers after those sort of vehicles would scoff at this. But people who want an SS but don’t need or want the rear seats may find this a nice alternative. And people who want a truck without the truck feel (like the El Camino had) would love it.

        As it is, GM are open to the idea, but the barrier for them right now is the Aussie Dollar. They won’t do it until it goes under 80 cents, or it’s not worthwhile for them. They’re only against exporting the wagon, because there’s no market for them in the US anymore. They sold thousands of the Cadillac CTS coupe and sedan, but only 300 wagons, to cite one example.

        • Shak

          You can call it whatever you like but the Americans protect their local trucks viciously. Why do you think even foreign brands like Toyota manufacturer their trucks in the US instead of importing. For US purposes this is a commercial and it will therefore be taxed an extra 25%.

          • LC

            I think you may have missed a keypoint I have in there:
            The Ram series of trucks is made in Mexico. That is a proper pickup, rather than this, which is a coupe-utility (ute), and to add to that, one that can carries less than half of the smallest truck offered there can. Comparing the prices of them compared to their US counterparts, they are not tariffed, or they absorb the tariff.

            Dodge can get away with it, and GM has figured out a way too: They were going to bring the Ute to the US as a Pontiac, but that plan fell in a heap because of the GFC which saw the Pontiac brand axed. The GM bigwigs are still happy to bring it in, when the Australian dollar drops to a more suitable level.

          • Sheldon

            Thats a Catch-22. Holden will sell the Ute in the US….but that would mean the AUD had taken a dive! The negative wipes out the positive.

          • LC

            The negative is going to happen anyway, when the US gets back on it’s feet (or if we go into recession, take your pick).

          • Sheldon

            I am afraid u may be right. Manufacturing is returning to America with the rise in labor cost in China and the cost of shipping. Australia may just be NOW entering our own GEC with the off shoring of our manuf and service jobs, flooding of asylum (Centrelink) seekers, coming bursting of the housing bubble, and our inability to print money UNLIKE the US which had been floating their economy with $600 M a day of printed USD. Not good.

          • LC

            Oh, and the only vehicle the Chicken Tax ever successfully kept out of the US was the VW T1 and T2 Transporter vans (ie: the “Kombi”). Manufacturers can still import any commercial vehicle they want. Mercedes imports the Sprinter by sending it over without the engine and gearbox, they get fitted there in a small factory. Toyota imported the HiLux there during the mid 80’s-early 90s for the “mini-truck” boom by sending it over in a cab-chassis configuration and fitting the pick-up box to it when it arrived at dealers (the only reason they still aren’t doing it is because commercial utes it’s size are a niche market over there and they can’t get margins to back it up, so they’re selling one that’s tuned to be more for recreation instead).

        • Sydlocal

          LC, the Ute has a towing capacity of only 1,600kg (about the same as many japanese 4cyl sedans), not 2,100kg which further strengthens your statement.

          • LC

            Thanks for the correction. 1600kg? That’s appalling. My 19 year old Fairlane can tow 2300kg. What’s their excuse?

          • Phil

            It may be due to the trailer sway control that’s now standard – other vehicles with TSC have had reductions in tow capacity. And the Holden’s tow rating applies to the manual – the manual Falcon ute is only rated to tow 1200kg.

          • Sydlocal

            Phil, most VE Commodores were only 1,600kg too, some even less at 1,200kg depending on specification. You had to option up a special ‘higher weight tow pack’ to be able to tow more. Also I’m not sure if it would be fully due to the trailer sway either as my car has it fitted and its rating is 2,700kg. Then again it could be why they no longer have the higher weight tow pack rating though. Interesting….

  • GM1

    Can we identify the “… exotic sports cars costing several times more than the Ute” that this is said to be faster than around the ring? Let’s get the list going ……..

    • Sydlocal

      Well a 2L, 4cyl FWD hatchback that is around the same price is quicker… 😉

  • marc

    I’ve got to say for a car/ute costing 40k, sounds good & looks so well balanced on the track.

  • topender

    want to buy an ssv auto ute,local dealer cant get one for three months,made in oz an it takes 3 months,not very good GM

  • topender

    try and buy one,3 months before the local dealer can get one,made in aus an have to wait 3 months,not good GMH

  • Tom

    About the same time as a Porsche Boxster S. Very impressive for a $50K Car.