Holden has divided the styling of the VF Commodore range in two, creating a pair of themes each for the sports and luxury models of the range. While the 'luxury sport' Calais V-Series made its debut on Sunday, the 'sport luxury' SS V-Series show car near-completes the range, with the new entry-level model, ute and Sportwagon expected to be shown next week.
Finished in a 'hero' Fantale orange hue, the VF Commodore SS V-Series show car featured a six-speed manual transmission, quad sports exhausts, and 20-inch multi-spoke black alloy wheels with Brembo brakes hiding behind them. Holden refers to the show car as an "amped up" pointer to the production model.
Compared with the Calais V-Series, the SS V-Series gets a wider, narrower grille and larger, more prominent blacked-out air intake aperture and rear valance. While the headlights, foglights and LED daytime lights are shared between models, the SS V-Series replaces the curvature lines on the bumper of the Calais V-Series with sharper, more geometrical lines and slashes.
Citing the aims for the exterior design, Holden VF Commodore colour and trim design manager, Kirsty Lindsay, said "we wanted to blur the boundary between luxury sports tourer and dramatic sports machine.
"The gloss black paint on the hand-machined double five-spoke wheels is a custom finish, while the cool gunmetal chrome detailing on the front fascia and the vertical fender vents is less overt, more in tune with this car's luxury persona."
Adds Holden VF Commodore exterior design manager, Peter Hughes: "We wanted to put something out there that made a bit of an impact.
"The design was an exercise in exploring future options and gauging buyer reactions. We may get some polarised opinions, but that's all part of the process of experimenting with different ideas and anticipating market trends."
According to Holden chief designer, Richard Ferlazzo, the directive was also to give the VF Commodore sports variants “a level of richness” that hasn’t been seen with previous SV6 and SS models.
“In some ways the two models [Calais and SS] have become a little bit closer,” said Ferlazzo.
“Calais has a more formal, large upper grille ... with the SS we’ve got this dominant lower air intake with slender upper grille…
“There’s quite a bit of brightwork for a sports models [but] we’re happy with that."
"Apart from decoration,” says Ferlazzo, all sheetmetal is shared between Calais, SS and all VF Commodore sedans.
There will be two versions of the VF Commodore sports range, presumably wearing SV6 and SS badges – although rumours persist that the SV6 will be dropped, replaced by an uprated 240kW V6-engined version to pick up the SS moniker.
In the Holden design studio – which opened in 1964, and has been the design base for all Holdens since the HR – another VF Commodore sport prototype wore clear-lens taillights with exposed chrome bezels, where the show car had black smoked-finish lights (above).
Although the design chief wouldn’t be drawn into speculation that both taillights will be offered, it is likely that the smoked-finish taillights will feature on the SV6/SS with the clear units reserved for the SS V-Series.
Compared with the VF Calais, Ferlazzo outlined the “contrast between black and body colour, small spoiler … much more subdued spoiler [than previous SS],” adding “there will be a higher wing spoiler for those who want it”.
Read CarAdvice's full coverage of the Holden VF Commodore here.