2010 Holden Commodore Race Sport RS350 & RS400T Review

Current Pricing Not Available
  • Fuel Economy
    14.6L
  • Engine Power
    270kW
  • CO2 Emissions
    343g
  • ANCAP Rating
    5Stars

The Patterson Cheney Race Sport range is guaranteed to put hair on your chest.

The Patterson Cheney Race Sport range is guaranteed to put hair on your chest.

CarAdvice Rating:

There’s a good chance that you’ve never heard of Patterson Cheney, and I won’t hate you for it, as I had no idea who they were before I started researching the Race Sport range either.

Patterson Cheney is a large Holden dealership in Melbourne’s east that sells every Holden under the sun, in addition to a range of naturally aspirated performance enhancements for your V8 Holden Commodore.

With a history in motor racing dating back to the 1950’s, Patterson Cheney Holden thought it would be the perfect time to start tinkering with aftermarket mods soon after they dropped the HSV portion of their dealership.

What makes the modifications so unique is that they are all covered by a new car warranty. So, if you buy an SS or SS-V, you can hand the keys directly to the Patterson Cheney guys and they’ll mod it for you and cover the modifications for the duration of your new car warranty.

In addition to that, you can take your currently owned SS or SS-V to them even if you’re two years through your warranty and the modifications will still be covered for the remainder of the new car warranty.

The Race Sport range focuses on getting the most out of the 6.0-litre L98 V8 engine without heading down the forced induction route. The main advantages of remaining naturally aspirated include the mechanical benefits of placing less stress on internal components and the added bonus of keeping the proportions of mechanical components similar to stock.

There are four performance packages available in the Race Sport range. It all starts with the RS327, which features 327kW of power with performance enhancements that include headers, a 2.5 inch exhaust, cold air intake system and progressive rate lowered springs. The package sets you back $8990.

One of the models I test drove was the RS350, with performance options fitted to an SS-V Special Edition Ute. An extra $1000 ($9990) gets you a total 350kW power output and 660Nm of torque. The RS350 features a revolutionary over the radiator cold air intake system, Bilstein shock absorbers and a custom PCM tune, in addition to the RS327 modifications.

From the moment you turn the RS350 Ute over, you know it means business. A menacing idle offers a hint of the performance on hand. The 2.5 inch exhaust system is hand built and welded and suits the 6.0-litre V8 down to a tee.

It’s under throttle that the RS350 really begins to heighten the senses. From around 3000rpm onward the RS350 begins to bellow loud enough to be heard three blocks away. The progressive acceleration and linear power delivery is one of the main advantages of a naturally aspirated system.

If you’re after a more sedate drive, all you have to do is grab sixth gear and ease off the throttle. From there, the RS350 becomes just as sedate as the next SS-V on the road. That’s the best part about the sub $10,000 package. It’s capable of delivering stellar performance with the joy of loud motoring when required, but is also able to tinker along and remain fun to play with when you’re after a quiet drive down the road.

The only downside to the RS350 package is its thirst for 98RON PULP. While a three stage system is being developed to work with 91RON, 95RON and E85, the only way to extract the full gauntlet of power and torque is to feed it 98RON PULP. Aside from the added cost, it’s not such a bad thing. The smooth acceleration on offer is partly helped by the highly developed 98RON PULP.

Bilstein shock absorbers and progressive rate, German built lowered springs give the impression of a rock solid ride. Luckily, the tune of suspension built into the RS350 offers excellent compliance on the road, with enough stiffness and rigidity for cornering and clowning about.

Bumps and third-world roads are absorbed with aplomb, while mid-corner thuds don’t upset the cars trajectory. It’s the perfect balance between sportiness and comfort.

Coupled with sports bars and 20 inch HSVi SuperSport alloy wheels, the Holden Commodore SS-V Ute with the RS350 RaceSport package is a real head turner. If the noise doesn’t grab your attention, the great design certainly will.

The other car I had a stint in from Patterson Cheney was the RS400T, where the ‘T’ stands for track.

I’ll be the first to admit that after driving over 130 cars a year, not much surprises me anymore. The RS400T steps outside that limitation and on occasions scared the crap out of me.

As I first approached the RS400T, it was switched on and I assumed the rumbling was coming from the ominous clouds looming overhead. It was actually coming from the RS400T’s exhaust. Even from 25 metres away, it was pulsating through my ears.

Under the bonnet of the RS400T you’ll find the SS Commodore’s 6.0-litre V8 engine coupled with RPC coated tubular headers with integral high flow cats, hand built and welded 3 inch exhaust, over the radiator cold air intake system, K&N air filter, custom PCM tuning, custom camshaft, valve springs, chrome molly retainers and titanium locks.

From there, the ‘T’ part of the RS400T includes a race clutch with a billet lightened steel flywheel, Harrop 4 piston front and rear callipers with slotted rotors, an additional set of Ferodo brake pads (track use only), Bridgestone RE55S R compound road legal semi-slick tyres and Harrop Tru Track differential centre.

Also included in the track package is two complimentary track setups, which include two brake fluid flushes (including race fluid), two wheel alignment setups for the track, two wheel alignments to return it to road specification and two wheel balances with changes of brake pads for track use.

The RS400 is a $14,490 package, while the Ultimate Track package is an additional $14,990. The RS400 features a staggering 400kW and 760Nm of torque, some 49% more than stock.

One of the first things that hits you with the RS400T (aside from the insane exhaust note) is the weight of the clutch. I initially thought there was something stuck behind the clutch stopping it from moving. In actual fact it was simply how heavy the race clutch is.

While it’s heavy and cumbersome at first, by the second day behind the wheel it becomes second nature – that is until you hop back into a normal car and almost break a hole through the firewall!

Down low, the RS400T has a meaty growl and SS-like power delivery. Once it gets to around 3250rpm and it comes on cam, the acceleration becomes ballistic. It feels as though there is a massive supercharger that instantly activates and force feeds the engine a small nuclear explosion to give it a real kick in the pants.

Under full throttle, the analogue speedometer can’t keep up with the pace of acceleration. You have to rely solely on the digital speedometer for an accurate reading – and even that lags by a small fraction.

The race clutch gives the RS400T a bullet-proof launch ability and will be hard pressed to ever get hot under pressure.

The standard short shift gear lever, coupled with a 4000rpm launch will see the RS400T run from 0-100km/h in just 4.6 seconds. It will then move onward to cover a ¼ mile in 12.6 seconds - that’s seriously fast.

If the speed of the RS400T doesn’t do it for you, the absolutely gob-smackingly loud exhaust note is bound to. It’s loud enough to wake the dead – and consequently, the neighbours – each time you nail the throttle. It never becomes tiresome and you find yourself digging through cogs each time a tunnel approaches, just for another chance to let hell loose through the exhaust.

It’s also impossible to forget the crackles and pops from the exhaust each time you ease off the throttle. It truly is V8 Supercar-esque.

Aside from the spray paint on our test car, the entire Race Sport range looks stock and inoffensive. It’s the perfect setup to wipe the grin off any boy-racer – or HSV driver for that matter.

When quizzed about the Race Sport offering, Patterson Cheney’s New Car Consultant, Mark Cini, told CarAdvice:

“We have a lot of people who come from a HSV dealer or an FPV dealer, and once they return from the test drive - which is a standard 30 minute experience through scenic Warrandyte - totally blown away by the staggering torque that is available from such low revs, the car becomes so much more usable day to day.

Needless to say it makes my job as a salesman a whole lot easier when the product is this good, the main comment we get from people once they step out of the car, is “This thing sounds amazing, I just wanted to keep revving it.””

If you’re in the market for a HSV and feel that they have lost their way with styling, but still want bang-for-your-buck performance without the massive price tag, get in touch with Patterson Cheney Holden.

A full, new car warranty covers all modifications and owners become instant members of the Race Sport Owners Club. The Race Sport Owners Club gives members special service and upgrade offers, in addition to drive days and exclusive track days. The best part is that it costs no more than a regular SS Commodore to service!

Currently the Race Sport range of vehicles is only available for sale from Patterson Cheney in Melbourne. Customers have been known to fly down to buy their cars and even test drive them, that’s how good the Race Sport range really is.

The Holden Commodore SS-V RS350 Ute demonstrator we test drove is available at a drive away price of $49,990. The RS400T on the other hand is also available as demonstrator (and I promise I treated it with respect...) for $69,990 drive away.

For more information, check out the Race Sport website at http://www.racesport.com.au or give Patterson Cheney a call on 03 9262 6666.

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