8

10

Model

SS-V Redline

Price

$51,490

The Numbers

5967cc, V8, 270kW, 530Nm, 11.8L/100km, 0-100km/h in 5.5secs, 1766kg

The Topgear Verdict

The term world-class is used far too often, but despite just a hint of cultural cringe, it very much applies here. Overall, a great package.

2013 Holden SS-V Redline

If a car could blush, Holden’s new VF Commodore would be glowing red and hiding in the corner. Media and early-adopting customer response has been universally positive, but this thumper is the top of the performance pyramid, standing confidently in the spotlight.

An option pack in the VE, but now a stand-alone VF model, ‘Redline’ means the SS-V picks up a carefully honed FE3 suspension tune and fatter rear rubber to better manage the output of its 270kW/530Nm 6.0-litre V8, plus a premium trim fit-out.

Offered in sedan, wagon and ute variants, Holden is keen to give the Redline a strong identity, and for those who like high-speed recreation, including the occasional track day, it delivers spectacular bang for your bucks.

The FE3 sports suspension package has been revised with bigger anti-roll bars, plus upgraded dampers, working in combination with the VF’s new alloy steering components. A ‘Competitive Mode’ adjusts the steering and stability control to optimise circuit performance.

Far from an uncompromising muscle car, the Redline doubles as a refined commuter, with Calais levels of tech and premium features. The big Gen IV V8 burbles quietly around town, but howls like a wolf as revs rise. The six-speed manual ’box is positive, without requiring a hairy-chested shove, and the six-speed auto is silky smooth.

The fact Holden Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, Rob Trubiani, recently drove a VF Commodore SS-V Redline Ute around the epic Nürburgring in 08:19.47 speaks volumes. That’s faster than some well-credentialed exotic machinery, and the car delivers brilliantly on the track. Balanced and responsive with superb steering and sensational Brembo brakes. Holden claims a mid-five-second 0-100km/h time, and in the meat of the torque band it feels entirely plausible.

Entry point is $48,990 for the manual ute, with the sedan costing $2500 more. For that, you pick up a laundry list of standard equipment including a colour head-up display, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, nine-speaker Bose audio (sedan only), sunroof (sedan only), eight-inch colour, multi-function touch screen, sat-nav and dual-zone climate-control.

The Redline may not be the best option if you’re worried about fuel economy, as the claimed figure is 11.5L/100km. But who cares about fossil fuel when using healthy amounts of it feels this good.

Paddle shifters on the auto would be nice, and the polished alloys won’t be to everyone’s taste, but overall the SS-V Redline’s drivetrain, dynamics, fit, finish and value are all hugely impressive. It’s an absolute cracker.

Reviewed by: James Cleary

Driven: September 12, 2013