The ClubSport R8 in the leaked photographs is joined by the the the similarly bespoilered GTS and the more staid Senator Signature. All three cars share the same powertrain: Chevy's 6.0L LS2 V8, which is mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission. The combo is good for 411 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of asphalt-shredding torque. With the manual shifter, the E-Series cars run to 62 mph in 4.96 seconds. Cars equipped with the auto accomplish the feat in 5.04 sec. Either way you cut it, they're fast.
While they're based on the new VE Commodore, the HSV E-Series vehicles incorporate unique front and rear fascias and large vents aft of the front wheel wells to visually differentiate them from the standard-issue Commodores. In fact, the cars feature 301 elements that are unique to them.
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The three trim levels break down as follows:
The volume seller of the group, the ClubSport retails for over $10,000 AUD less than the Senator Signature and GTS. It manages this by offering a lower level of equipment compared to the others. It sports cloth seats and a traditional "touring suspension" package, stability control, a CD changer, 19" alloys, and the aggressive "Sports Performance" bodywork. Pricing is $62,890 for the manual, and $64,890 for the automatic. All currency values discussed are in Australian dollars.
The Senator Signature sports a conservative look compared to its brothers, as it wears a traditional grille up front and features a very subtle rear spoiler that's integrated into the trunklid. Positioned as a luxury-marque fighter, it features attractive 10-spoke alloys, a leather/suede seating, magnetic ride control, a DVD entertainment system, and more. Pricing is set at $76,990 AUD, and it can only be had with the automatic.
The GTS is the ultimate performance machine of the group. Wearing the same aggressive "Sports Performance" kit as the ClubSport, it one-ups the less expensive car by adding a 20" wheel/tire package and incorporating many of the options seen on the Senator Signature, such as magnetic ride control, leather, and DVD. That one-upmanship comes at a cost, lthough. With an automatic transmission, the GTS retails for $76,990 AUD -- the same as the Senator Signature. Opting for the manual knocks $2,000 off that number.
If you ask us, the ClubSport and GTS would look very nice wearing Pontiac badges. As for the Senator Signature, how about changing its name to " Regal GS" or "Roadmaster," fitting a waterfall grille, and giving it to Buick?
Whatever GM's US plans are, we hope they include the hot E-Series cars in some way or another. Time will tell.